About the ISBA

ISBA Fact Sheet

The Illinois State Bar Association is a private, not-for-profit organization; the Illinois Bar Foundation is its charitable and educational arm.

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Headquarters office is at 424 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62704-1779.

The Chicago regional office is located at 20 S. Clark, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60603-1802. The ISBA can be reached at (800) 252-8908, or in Chicago at (312) 726-8775.

A staff of approximately 50 serves the Association in its Springfield and Chicago offices. Executive Director: Robert E. Craghead.


To provide professional services to lawyers, and education and services to the public.


The Illinois State Bar Association was organized on January 4, 1877, at a meeting of 88 attorneys from 37 counties who convened at the Sangamon County Courthouse (the former Illinois State Capitol building) in Springfield. Anthony Thornton of Shelbyville, friend and contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, was elected its first president.


28,000. The largest voluntary statewide organization of lawyers in Illinois.

Policymaking Bodies

The 27-member Board of Governors oversees the operation of the Association and implements its policies. Officers are the President, President-Elect, 2nd Vice President, and 3rd Vice President. The 3rd Vice President is elected each year by vote of the full membership. Board members are elected from Cook County and from 8 downstate areas by members from their respective areas. A 203-member Assembly, elected by the members, is the ISBA's policy-making body.

Sections and Committees

40 substantive law sections (including the Young Lawyers Division), 32 standing committees, Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) task force, several special, joint and ad hoc committees perform the essential work of the organization.

The sections deal with issues of professional development through continuing legal education programs, proposing or reacting to legislation affecting their areas, and the distribution of newsletters to members that provide updates on court cases and other developments.

Standing committees oversee the work of the Association in such areas as judicial evaluations, delivery of legal services, legal education, and legal technology.

The Task Force on Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) seeks out, identifies, and remedies injuries to the public and to the integrity of the profession caused by the unauthorized practice of law.

Young Lawyers Division is for lawyers who are age 36 or under - or have been out of law school five years or fewer - and are an ISBA member.

Major Publications

Related Organizations