Monday, February 28, 2005

What is the Bar Association?

A common misconception that I hear from clients is reference to The Delaware State Bar Association as being an official branch of the government. It is not. The DSBA is a private organization with voluntary membership. The DSBA has nothing to do with the licensing of attorneys, approval of them, or discipline.

What the DSBA does do is to assist attorneys in keeping current with changes in the law, provide a venue for exchanges of information, and provide a structured contact system for interaction with government agencies. All of these are very important functions, but they are done on a private and (mostly) voluntary basis. DSBA also runs a lawyer referral service for folks who cannot locate an attorney for their case.

The Delaware Supreme Court wields the authority to license Delaware Attorneys. To accomplish this, they have administrative procedures, rules, and offices. They oversee: the Board of Bar Examiners; the Board of Continuing Legal Education (which mandates periodic classes); The Office of Disciplinary Counsel; and the Lawyers Fund for Client Protection .

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