The National Bar Association was founded out of the Greenville Movement and the Convention of the Iowa Colored Bar Association in 1924.  Legions of African-American lawyers affiliated with the National Bar Association ushered in the rule of law through the turbulent 1920s and 1930s. From the 1920s through the 1950s, African-American lawyers such as the Honorable James A. Cobb, T. Gillis Nutter, and Ashbie Hawkins fought the famous segregation case of Louisville, and the Covenants case of The District of Columbia. Early National Bar Association pioneers S.D. McGill, R.P. Crawford, and J.L. Lewis fought to have sentences of execution stayed in the Florida case popularly referred to as the "Four Pompano Boys." Wherever there was a fight to wage in defense of the rights of Blacks and poor people, the NBA was there.

Today, the National Bar Association is the nation's oldest and largest national association of predominantly African-American lawyers, judges, educators and law students. It has 84 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and affiliations in Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa Morocco and the Caribbean. It represents a professional network of more than 65,000 lawyers, judges, educators and law students.

Our nation and the African American community are at a crucial point. We have made significant progress, but many significant challenges remain.  Today, while we remain focused on civil rights and social justice for all, we are equally dedicated to increasing the number of African American lawyers and judges through strengthening the pipeline of students attending college and law school.


  • 100% College Educated
  • 2.1% Government/Nonprofit Lawyers
  • 80% Run Their Own Practice
  • .4% Retired
  • 1.2% Non-practicing Attorney


CRUMP LAW CAMP | 20-30 Students | July

The National Bar Association Crump Law Camp was established to provide students entering the 9th through 11th grades (ages 14 to 17) with an introduction to the American judicial system. Three other national minority bars—the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Native American Bar Association and the National Asian Pacific Bar Association have generously given their support to the camp as well. By providing incentive, motivation and direction to aspiring law students of color, the National Bar Association Crump Law Camp helps prepare the nation’s future lawyers, judges and protectors of the judicial system. The inaugural two-week camp was held during the summer of 2001 at Howard University School of Law supported by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. Thirty-two students of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities descended upon the Howard University campus where they were introduced to law school and learned some of the skills required to be an effective lawyer.


In May 1982, the National Bar Association named its mid-year dinner in honor of Gertrude E. Rush, the organization's only woman co-founder. The Gertrude E. Rush Award Dinner past honorees.  In 1989, the first Annual Wiley A. Branton Award Luncheon and Issues Symposium was held in Little Rock, Arkansas.

WILEY BRANTON SYMPOSIUM | 150-200 Attendees | October

The Wiley A. Branton Symposium, established as a tribute to Wiley A. Branton, a stalwart in the Civil Rights arena, was first held in his hometown. Since 1989, the National Bar Association has used this Symposium as an avenue to discuss pressing social, legal, and political issues affecting our communities.

ANNUAL CONVENTION AND EXHIBITS | 1,400 – 2,000 Attendees | July

The Annual convention is the largest gathering of African American Lawyers, Judges and law students in the United States. It is the premier showcase to establish professional relationships, discuss trending legal, social justice and economic issues. In addition, the convention offers professional development opportunities. NBA sponsors and partners play an integral role in ensuring the success of this convention. Two primary form of partnership opportunities exist during this annual event: General Sponsorships and Select Sponsorships. General partnerships provide access to multiple convention activities and convention-wide visibility. While Select partnerships are associated with a specific event or facet of the convention and provide the opportunity to target a specific demographic.

Select Programs During the Annual Convention Include:

  • Prayer Breakfast
  • 40 under 40 gala
  • Awards banquet
  • Hall of fame
  • President’s reception
  • Corporate Leadership Forum

For additional information contact: 
Keith Andrew Perry
Executive Director
(202) 842-3900

Heidi Franklin
Director of Development, Meetings and Special Events
(202) 842-3900