American Bar Association

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American Bar Association Reviews

Updated Jun 18, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 27 reviews

67% Approve of the CEO

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Stephen N. Zack

(6 ratings)

62% of employees recommend this company to a friend
27 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Flexible to a point

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    Prosgood work-life balance & benefits, great colleagues, super volunteers. Flexible schedule for those with long commutes or needs to attend to family. Opportunity to travel, although that is shrinking with the economy. Chance to work with some of the top lawyers in their fields.

    Consnon-profit level salaries, arcane budgeting process, bureaucracy sometimes overwhelms good people and ideas. sometimes politics between the board/leadership and senior management result in make-work assignments for the staff. Evaluation and review process is painful for supervisors and staff.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRecognize that a strong bottom line and value of the association is more than finances, sometimes doing good is more valuable than making money.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Traditional

    Marketing Associate (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsSteady employment, established organization, stable.

    ConsHighly resistant to change, not much opportunity for professional growth, development or advancement.

    Advice to Senior ManagementReview paths to advancement and create opportunities for advancement and professional growth through special projects and cross training. Reward people for sharing ideas and tools that make everyone more efficient. Create channels for more effective means of communications across and within departments.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    So frustrating and disappointing

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsMost staff members are nice, talented people who are committed to doing a good job. Some of them are extraordinary. Opportunities exist to do important work. Many individual units do excellent work and are internally cohesive.

    ConsThe ABA tries to be everything to everyone in the legal profession, so everything is a priority and nothing is a priority. Risk of future declining relevance is real. The decades-old result is an organization that is internally rife with unbelievable bureaucracy, inertia, silos, tension and in-fighting. Service units are terrible and not held to account. Transparency is illusory. Standards are applied inconsistently. Chicago and DC offices are two different universes with little in common. One-year term for the president and 3-year terms for members of the governing bodies make for idiosyncratic and personality-driven decisions which inhibit having any clear or consistent organizational direction.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFigure out the true priorities and give them the necessary resources to succeed and cut back or scrap the rest. Listen to the staff and address their concerns, not just to ABA volunteer leadership and their wishes.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Too Large for its own good

    Program Manager (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsSome member entities provide excellent value to their constituents especially in the educational arena. That's what I enjoyed about the place.

    ConsIt's very difficult to terminate poorly performing employees due to requirement to document poor performance over a period of 3 months. The ABA doesn't want to get sued. Loads of bureaucracy. It takes so much time to report what the entity is working on to Big ABA leadership that there's little time to do the work during the regular work day. The director of the entity in which I worked micromanaged and had daily meetings that frequently devolved to 2-hour discussions about HER personal life. Ugh!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
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    Unbelievably archaic

    Manager (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    Pros"Other time off" and weekends.

    ConsEverything else. Depending on the department and management the employee either works 9a-4:30p or 8a-9:30p. Some (my) Section was lacking support, mentors or care from the managers above--direct supervisor and above. Can you believe this relationship-based org doesn't have a CRM tool or dbase?!!

    Advice to Senior ManagementAdvice to management: Hire or promote managers that care to nurture their employees and lead by example--not intimidation or humiliation.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    A Good Place to Start or End

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsOverall the ABA is a good place to work. Although there can be peaks in the workload, there is good work-life balance. The benefits package is good and the staff is friendly.

    ConsDepending on the section you work in there just isn't a lot of room for growth. It is difficult to get promoted. There is a lot of resistance to change. There doesn't seem to be a lot of encouragement for exploring opportunities outside of your department. There is not a lot of collaboration across sections. People work and are managed in silos. Training opportunities are poor. If you are right out of school, you can learn a lot and if you are about to retire this seems to be a good place to ride it out. Not so great if you are in the middle.

    Advice to Senior ManagementConsider some creative ways to share across departments/sections. Creating a more open collaborative environment could have many benefits but will have to come from the top.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

     

    Good benefits. Depending on your boss, it can either be a stress free or stressful job.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGood location. Benefits are good.

    ConsLow morale. The pay could be better. It's hard to get promoted.

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Generally good place to work

    Program Associate (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsEach person's experience will depend greatly on the section but overall the ABA is a good company to work for with generally employee-friendly policies and decent pay/benefits for a non-profit.

    ConsQuite a lot of red tape for even the most mundane tasks, money is always tight and budgets are always being cut (as is typical for a non-profit), not very much training offered.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Overall, a worthwhile experience

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsInteresting projects, good people, decent work/life balance, great employee health and pre-tax commuter benefits

    ConsThe ABA seems to be increasingly irrelevant to today's lawyers. Not sure if efforts to turn that around are working.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRecognize and promote staff members adding value and work on flushing out the stagnant employees. Keep working on increasing relevance.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    As non-profit's go, a good place to work.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThey're open to moving around, and you can learn a lot.

    ConsMoney, as it always is at non-profits.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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