Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

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Brief History of The Florida Bar

Myself, and the other 100,000 lawyers in Florida, are members of the Florida Bar. What is the Florida Bar? NO, not the kind of ‘bar’ you go see a sports game or share a bottle of wine at!

The Florida Bar is the integrated bar association for our state of Florida. It is the THIRD largest bar in the United States!

In 1889 the first, small, voluntary group of lawyers formed in Florida. This developed into the Florida State Bar Association by 1907. This early group remained as a voluntary organization; their activities included publishing a legal journal, drafting court procedures, and presenting educational courses for lawyers. Its membership remained small and never exceeded a few thousand.

With a substantial increase in the number of lawyers after World War I, interest in requiring lawyers to join the Florida State Bar Association, grew. The reasoning was that it was both as a means of improving communication within the profession and of disciplining unethical lawyers. Despite growing momentum, the Florida Supreme Court declined to order this until 1949.

Shortly thereafter, in April 1950, the Florida State Bar Association held it’s final meeting. The name was truncated to "The Florida Bar" and all of the state's 3,758 lawyers automatically became members!

Cynthia Rignanese