ISBA Fact Sheet

The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) is a private, nonprofit organization. The Illinois Bar Foundation is the ISBA's charitable and educational arm.

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The Illinois Bar Center is located at 424 S. Second Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62704-1779.

ISBA's Chicago regional office is located at 20 S. Clark, Suite 900, Chicago, 60603-1802.

The ISBA in Springfield can be reached at (800) 252-8908, or in Chicago at (312) 726-8775.


The ISBA provides professional services to Illinois-licensed lawyers and educates and serves the public.


The ISBA 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, a friend and contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, was elected its first president.


The Illinois State Bar Association is the state's largest voluntary organization representing lawyers throughout Illinois and has a membership of approximately 30,000 members.

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 eight 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

Forty substantive law sections (including the Young Lawyers Division); 32 standing committees; the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) task force; and 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 36 or younger—or have been out of law school five years or less—and are ISBA members.

Major Publications

Related Organizations