The Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) is the largest metropolitan voluntary bar association in the country with nearly 25,000 members throughout Los Angeles, California, and around the world. Founded in 1878, LACBA has a long heritage of serving the legal community and is dedicated to meeting the professional needs of Los Angeles lawyers, advancing the administration of justice, and serving the public regarding access to justice.
LACBA offers its members one of the most dynamic and meaningful bar associations in the country, whether their goals are career enrichment, education, networking, or looking for pro bono opportunities. Members have an opportunity to participate in their choice of more than 70 practice areas and committees.
LACBA has represented the legal profession and served as a voice for attorneys throughout its 136-year history. It has supported legislation, worked with the courts, helped frame regulations, and filed amicus briefs that have promoted the highest standards of professional conduct.
In addition to serving lawyers, LACBA serves those who don't know where to turn for legal assistance, or who can't afford it. In 2010, LACBA's three projects — Domestic Violence, AIDS Legal Services, and Immigration Legal Assistance, and hundreds of volunteer attorneys — helped more than 20,000 people and provided more than $3.6 million of pro bono services.
The Domestic Violence Project helps victims of abuse navigate the legal system at a critical point in their lives, prepares temporary Restraining Order requests, provides Judicial Preparation Hearings and access to pro bono attorneys for Court representation. The Project works with the Los Angeles Superior Court to coordinate help for victims and their families at the Stanley Mosk (Los Angeles) and Pasadena Courthouses, educates legal and law enforcement professionals about available legal remedies to, and working with, victims of abuse.
The Immigration Legal Assistance Project provides legal advice for those seeking information on political asylum, green cards, work permits, family petitions, citizenship, and much more. It provides accurate information and help for immigrants who can fall prey to "notarios" who often provide inaccurate legal advice. The Project operates out of the Federal Building in Los Angeles and is an onsite referral source for immigration officials, as well as trains attorneys in the complex area of immigration law and procedures.
The AIDS Legal Services Project helps clients living with HIV/AIDS on a wide range of human rights and legal issues; helps to stop discrimination; and protects its clients' rights, benefits and dignity. The Project works with 35 community-based HIV/AIDS organizations in Los Angeles to assist clients, in many languages, mostly low income or poverty clients and people of color.
The Los Angeles County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) was established in 1937. By using LRIS, members of the public can find a qualified lawyer by phone or online. In 2006, LRIS began using a website to process lawyer referrals. It also provides basic legal information to the public on hundreds of legal issues in both Spanish and English. This information is available to the public at no cost and is available in several languages, by phone, online text and online streaming audio. In 2010, the LRIS referred nearly 19,000 clients.
LACBA's Publications Department publishes "Los Angeles Lawyer" a monthly publication featuring the latest in legal news and features, along with a comprehensive list of experts and consultants who can assist lawyers with their cases in the form of experts in certain fields. LACBA also makes the following services and publications available to its members:
- The Daily EBriefs are a free service to all LACBA members. The EBriefs include summaries of the cases decided in the previous 24 hours by the U.S. Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, California Supreme Court, and California Court of Appeal. Each summary includes a link to the full text of the case.
- The Searchable Civil Register provides attorneys the ability to search all filings in the Los Angeles Court Civil Register using a variety of search criteria, including issues, judges, law firms, and parties involved.
- LACBA supplies members with automated California Judicial Council Smart Forms free of charge from LexisNexis. At all stages of case management, especially during trial preparation, attorneys require these forms.
- Judicial Profiles excel in helping attorneys get to know their judges by providing information on the judge's expectations and decisional history.
- Elerts supply attorneys with four ways to configure e-mail notifications: by a client's name, case number, new case filing, or by case type.
The Center for Civic Mediation (formerly Dispute Resolution Services or DRS) was established by the Los Angeles County Bar Association as the Neighborhood Justice Center, one of the first three Community Mediation centers in the country. The Center for Civic Mediation helps individuals, families, and communities to resolve conflicts through mediation, facilitation, and other problem-solving methods. The Center provides mediation and conflict resolution training, education, and coaching that prepares people with the skills to constructively address disputes in personal, community, and work settings. The Center for Civic Mediation partners and works collaboratively with local governments, schools, social service agencies, law enforcement, and courts as well as private and public organizations and businesses. In 2010, the Center opened over 520 community mediation cases. Their student program opened 219 cases, served over 1,000 high school and middle school students. In 2010, the Attorney-Client Mediations opened 529 cases.
The Los Angeles County Bar Foundation has been at the forefront of supporting equal access to legal services for the poor for low income communities for more than 50 years. The Foundation raises money and distributes it to worthy legal services organizations in Los Angeles County, including LACBA's three projects—Domestic Violence, AIDS Legal Services and Immigration Legal Assistance.
With the help of volunteer lawyers, and the financial support of law firms, foundations, corporations and individual lawyers, the Foundation has contributed more than $8 million to the growth of highly effective, non-profit organizations providing legal services to the most needy in our community.
Through its 48 volunteer board members, the Foundation evaluates grant applications and distributes the funds it raises to worthy legal services organizations. The Foundation enjoys an ongoing relationship with its grant recipients and regularly monitors their operations and services.
The Foundation was incorporated in 1967 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation and is organized and operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Founded in 1970, Public Counsel is the public interest law firm of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations among others. Public Counsel is the largest pro bono law office in the nation. Its principal role is matching volunteer private attorneys with indigent individuals who need legal services. During the 80's and 90's, it became increasingly clear that no one or two organizations could possibly meet the need for legal services to the poor in Los Angeles County, and LACBA founded its own projects to assist domestic violence victims, persons living with HIV and AIDS, and those seeking help in navigating the immigration system.. Public Counsel remains one of LACBA's most significant and resourceful sponsored projects, and has a unique position in partnering with LACBA to achieve the shared goal of maximizing the availability of legal services to the poor in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles Law Library
The Los Angeles County Bar Association and Los Angeles Law Library have a long history of working together dating back to December 3, 1878 when a group of 22 of the 58 practicing lawyers in Los Angeles County met at the Cosmopolitan Restaurant to establish a new law library and local bar association. They recognized that Los Angeles County needed a central law library for the legal community to share. At that time, most lawyers had a small supply of books but no one had a complete law library. They understood the importance of any citizen having access to legal texts and the justice system, not only the legal community.
Affiliated Bar Associations
Twenty-one geographic and minority bar associations are affiliated with LACBA by maintaining a level of members in common. Some of the benefits of affiliation to a smaller bar are being connected with LACBA and thus brought to the awareness of its large membership, and having opportunities to participate in the leadership of LACBA through dedicated positions on its Board of Trustees. All members of an affiliated bar are eligible for a discounted dues rate to join LACBA. An annual reception is held by the Board of Trustees with the affiliated bar leaders to network and share best practices and ideas.