The Association was only intermittently active during it's early years. It was kept alive only by the efforts of a few dedicated leaders. As was true of many state and local bar associations, the Dane County Bar Association did not become well entrenched until the early years of the 20th century. Since 1928, the Association has held regular annual meetings and has elected officers every year.

The functions of the Dane County Bar Association have changed periodically over the years, based partly on general trends in the legal profession and partly on changes in the functions assumed by the State Bar of Wisconsin. For example, during World War II the Association provided free legal assistance to servicemen and after the war it sponsored refresher courses for members returning from military service. The Association periodically has sponsored legal education programs for the public, sometimes in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin.

The Association investigated grievances against its members until state government assumed this function in the early 1960s. That same decade the Association created a lawyer referral service for Dane County residents who needed a lawyer; the State Bar later created a similar service extending statewide. Throughout itís history, the Dane County Bar Association has sponsored regular social and educational events for members.