Allan Falk is a 1972 graduate of Yale Law School, who was admitted to the State Bar of michigan the same year and has been practicing law since that time. Falk previously graduated from Michigan State University, where he was elected to Phi Betta Kappa and other honorary societies, was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow, and participated in Delta Phi Epsilon foreign service honorary. He has also attended courses at Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) State University and is an honors graduate of the U.S. Army Air Defense Schoo.

In 1977, Falk was the first lawyer in the country after the Abood decision to formally challenged the use of mandatory bar dues by a unified bar organization. His pleadings and briefs were later borrowed by challengers, and used successfully, in New Mexico, Montant, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, California, and Wisconsin. The motivation for this inital objection to mandatory State Bar of Michigan dues was Falk's successful lobbying, as a member of Common Cause of Michigan, for open meetings and other political reform legislation. The state Bar opposed these reforms, and used his dues in its attempt to thwart him.

Falk, however, believes that some activities of the State Bar are worthwhile, although most could be better accomplished by a voluntary organization. He has served for more than six years on the Professional and Judicial Ethics Committee and the appellate Court Administration Committee of the State Bar of Michigan. He is also a North American bridge champion, author of three books on the subject, and a member of the International Bridge Press Association.

By Allan Falk

The Limits of Compulsory Professionalism: Does a Unified Bar Make Sense for Michigan?

No profession other than the practice of law, in Michigan or any other state, requires membership in a professional organization to maintain a license. This practice, known as the unified bar, has been the subject of litigation in a number of states. Practicing attorney and Law Professor Bradley A. Smith and attorney Alan Falk note that nineteen states have voluntary bar associations, and compare their operation to the "unified" (involuntary) associations. They find that compulsory bar membership provides no greater benefits than those provided by voluntary bar associations. 26 pages. … more