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American Board of Trial Advocates
15356 Sunnyhaven Street
San Leandro, CA  94579
415-239-8793
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National ABOTA Membership Requirements

CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Eligibility

Any trial lawyer who is of high personal character and honorable reputation, and who is a member of the Bar of the State, province, district, territory or country in which he or she practices, and who has met the qualifications as prescribed in Article III, Section 2, may become a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates upon nomination, election, and payment of initiation fees and dues.

Section 2. Classes of Membership

There shall be eight classes of membership, admission to which shall be dependent upon the qualifications hereinafter set forth.

(1) Member - Each Chapter may, at its option, include in its membership an applicant as a Member who has completed 10 civil jury trials to jury verdict as lead counsel and who also meets the following additional criteria: The applicant shall be a person who the Chapter believes will in due course accumulate the necessary 200 points for the rank of Associate. The applicant shall further possess the other and additional professional and ethical attributes and accomplishments as becomes one committed to the preservation of the Seventh Amendment. Each such person shall be admitted to the rank of "Member" and shall have all the rights of any other class of membership. Any such applicant shall complete a specially designated application so that the National Office may analyze the statistical effect of these new members.

Sunset provision: The availability of this class of membership shall automatically expire on December 31, 2010, unless otherwise extended in accordance with the Bylaws.

(2) Associate - Shall have at least five (5) years of active experience as a trial lawyer and as a member of the Bar of the state, province, district or territory in which he or she practices, and shall have tried a minimum of twenty (20) civil jury trials to a jury verdict as lead counsel or, in the alternative, shall have tried a minimum of ten (10) civil jury trials as lead counsel and twenty (20) major felony criminal trials to a jury verdict or, as a second alternative, shall have tried ten (10) civil jury trials to a jury verdict as lead counsel and have acquired 200 points under the trial experience equivalency provisions as defined by Bylaw IV, Section 1.

(3) Advocate - Shall have at least eight (8) years of active experience as a trial lawyer and as a member of the Bar of the state, province, district or territory in which he or she practices, and shall have tried a minimum of fifty (50) civil jury trials to a jury verdict as lead counsel or, in the alternative, shall have tried twenty-five (25) civil jury trials to a jury verdict as lead counsel and shall have acquired 500 points as defined by Bylaw IV, Section 1.

(4) Diplomat - Shall have at least twelve (12) years of active experience as a trial lawyer and as a member of the Bar of the state, province, district or territory in which he or she practices, shall have held the rank of Advocate for a minimum of three (3) years and shall have tried a minimum of one hundred (100) civil jury trials to a jury verdict as lead counsel or, in the alternative, shall have tried fifty (50) civil jury trials to a jury verdict as lead counsel and shall have acquired 1,000 points as defined by Bylaw IV, Section 1.

(5) Honorary Diplomat - Shall be a member or former member of the Bar in good standing, or other person of national or international prominence, who, by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee of any sponsoring chapter and the National Board of Directors, is entitled to honorary membership in this Association by reason of his or her significant contribution to the advancement of the cause of justice. An Honorary Diplomat shall have no voting privilege, nor shall he or she be required to pay an initiation fee, dues or assessments.

(6) Judge - Any judge who by reason of his or her standing in the community and his or her contribution to the advancement of the cause of justice under the jury system, and who is a member or a former member of a State Bar Association and prior to becoming a judge has acquired the minimum qualifications required of an Associate member, shall be eligible for admission to membership, provided he or she has received an affirmative vote in accordance with Article III, Section 3, Subsection 3.

An applicant under this class of membership shall be required to pay an initiation fee equivalent to that of an associate member and shall be subject to the payment of dues and assessments.

(7) Emeritus Member - A member shall be eligible for admission to Emeritus status of his or her ranking whether as a Diplomat Emeritus, an Advocate Emeritus, or an Associate Emeritus upon either attaining the age of 75 years or, having served with distinction as a member for 10 years, ceasing to engage in the active practice of law by reason of age, illness, infirmity, or other reason satisfactory to both his or her local chapter and at the complete discretion of the National Board present and voting at a Board meeting.

Emeritus status shall continue all rights and duties previously held by the member, but he or she shall be relieved of the obligation to pay dues.

(8) International Member - This is an honorary category of membership, by invitation of a member of the National Executive Committee only. A person in this category shall be a member or former member of the Bar in good standing, or a member or former member of the Judiciary in good standing of a country other than United States of America in which he or she resides who believes in the general principles of this organization and in the preservation and promulgation of the right to jury trial in contested litigation. Such membership shall require a seventy-five percent (75%) vote of the National Executive Committee (presently six out of the eight members) and by a ratification vote of the National Board present and voting at a National Board meeting. An International Member shall have no voting privilege nor shall he or she be required to pay any initiation fee, dues or assessments except as stated by Bylaw V, Section 2.

Section 3. Election to Chapter Membership

A nominee, to be admitted to membership in a chapter, must receive, in the following order:

(1) An affirmative vote of seventy-five percent (75%) of the Executive Board of the local chapter;

(2) An affirmative vote of seventy-five percent (75%) of the local chapter present and voting at an official meeting of, or in a mailing to, the chapter's general membership;

(3) An affirmative vote of seventy-five percent (75%) of the National Board present and voting at a National Board meeting.

Section 4. Termination of Membership

(1) Membership shall be terminated by resignation when the member files a letter of resignation with the Executive Director of the Association. The resigning member should send a copy to the president of the local chapter.

(2) The following shall be grounds upon which expulsion of a member may be based:

a. When a member of this Association is convicted of a felony involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, or a misdemeanor involving theft, embezzlement or misappropriation of funds;

b. When a member of this Association has been disbarred or suspended by the highest court of a state in which he or she is licensed, or resigns in the face of disciplinary proceedings;

c. When a member no longer possesses the qualifications required for membership as set forth in the Preamble and as defined in Article III,
Section 1; or

d. When other good cause exists.

(3) Membership may be terminated by expulsion by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the National Board, present and voting, and a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members present and voting on the issue of the member's local chapter, if there is a local chapter. Membership may be terminated by expulsion by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of those members present and voting on the issue of the National Board, regardless of the vote of the member's local chapter, and regardless of whether there is a vote of the local chapter, if there is a local chapter.

(4) If termination by expulsion is contemplated, the National Board and the local chapter may, in their discretion, provide a hearing before a vote to expel is taken, and such hearing shall be more fully provided for in the Bylaws.

(5) Membership shall be automatically terminated upon failure of a member to pay his or her dues or assessments within twelve (12) months of the due date thereof, as provided for more fully in the Bylaws. Such termination shall not require an expulsion vote by the National Board or the member's local chapter.