New York lawyer, publisher, and entrepreneur, John Livingston, founded the North American Legal Association [also known as the American Legal Association] in the early 1850s. It was a loose organization of lawyers from throughout the United States created to provide those doing interstate business a list of reliable legal counsel. Livingston distributed circulars advertising the group to postmasters and county clerks and solicited them to recommend potential Association members. He also advertised the group in his law journal, Livingston's Monthly Law Journal. Within a few years he was able to list members throughout the United States. The Association was one of the first national proto-bar associations in the U.S. A certificate of membership in the Association is illustrated above.
For more information on Livingston and his various enterprises, see my article, "John Livingston & the Business of Law in Nineteenth Century America," American Journal of Legal History, v.44 (2000), pp. 347-368.