The Boston Bar Association (BBA), the oldest bar association in the United States, is the hub of the legal profession in Boston, Massachusetts. The Association’s mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, and serve the community at large. Headquartered at 16 Beacon Street in the historic Chester Harding House, the BBA has more than 12,000 members drawn from private practice, corporations, government agencies, legal aid organizations, the courts and law schools. 

Helpful Links

  • Meet our Officers & Council or learn more about our Section & Committee Chairs. Today the Boston Bar Association is governed by a Council of 34 members, and has 24 sections and more than 100 committees dedicated to substantive areas of law as well as issues such as delivery of legal services and the diversity and inclusion.
  • Newsroom: Are you a member of the media looking for an expert source, recent BBA press release, one of our blogs or more information about BBA Week?
  • Library: Find BBA Task Force Reports, Amicus Briefs, Ethics Opinions, past issues of the Boston Bar Journal and the Childrens Mental Health Guide.
  • Job Opportunities: View open positions at the BBA.
  • The Boston Bar Foundation: The charitable arm of the Boston Bar Association, the BBF is at the forefront of efforts to promote public understanding of the law, improve access to justice in Massachusetts and create meaningful opportunities for lawyers to connect with our community.

History of the Boston Bar Association


The Boston Bar Association traces its origins back to the late 1700s, when a group of Boston attorneys, led by future United States President John Adams, organized meetings in the taverns and coffeehouses around Beacon Hill with the goal of regulating and improving the quality of the law practice in Suffolk County. The founders and early leaders of the bar association played a formative role in the emergence of the legal profession in Massachusetts and laid the groundwork for bar associations around the country. Founded as the Suffolk County Bar Association, it was incorporated in 1861 as the Bar Association of the City of Boston. 

In the centuries since its founding, the Boston Bar Association has remained a dynamic force in both the legal and Greater Boston communities by constantly working to keep pace with a changing city and an ever evolving profession. Over the years, the BBA has continued to provide professional support for its members, while becoming a leading and innovative voice in areas ranging from public policy and public service, to diversity and continuing legal education. The BBA was at the forefront of bar associations making a commitment to providing legal services for the underserved and in 1957 established its charitable arm, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). The BBF stands as a reflection of the Boston legal community’s proud tradition and history of public service and civic involvement.