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A state bar association is a bar association that represents or seeks to represent all of the attorneys in a specific U.S. state. Membership in such an association may be voluntary or mandatory for practitioners in that state. State bar associations may be tasked with the administration of the state bar examination, and typically provide services for members such as maintaining a directory of attorneys in the state, facilitating social events for attorneys, and publishing a bar journal. They may also require the completion of Continuing Legal Education credits, and may provide classes which fulfill these credits.

Voluntary and mandatory bars

A mandatory or integrated bar association is one to which a state delegates the authority to regulate the admission of attorneys to practice in that state; typically these require membership in that bar association to practice in that state.

In the other states, membership in the bar associations is voluntary. In some states, a mandatory organization exists primarily for the purpose of regulating admission to practice, while a voluntary organization exists for the purpose of promoting relations within the legal community. In Virginiamarker, for example, the Virginia State Bar is the mandatory organization and the Virginia Bar Association is voluntary.

There are many other bar associations, typically organized by geography (e.g. county bar associations), area of practice, or affiliation (e.g. ethnic bar associations).

Continuing Legal Education requirements

Many state bar associations require members to complete Continuing Legal Education ("CLE") requirements, and also offer courses for lawyers in their area, with discounts to members of the particular bar association. For example, the State Bar of Texas mandates that every licensed attorney complete at least fifteen hours of continuing legal education classes each year. Uniquely, the Kentuckymarker Bar Association offers a two-day program known as Kentucky Law Update, conducted in at least seven locations throughout the state, that allows its members to satisfy their annual CLE requirement without a registration fee.

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