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Attention, Law Students: Free ABA Membership!

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on April 09, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Hey, law students! We know you're into free things due to your outrageous debt (meaning you're wandering around school, lurking in any lecture or meeting that offers free pizza), so here's your chance to snag an ABA membership for free!

Right now, everyone's favorite nationwide bar association is offering students at ABA-accredited law schools free membership, leading to a wonderland of rental car discounts and more magazines than you could possibly read in a month.

Discounts as Far as the Eye Can See

ABA member discounts are some of the most ... well, they're discounts. Unfortunately, they're nothing special. The Hertz discount, for example, is the same that you'd get if you belonged to any organization that got Hertz discounts. Many of the discounts -- like shipping, printing, and case management software -- aren't terribly relevant to law students, who don't yet know the hellish landscape of firm logistics.

On the plus side, being an ABA member will get you access to their job board, forums, and career advice, so you've got that going for you, which is nice.

Or You Could Join Your Local Bar Association

OK, we kid, but belonging to a local bar association -- even if it's not the ABA mothership -- actually has benefits, and you should take advantage of law student pricing while you're still in school. Most legal organizations offer free or drastically reduced dues to law students. Here's an example: Law students can join the Bar Association of San Francisco for $30 a year. Been a licensed attorney for at least a year? Yeah, that'll be $135, minimum. So get your freebies and your discounts while you can.

Membership in a local bar association not only gets you into the best (read: not the best) Christmas parties, but you also get to interact with other attorneys in the area. And if you don't like the idea of lots of different lawyers all hanging out together, there are usually a smorgasbord of practice area-specific legal organizations out there. The ABA is great and all, but it's basically a lobbying and accrediting organization;

Now, if only the ABA would institute some kind of program that wasn't little more than a token -- like reining in law school tuition or imposing meaningful law school standards -- we'd be even happier than we are now.

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