It may not come up in speeches and panel discussions, but one topic likely to crop up over cocktails is the appeal of the ABA today. The association’s leadership has hired a major marketing firm to help it shore up its waning membership at a time when layoffs at big law firms, less need for regional referrals and a real or perceived political slant to the ABA have reduced membership to less than half the profession.
The association is realizing that it hasn’t tapped small firm attorneys, solo practitioners and young lawyers for membership as much as it could and that there may be a membership pricing problem as well. The point was underscored during an interview I had early this week with six top partners at a small Chicago firm that specializes in medical malpractice, legal malpractice and product liability matters. When asked who would be attending the ABA’s annual meeting just down the street, blank stares were returned and not a hand was raised.
Read our story from this week’s issue to find out how the ABA’s incoming president, White & Case partner Carolyn Lamm, is taking on the issue.