Mission & History

Our Mission

The Mission of the American Association for Justice is to promote a fair and effective justice system—and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.

Our History

On August 16, 1946, a group of nine plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in workers’ compensation litigation met in a hotel room at the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Their goal was to put together a plan for a national organization to combat new threats facing trial lawyers across the country. It was at this meeting where it was enthusiastically agreed upon to create a new association by the name, the National Association of Claimants' Compensation Attorneys (NACCA). Their devotion to securing strong representation for victims of industrial accidents soon attracted admiralty, railroad, and personal injury lawyers. It wasn't long before the group included attorneys engaged in almost all facets of trial advocacy.

Reflecting its growth and expanded commitments, NACCA changed its name 3 times before 1971, when it emerged as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA). In 1977, ATLA's headquarters moved from Boston to Washington, DC.

In 2006, ATLA members voted to adopt a new name: the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Today, AAJ is a broad-based, international coalition of attorneys, law professors, paralegals, and law students.

As the world's largest trial bar, AAJ promotes justice and fairness for injured persons, safeguards victims' rights—particularly the right to trial by jury—and strengthens the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety. With members worldwide, and a network of U.S. and Canadian affiliates involved in diverse areas of trial advocacy, AAJ provides lawyers with the information and professional assistance needed to serve clients successfully and protect the democratic values inherent in the civil justice system.

Read the Expanded History of ATLA and AAJ