American Bar Association
In early America there were few associations for attorneys apart from membership in a colonial or state bar. A rare example appears in this agreement by a group of New York attorneys in 1756. By the late nineteenth century, lawyers in many states organized themselves in voluntary bar associations to advance the interests of the legal profession. In 1878, Simeon E. Baldwin (1840–1927), a Connecticut attorney, led the creation of a national bar association that could represent the entire American legal profession. Over the course of the next century, the American Bar Association (ABA) took a lead role in promoting a uniform code of ethics for judges and attorneys, in accrediting law schools, and controversially, in evaluating judicial nominations. Membership peaked in 1979 with half of all American attorneys belonging to the organization.