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History of the Dayton Bar Association

The Bench and Bar of Dayton dates back to the very beginning of the 19th Century when a sole lawyer by the name of Joseph H. Crane practiced in Dayton and gained his fees in produce. The Association was originally known as the Montgomery County Bar Association until 1925 when we became the Dayton Bar Association.

Around 1920 the Association became a more tightly organized group ... electing officers, charging dues, establishing a fee guide (which is not permitted now), holding memorial meetings, and pursuing other activities for the maintenance and betterment of the legal profession.

In the early 1940s, a renewed interest in the organization seemed to prevail. In cooperation with the Law Library (which was originally called the Dayton Bar Association until 1925) and the City's Welfare Department, a Legal Aid Service was established and operated throughout the war years.

DAYTON BAR BRIEFS, the Association's publication, was initiated, and weekly luncheon programs were held. Committee activities grew, especially in the areas of public relations, unauthorized practice of law, judicial campaigning and community service.

In January of 1952, the Association opened executive offices employing staff and establishing a Lawyer Referral Service, a Speakers' Bureau, and expanding the number of committees coordinating the various functions of the association.

During the 1950s, association membership benefits were developed, such as various insurance programs, Continuing Legal Education programs, cooperative programs with other professional groups, etc.

The Association offices have since been located on Second Street in the Hulman Building (now the Liberty Tower), then in the 1990's moving to the 130 West Second Street Building (formerly known as the First National Plaza). In August of 2004, the Dayton Bar Association moved to its new permanent home in Performance Place a component of the Schuster Performing Arts complex at the corner of Second and Main Street (formerly the location of Rike's Department Store).

Membership has increased from 375 attorneys in the early 1950s to over 1,650 presently.