ABA Special Interest Groups (SIGs) serve as an introduction for ABA members to participate in educational forums, connect with others who share a specific interest or discipline, establish building blocks for professional partnerships, and practice hands-on skills training.
SIGs provide an opportunity for exchange of ideas, best practices, networking with colleagues, and information sharing. The communication in these groups is characterized by in-depth discussion and analysis of issues as well as sharing practices, ideas and stories. The ABA SIGs have been an effective forum to foster ABA members’ growth, while producing outstanding results.
The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) originated out of the membership need to hold small, informal meetings with others of the same discipline or similar interests. These meetings provide an opportunity for the exchange of ideas, networking with colleagues, and information sharing. Many have evolved into more formal educational sessions focused on a certain topic or audience, but all allow for the informal networking with colleagues.
Currently, there are 22 SIGs, and SIG meeting attendance ranges from 10 to 150 individuals. ABA meeting participants are encouraged to attend the SIG meetings held during the ABA Annual Meeting on Tuesday, SIG Day, which do not conflict with the general meeting sessions. SIG meetings are open to all registered Annual Meeting Attendees both members and non-members of the ABA.
In addition to the in-person meetings, SIGs provide year-round connection for ABA members. Members can join as many SIGs as they would like and each one offers different opportunities. Some have listserv discussions, others work together to develop educational content or tools that can be used by professionals in their area of specialty.
The ABA Board of Trustees strongly supports the SIGs and the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC) oversees the SIGs, providing structure and guidance. MAC also serves as a communication liaison between all SIG groups and the Board of Trustees.
The formation and dissolution of SIGs are based on the changing needs of the ABA and members within the organization. The criteria to maintain SIG status within the ABA include:
- Demonstrate at least 10 ABA members of the SIG
- Be inclusive of all ABA interested members
- Create and maintain a mission statement
- Meet at the ABA Annual Meeting at least one time every 3 years
- Provide SIG Chair and Co-Chair contact information and program description annually
The MAC Committee may recommend to the Board of Trustees that a SIG be dissolved or Chair/Co-Chair removed, if the SIG fails to meet the SIG responsibilities.