Our Locations

P.O. BOX 56551, Washington, DC 20040

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+1 (202) 349-1059

Email Address



What We Do

The Washington Bar Association, one of the first African American Bar associations in the country, was formed in 1925 by such legal luminaries as Charles Hamilton Houston, George E.C. Hayes, Ulysses Simpson Garnes, Isaiah Lisemby, Louis Rothchild Mehlinger, Charles E. Robinson, and J. Franklin Wilson. The WBA was created simultaneously with the National Bar Association and is an affiliate chapter of that organization. Like the NBA, the WBA is concerned with the advancement of jurisprudence, self benefit, group enhancement in a racially exclusive society and judicial system, and group protection.


The WBA hosts numerous events, partners with other organizations, and encourages its members to maintain a high standard of excellence in the community. All of these efforts are dedicated to ensuring that the WBA is successful in carrying on the mission of its founders.

The Washington Bar Association takes an active role in advocating for the philosophies and principles embodied during the founding of the association. Each year, the WBA voices the concerns of its members and the legal community through social media, written publications, and public meetings. In addition to making these concerns known, the WBA may advocate for a call to action where it collaborates with other organizations and members of the legal community to derive a collective solution to the present issue.


Advocacy is an important tool the WBA can continue its mission to improve, benefit and protect the well-being of the legal profession and its members, improve the standards of legal education, and promote Houstonian Jurisprudence.

The Washington Bar Association (WBA) plays an active role in advancing members of the Washington DC legal community by endorsing candidates for important legal positions, such as the bench and NBA bar leadership positions. All candidate endorsement requests are considered by the WBA Judicial Selection and Evaluation Committee. Under our By-laws, the Judicial Selection and Evaluation Committee shall be appointed by the President. This Committee shall advise the Membership of judicial vacancies in the courts of the District of Columbia and, submit to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors the names of persons to be recommended for appointment to such judicial office. The Judicial Selection and Evaluation Committee shall from time to time survey the Membership or otherwise identify members of the Association for appointive office. The Judicial Selection and Evaluation Committee shall also have responsibility for other matters pertaining to the Judiciary, including but not limited to, the evaluation of judicial performance.


If you are interested in securing an endorsement from the WBA, please contact the Judicial Selection and Evaluation Committee Chair Wendell W. Webster at wwebster@websterfredrickson.com.


Washington Bar Association Guidelines for Endorsement of Applicants for Judicial Appointment & Appointive Office


The Judicial Selection and Evaluation Committee of the Washington Bar Association submits recommendations to the Board of Directors of the WBA for the Association’s endorsement of applicants for judicial appointment and appointive office in accordance with the following guidelines and procedures.


In keeping with the philosophy of Houstonian Jurisprudence, the stated goal of the Committee is to identify qualified applicants with a demonstrated commitment to equal justice under the law. Prior to recommending the endorsement of an applicant, the Committee interviews the applicant and reviews background materials, writing samples and other pertinent information in an effort to determine the candidate's fitness for judicial appointment or appointive office. Applicants are evaluated based upon the following factors, as appropriate:

  1. Judicial temperament.
  2. Professional skills and abilities.
  3. Adherence to ethical standards and exercise of sound professional judgment.
  4. Demonstrated commitment to fundamental fairness and diversity.
  5. Effective leadership and communication skills (oral & written).
  6. Demonstrated efficiency and organizational skills in work performance and in working with others.
  7. Demonstrated commitment to the public interest and community service.

Coming Soon!

For decades, several judges in Washington, D.C. were active members in the National Bar Association and the WBA. They attended conventions, planned and participated in panel discussions, and otherwise advanced Houstonian jurisprudence. To accommodate the interests of a younger generation of judicial officers, and to direct more attention to local issues, in September 1999, the WBA created the Judicial Council Division of the Bar Association. Members include all judicial officers from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the United States court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Tax Court, as well as Magistrate Judges and Administrative Law Judges.


WBA Past President Donald A. Thigpen, Jr. created this Division during his administration. The first officers of this esteemed Division were Judge Arthur L. Burnett, Sr. and Judge Paul Webber, III, both Seniors Judges of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and recipients of the WBA's prestigious Ollie May Cooper Award. After the first election of officers in early 2000, the Judicial Council Division began an ambitious program, planning activities for its members, as well as for WBA members and the greater legal community.


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The WBA is committed to maintaining a legacy of excellence and service. To that end, the Law Students Division was established in 2007 to specifically begin fostering these attributes in the next generation of lawyers.

The LSD is a pipeline for the law students to establish relationships with Law Students, Attorneys, Judges, and other legal professionals during their law school career. The LSD works to provide forums for networking, informal mentorship, career advice, and volunteer opportunities.


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This group of approximately 200 young attorneys practicing in the Washington metropolitan area provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members and encourages community awareness and a commitment to service and civil rights.


YLD Traditions. In addition to its professional and community endeavors, YLD provides many opportunities to its members for developing a social network through hosting happy hours, retreats and professional events with law firms and other bar associations. YLD is also committed to mentoring law students through our bar mentorship program for 3Ls and our annual career fair for law students.


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The Washington Bar Association strives to enhance the professional skills of its members and encourages its members to achieve legal excellence consistent with the philosophy of Houstonian Jurisprudence. The Association promotes these objectives by providing useful resources to its members that will increase their ability to compete in today's competitive legal market. Each year, the Association offers training, mentoring, coaching and business development to its members. The Association’s board and committees monitor the trends of the legal community to provide useful programs based on their findings. Providing members with the best resources in professional development allows the Association to continue its effort to better its membership and the legal community.


In addition to providing professional development resources, the Association advocates for diverse hiring and promotion practices among legal employers. Once a candidate demonstrates the necessary qualifications to fill a position, it is important to ensure that the candidate receives an equal opportunity among other candidates. The Association is hopeful that its career development resources and advocacy efforts will help boost minority representation among law firm partners, in top D.C. law firms and in the legal community as a whole.

The Washington Bar Association is committed to serving the legal community and the community in which we live. During the year, the Association offers its members several opportunities to engage in public service projects that will benefit both the legal community and the DC community. In addition, the Association is proud to collaborate with national and local organizations to foster a sense of community among professionals and increase the impact of its public service projects. The Association hosts public service projects and initiatives such as:

  • Hand-On Community Service Projects
  • Citizens’ Rights Events
  • Showcase and Raise Funds for the WBA Foundation and other Philanthropic Groups
  • Mentorship to High School Students and Law Students
  • Law Student Career Fair
  • Scholarships to Outstanding Law Students
  • Professional Development Training


Public service is an intricate part of being a lawyer, and the Association encourages each of its members and affiliates to show their appreciation for the DC community by participating in as many service projects as possible.


For questions about getting involved in WBA public service projects, contact us at info@washingtonbar.org.