Bar Association Etiquette

Smart and Selective use of Business Cards 

Using business cards is very important when navigating events but can also be quite inappropriate. I have seen students joining a table, immediately distributing cards like flyers without even having spoken one sentence. You should definitely use your cards but I suggest you use them only when it makes sense. And it only makes sense when they sum up a somewhat meaningful conversation.

Your Job Search

You may often hear that joining bar associations can advance your job search. Yes, bar associations are an important piece of networking, which is in turn, an important piece of your job search, but I strongly discourage you from utilizing bar associations for the sole purpose of landing a job. Bar associations are essential parts of a lawyer’s entire career development and should be treated as a continuous companion rather than a short-term servant.  

Where can you find Bar Associations

Below is an overview of the various bar associations in the United States.  Since there are too many to be listed here, I only speak of broader categories hoping to provide you with some structure.

American Bar Association
The ABA is a bar association of lawyers and law students not specific to any jurisdiction in the U.S.  With over 410,000 members its activities are wide ranging.

State Bar Associations
A state bar association is a bar association that represents the attorneys practicing law in a particular U.S. state.

City Bar Associations
A city bar association is a bar association that represents the attorneys practicing law in a particular U.S. city.

County Bar Associations
A county bar association is a bar association that represents the attorneys practicing law in a particular U.S. county.

Specialty Bar Associations
There are many bar associations that either focus on a particular practice area, such as the New York Intellectual Property Law Association, or on a particular lawyer body, such as the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Bar Association or Hispanic National Bar Association, just to name a few.