In January 1889, ten attorneys admitted to practice in the courts of Somerset County met in Coffroth’s Hall to organize a Bar Association, and appointed five members to a Committee to drafts its Constitution and Bylaws. In February 1889, 13 members of the Somerset County Bar adopted the Constitution and Bylaws of the Somerset County Bar Association and elected officers. Under the ownership and management of the Somerset County Bar Association, the Association began publishing the Somerset Legal Journal, with its first issue dated March 5, 1920. In 1945, this Journal was circulated to “28 exchanges, lawyers, notaries public, justices of the peace, bank officials and other businessmen interested in legal advertising,” and was noted to be “a success as a medium of legal information,” affording subscribers the convenience of knowing every Friday the business of the local courts. Honorable John A. Berkey, Bench and Bar of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 1795-1945, p. 17 (1945).
The 2010 membership roster of the Somerset County Bar Association lists 73 members. The Association meets quarterly to discuss issues of concern for attorneys and the courts and projects through which the Bar Association can have a positive impact in the community-at-large. Over the years, the Somerset County Bar Association has advanced its mission to support its members professionally while initiating projects to benefit the community as needs arise. The activities of the Somerset County Bar Association of Pennsylvania include:
- Giving educational tours of the Somerset County Courthouse, Jail and County Offices to school children throughout Somerset County
- Sponsoring the Somerset County Courthouse Tour Essay Contest
- Publishing the Somerset Legal Journal
- Assisting in the legal representation of clients whose matters cannot be handled by Legal Aid due to conflict situations.
- Providing Continuing Legal Education and Ethics programs for attorneys
- Organizing activities for members of the Association and their families to promote fraternity and cooperation among its members
Members of the Somerset County Bar Association are proud of its well-recognized and admired spirit of civility and camaraderie. These qualities and the level of professional competence of the attorneys in the Somerset County Bar Association will help ensure that the legal needs of the public will be well met.