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History

Columbus Bar Association History

Originally known as the Franklin County Bar Association, the CBA's roots can be traced back to March 23, 1869, when Otto Dresel submitted a resolution to form a Bar Association in central Ohio. The constitution he submitted was ratified by members of the local legal community on April 20, 1869, and the association took its first steps.


In 1869, members met in the Franklin County Courthouse. Built in 1840, the courthouse cost $40,000 and included a county jail in the basement and sheriff’s residence on the first floor. It was located at High and Mound.

The first office of the Franklin County Bar Association was in a room of the Franklin County Courthouse, provided by the county commissioners. Originally, there were approximately 60 members. Since the first days of the association, we’ve watched our membership become more diverse and robust. Although we've moved around since then, we've always been located in the heart of downtown Columbus.

As written in the constitution, the bar association was formed “to promote harmony, good feeling and closer union among the members of the bar; to maintain professional honor and dignity; to encourage the highest attainments in legal knowledge; and to promote generally the professional interests of its members.”

While our mission has changed with the times, still today, we are committed to maintaining professional honor and dignity; encouraging the highest legal knowledge; and promoting the professional interests of our members. Today, the CBA is proud to serve over 4,800 members, and we look forward to continued growth in the coming years.

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CBA Timeline

The Columbus Bar Association recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. View a timeline of CBA history from 1869-2019.

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