American Bar Association (ABA), voluntary organization of lawyers admitted to the bar of any state. Founded (1878) largely through the efforts of the Connecticut Bar Association, it is devoted to improving the administration of justice, seeking uniformity of law throughout the nation, and maintaining high standards for the legal profession. It is composed of over 30 committees that deal with such diverse legal topics as maritime law, professional ethics, legal education, the judicial system, and legal aid for the indigent. Through its main office in Chicago, the ABA coordinates the activities of state and local bar associations. In 1999 its membership exceeded 404,000. Affiliated organizations include the American Law Student Association and the American Bar Foundation, a group devoted to legal research and education.