After a nearly 18-month process, your local bar association is pleased to announce extensive changes coming to our space at the corner of 6th and Main Streets. As we undergo renovations, the Bar Center will be closed beginning in October and will reopen in the spring of 2024, ready to share exciting upgrades with our members.

Our goal for this renovation is to return the LBA’s home back to its members. We want you to enjoy an environment that caters to you by providing a comfortable atmosphere for coworking, better technology for seminars, virtual sessions and expanded meeting space, and gives our organization a home for decades to come.

"The renovated space will send a strong message to potential new members that the LBA is a thriving and energetic organization committed to supporting the next generation of lawyers,” said Kate Crosby, LBA President.

What to Expect

The goal for these renovation plans is to change how members and staff use the Bar Center for the better.

Our new entrance will be directly on Main St., elevating our public profile and drawing attention from both downtown workers and the many visitors who pass by our prime location on Louisville’s Museum Row. Our lobby will include couches for relaxing with friends and colleagues, as well as outlet-equipped tables with comfortable chairs so you can easily connect to your work while visiting. The space will also include a hospitality bar for members to stop by and grab coffee. Whether you’re between court appearances, arriving early for a downtown meeting or just taking a break from the office, we hope you’ll find the upgraded Bar Center to be an environment that’s both fun and productive.

Just off the lobby is a small catering kitchen and reception area, which will allow the LBA to host more events in-house and rely less on outside venues for small social gatherings. This event space will also be available for members or the community to rent.

The new Bar Center will also feature upgraded space for our hard-working staff members who make the LBA’s wheels turn every day behind the scenes. Until now, staff worked from a small, cramped room in the back of the office, separating them from the members and community they serve. This renovation will move our staff from the back of the Bar Center to the current Seminar Room overlooking 6th Street. This will signal to our members and the general public that the LBA is open for business every day – and give members a front row seat to view the hard work that goes into the organization’s operations.

The recent popularity of virtual sessions and the preference for smaller, specialized educational opportunities means the organization doesn’t use our outsized Seminar Room in the same way we used to. With these renovations, the LBA is creating a more focused seminar area featuring the latest cutting-edge presentation technology. The renovation will also include a small “studio” for recording record high-quality CLE seminars and online educational content.

"The Young Lawyers Section is elated about the upcoming renovations to the Louisville Bar Center, and all the opportunities that the new modern space will bring,” said Al'Lisha Hanserd, chair of the LBA’s Young Lawyers Section. “Modernization is evitable, and it is vital that we embrace it for future generations of lawyers. We cannot wait to invite future young lawyers to our new space.”

We’re also introducing a new mini-conference center with rooms of all sizes, from two-person focus rooms to a 12-person conference room, perfect for meetings, mediations, depositions, focus groups or other gatherings. These conference rooms will be available to both LBA members and the community to rent (LBA members will receive a significant discount) and will include an on-site lounge space and hospitality bar.

Importantly, all our spaces will include enhanced, plug-and-play technology so users can easily connect to strategically-placed screens for online meetings, presentations and sessions.

Making this Decision

For more than 25 years, the Bar Center has served as a common ground for our local legal community – but as that community changed, our space has not adapted, remaining virtually untouched since its opening in 1998. That’s why our Board of Directors set a goal to create a space that encourages working together, building connections and serving our community. With these renovations, we can better fulfill our duty to provide Law, Community and Education to our colleagues and our city.

“Our members deserve a Bar Center that reflects their needs, and our community deserves an energetic space that reflects the true heart of downtown Louisville,” said Kristen L. MillerExecutive Director of the Louisville Bar Association. “Our goals with this project are to celebrate our local legal community, position our association for its next century of growth and service, and signify our commitment to a vibrant and thriving downtown.” 

These plans have been in the works for quite some time. On February 28, 2022, the LBA Board of Directors approved the creation of the Bar Center Use Review Committee, which was created to “consider how the association uses its physical space in the Louisville Bar Center and how it can be improved for the benefit of its membership and the Louisville community at large.” The committee hired local design firm ID+A in June of 2022, and in May 2023, the Board approved the firm’s plans.

The LBA members who serve on the Bar Center Use Review Committee are: Chairperson Seth Gladstein, President Kate Lacy Crosby, Abigale Rhodes Green, Amy DeRenzo Hulbert, Ron Johnson, Jennifer Ward Kleier, Deena Ombres and Sam Wardle.

The decision to renovate the Bar Center did not come lightly – Board members considered a wide spectrum of options before committing to this plan. The LBA owns its space in the 600 W. Main St. building, and the Board and Bar Center Use Review Committee discussed selling the office and moving to another space downtown – however, that decision didn’t feel right. The Bar Center’s location serves so many purposes – we’re close to the courthouses and many legal offices, serving as a way station for those heading to and from downtown. The Board also felt an obligation to serve our downtown community. A consultation with a local commercial real estate broker confirmed our thinking, calling our location a “trophy corner” in the central business district. We want to reactivate that trophy corner, and thereby play our role in reactivating downtown.

"We are thrilled for the Louisville Bar Association’s reinvestment in Downtown,” said Rebecca Fleischaker, executive director of Louisville Downtown Partnership. “The re-imagined workspace is exactly in line with our mission of increasing connectivity, enhancing vibrancy and expanding resources for everyone in the entire Downtown community.”

Behind the Numbers

A renovation of this kind doesn’t come without substantial costs, but the Board has also approved a financing plan that makes good financial sense for the organization. With the help of outside legal and financial advisors, we have crafted a plan that pays for half of the renovations costs through financing provided by the LBA’s longtime banking partner, Republic Bank. The remainder of the costs will mostly be funded by drawing down on an investment account wisely initiated by LBA leadership decades ago for large projects such as this one.

You as our members also have an opportunity to participate in this critical renovation project and help us make it our home for the future. We’ll be offering naming opportunities for many of the newly-renovated spaces, allowing you or your organization to leave your legacy for years to come. There will be also additional opportunities to support the Bar Center renovations on an individual basis; more details will soon be forthcoming.

Looking to the Future

The LBA started this year with a major rebrand, and we’re ending the year with an extensive renovation under development. The work we’re putting into our organization is all about giving our members what they deserve – a modern bar association that represents them, celebrates their impact on our community and helps them get the most out of their membership, steering our entire legal community toward a brighter future.

We want to be a good steward of our space, make it our home for decades to come, and create positive change while honoring the past that has led us to where we are today.