Established in 1928, the American Counsel Association is the oldest association of independent law firms in the world. The ACA was formed for the purpose of enhancing standards of practice, aiding deserving law students, and providing a social and business network for its distinguished members. Comprised of approximately 275 members from across the United States, Canada, England, and other countries, the ACA holds its meetings in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s Annual and Midyear Meetings. A majority of the ACA’s members are present or past leaders within the American Bar Association or their respective state and local bar organizations. Member firms typically are limited to one per city, and multiple individuals from a member firm are eligible to join the Association.
The Association also has an affiliation with the European Circuit of the Bar and has a major European initiative with a goal of being represented in all countries within the European Union and ultimately worldwide.
The American Counsel Association is comprised of lawyers from diverse practice areas who share the same values to improve and enhance standards of practice, the administration of justice and the discharge of the responsibilities of the legal profession.
All members are from highly respected firms within their respective jurisdictions. The ACA provides unique continuing legal education for its members with particular emphasis on assisting young lawyers within member firms. The ACA is also committed to encouraging and assisting law students in preparing, qualifying and establishing themselves within the legal profession, including providing annual scholarships to worthy law students.
The American Counsel Association provides scholarships to academically gifted and financially needy third-year law students. The Lowell Jacobson Scholarship is awarded each year to a worthy student from a law school located within the Seventh Federal Judicial District. The American Counsel Association scholarship is awarded each year on a rotating basis to a worthy student from a law school in one of the Federal Judicial Districts. A scholarship is also awarded to a deserving student of a law school located in another country in which the Association has at least one member (the Gerard McDermott American Counsel Association International Scholarship).
Approximately one-third of the Association’s dues fund the ACA Scholarship Program. The Lowell H. Jacobson Scholarship is funded through the American Counsel Association Scholarship Foundation, which began from a legacy in honor of former ACA President Lowell H. Jacobson.
Each year the ACA Scholarship Committee oversees administration of the scholarship program. Law School Deans submit nominations which are reviewed by the Committee. The process takes place during the summer prior to the ACA Annual Meeting, at which time the Association announces the scholarship recipients for the upcoming academic year.
The membership of ACA maintains a strong commitment of “Service to Clients” by seeking a long-term relationship with each client, based upon the highest levels of trust, integrity, service and performance. American Counsel Association member firms maintain that it is essential to understand client’s needs, organization and industry. A thorough knowledge of business, government and contemporary legal issues, as well as their enduring presence throughout the business and legal community, enable member firms to serve clients effectively and efficiently. Accessibility and responsiveness to client concerns and the networking provided by the Association enable ACA members to provide superior service.
The American Counsel Association’s longevity and success are due principally to the personal and professional relationships that have developed between the attorneys of the member firms. These relationships have been built over many years and provide a closeknit business and social network for the Association’s members.