1953 3¢ American Bar Association
US #1022 was issued for the ABA’s 75th anniversary. It pictures a section of the frieze from the walls of the US Supreme Court Room.

On August 21, 1878, the American Bar Association (ABA) was formed in Saratoga Springs, New York.

 1953 3¢ American Bar Association Plate Block First Day Cover
US #1022 – Plate Block First Day Cover

Lawyers played an important role in forming the United States. Many delegates to the Constitutional Convention were attorneys, and quite a few of our early presidents practiced law. Until the late 1800s, a person who had been an apprentice to a lawyer could train to become one himself. In Indiana, the constitution stated any citizen and voter of good character could begin a law practice.

 1953 3¢ American Bar Association Classic First Day Cover
US #1022 – Classic First Day Cover

After the Civil War, industry was expanding in the North and the demand for lawyers to represent corporations also increased. In 1870, a bar association was established in New York City to serve corporate attorneys. Many state associations were soon formed, as well.

 1953 3¢ American Bar Association Fleetwood First Day Cover
US #1022 – Fleetwood First Day Cover

On August 21, 1878, Connecticut lawyer Simeon Baldwin invited 75 men from his profession to meet in Saratoga Springs, New York, to organize a national group. The ABA was formed. Its constitution stated five goals, “to advance jurisprudence (the science of law), to encourage uniform state laws, to strengthen the administration of justice, to uphold the legal profession’s honor, and to encourage friendly interaction among bar members.”

1975 10¢ World Peace Through Law
US #1576 – This stamp was issued as a prelude to the Seventh World Law Conference of the World Peace Through Law Center.

The ABA has proposed state and federal laws since its founding and pushed for a separate federal court to handle appeal cases. Around 1900, several states adopted laws that were suggested by the association. A federal law this group proposed was the Bankruptcy Act. Congress created the US Circuit Court of Appeals after the ABA worked to get it for ten years.

US #687 – Taft was president of the ABA from 1913-14.

The American Bar Association is a voluntary, non-governmental association of American lawyers and judges. Its mission is to serve as a national representative of the legal profession, promote justice, professional excellence, and respect for the law. It also helps ensure that all people have access to legal services and encourages improvements in the legal profession as well as in the administration of justice.

Today the American Bar Association is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It also accredits US law schools.

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