On Wednesday, January 24, 1872, a group of Cincinnati lawyers approved the creation of an association for members of the legal profession and the Cincinnati Bar Association was established. With just 75 members, the CBA called its first official meeting on February 27, 1872. Its constitution and by-laws were adopted then, and membership was set at a fixed fee of $10. The CBA elected its first president, Alphonso Taft, who would go on to serve as the secretary of war and the 34th United States Attorney General, both under President Ulysses S. Grant.
The CBA determined as its objective “to maintain the honor and dignity of the Profession of the Law, to cultivate social intercourse and acquaintance among the members of the Bar, and to increase their usefulness in aiding the administration of justice and in promoting legal reform.” And for more than a century, the CBA has strived to serve the profession and the community.
Over the past 150 years, the CBA and its members have achieved many memorable accomplishments. In 1877, CBA member Rutherford B. Hayes was elected as the 19th president of the United States. William H. Taft, son of CBA President Alphonso Taft, was inaugurated as the 27th U.S. president in 1909. The association helped open and dedicate the Hamilton County Courthouse in 1919. A new plan for judicial selection was approved in 1930. Twenty years later, the permanent staff and offices of the CBA were established in the Hamilton County Courthouse by Martha Perin. In 1954, the CBA, working in conjunction with the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine, adopted the Joint Statement of Principles, which served as the model for other U.S. cities. The Cincinnati Bar Foundation was established in 1961 and remains the only law-related non-profit in Cincinnati today. During the turmoil of the civil rights movement, the CBA provided volunteer legal defense during civil disturbances.
Today, the CBA remains one of the nation's oldest and largest local legal associations and continues to serve the profession and the community. We have more than 3,500 members and 30 committees, including those focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, LGBTQIA matters, and the Young Lawyers Section, ensuring the values of the bar are handed down to the next generations of attorneys.
For more information on the Cincinnati Bar Association, please contact us at (513) 381-8213.