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History & Structure


On November 12, 1939, in Washington, DC, a group of canonists established the Canon Law Society of America as a  professional association dedicated to the promotion of both the study and application of canon law in the Catholic Church. In February of 1981, the Society incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the District of Columbia.

Today, the Society’s membership includes over twelve hundred (1,200) men and women from thirty-five (35) countries. The Society remains active in the study and promotion of canonical and pastoral approaches to significant issues within the Latin and the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Although the central office of the Canon Law Society has had many homes in the long history of the CLSA, the Office of the Executive Coordinator was most recently located at the Hecker Center for Ministry, from 2007 until December 2015.

As of January 1, 2016, the Administrative Office (formerly the Office of the Executive Coordinator) has established permanent tenancy at McCormick Pavilion, an annex of Theological College in northeast Washington, DC.




The Canon Law Society of America organizes an annual convention, at which time it elects a Board of Governors to oversee the operations of the Society and determines resolutions for future study and activity of the Society.

The Board is composed of elected officers: President, Vice-President/President-elect, an immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, and six Consultors. Please click here to see our current Board of Governors.

Reporting to the Board of Governors and supervised by the President, two collaborative positions serve the office: the Executive Coordinator, who is a degreed canonist and an active member of the Society, and the General Secretary, who is responsible for the organizational management of the main administrative office in Washington, DC.

The Society organizes its study, research, and development into two divisions: Constitutional committees, first created by the CLSA Constitution, and ongoing committees, which perform tasks deemed essential to the ongoing life of the Society. See our Committees page for more detailed information about our committees and their valuable work. 

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