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 objectives and purposes of the Washington Bar Association are to:

  • improve, benefit and protect the well-being of the legal profession and its members;

  • enhance the professional skills of its members;

  • encourage professional and citizenship responsibilities among the membership;

  • encourage spiritual and moral values;

  • advance the science of jurisprudence and the administration of justice;

  • improve the standards of legal education;

  • encourage legal research and excellence consistent with the philosophy of Houstonian Jurisprudence;

Judicial Council Division

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.

Law Students Division

The Law Students Division is a pipeline for law students to establish relationships with other law students across the region, as well as local attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals while pursuing their law degrees.

Young Lawyer Division

This group of approximately 200
young attorneys practicing in the
Washington metropolitan area provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members.