Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Researching Lawyers & Legal Employers

Sources

The guide gives sample searches in multiple directories Why? The coverage of the different directories is not the same. Very often each lists some attorneys or firms the other does not.

UW Law students have access to commercial directories on Lexis (Lexis Legal Directory and on Westlaw (West Legal Directory. Anyone can use the free databases that are partners of these—Martindale.com and Findlaw Lawyer Directory—as well as LinkedIn and Avvo.

You'll find that using different sources often leads to different results. Even when directories have entries for the same lawyers, they might have different information about them. Be aware that some entries are out of date.

For a study comparing results from several directories (WSBA, Avvo, Martindale, Findlaw, LinkedIn), see Mary Whisner, The 4-1-1 on Lawyer Directories, 106 Law Libr. J. 257 (2014), SSRN

Caution: Directory listings may be inaccurateSearching directories can be very useful, but it's always a good idea to double-check what you find.

For example, you might use LexisNexis Law Directory to search for UW Law grads who practice personal injury law in Tacoma. Lincoln Beauregard ('02) is identified as an associate in the Connelly Law Offices. Before you ask to meet with him, it might be a good idea to visit the firm's website, where he's identified as a founding partner of the firm. Using the directory enabled you to find him, but that's not the end of your research.

WSBA Directory

For Washington lawyers, a good first stop is usually the Washington State Bar Association's Legal Directory. Since every lawyer who practices in this state has to be a member of WSBA, this directory is current and comprehensive. It's so comprehensive, it even includes deceased lawyers—not that you'll meet them, but sometimes it's good to confirm that the person you're looking for isn't around. It also includes those on inactive status (lower dues but no right to practice).

If you check the box to include similar sounding names, you can often find people whose names you didn't quite get when you heard them. For example, searching for "Christine Anderson" picks up Stacy Christine Andersen, as well as Christopher L. Anderson and Christopher D.L. Andrews.

The site also offers the ability to search by practice area (based on what lawyers submit), language, or access to TDD. And you can also find members of WSBA committees. These options can be very useful if you want to find lawyers who know American Sign Language and practice family law or who know Japanese and practice employment law.

WSBA's directory tells you whether the date of a lawyer's admission and whether the bar as imposed disciplinary sanctions.

WSBA's directory does not include some biographical information that you might like to know, such as law school attended and past jobs.

Avvo

Avvo logoAvvo.com is a directory of attorneys that includes information from outside sources (bar associations, publications that give awards), information from the attorneys themselves (people can add to their profiles), and ratings by clients and other lawyers. Some entries have nothing more than name, address, and date admitted. But some have much more: photos, practice areas, publications, comments, and ratings. It doesn't have complete information about everyone listed, but it often has something.

You can search by legal topics, city, or name.

Bear in mind that attorneys in private practice are more likely to claim their profiles (adding pictures, biographical information, etc.) than are lawyers who work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or corporations.

An Avvo entry can have a lot of information. For example, Heather J. Pearce uploaded her photo and wrote a few paragraphs about her experience, as well as resume-type information about jobs and education. She even mentions her participation on UW Law's Mock Trial Team. Three clients have written reviews of her, and four attorneys have endorsed her.

snip of Avvo profile for Heather Pearce

Sometimes you'll read about public recognition. For example, Felix G. Luna's entry shows that in 2011 he received UW Law's recent graduate award and was Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Association's plaintiff attorney of the year.

Or an Avvo entry might have very little, as in the one for Brandon Stevens, who has not added a photo or biographical information.

Avvo entry for Brandon Stevens

Attorneys in private practice are more likely to claim their profiles (adding pictures, biographical information, etc.) than are lawyers who work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or corporations.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn is a social networking site that enables people to post information about themselves -- jobs, degrees, areas of interest.

When you search, click on All Filters to focus you search. For example, you can limit your search to a location (e.g., San Francisco Bay Area), an industry (try both Law Practice and Legal Services), and a school (e.g., University of Washington).

If you limit your search to people who are your 1st- or 2nd-degree connections, you will often find someone whom someone you know can introduce you to.

LinkedIn is not limited to law. That can add to your networking in all kinds of ways. Maybe your former coworker is an accountant in a town where you'd like to practice. Maybe your sorority sister is in a business that would interact with lawyers. The possibilities are endless.

LinkedIn probably has more information about some public interest and government lawyers than the commercial legal directories.

Martindale.com and Lexis Legal Directory

Martindale logoMartindale.com (owned by Lexis) is the free, online version of the venerable Martindale-Hubbell print directories, whose various versions go back to the late 1800s.

Martindale listings generally have a lot more information than just name, address, and phone number. They'll list schools attended, areas of practice, languages, publications, and more. And you can search by all (or most of) those variables too.

Be aware that no directory is comprehensive, so you might not find the lawyer you're looking for. Martindale-Hubbell has never been as strong for lawyers in government and non-profit organizations as it was for lawyers in private practice. And now a number of lawyers and firms are choosing not to pay the fee to be listed, so it is not as comprehensive as it used to be.

Lexis Attorney Directories screen snipMartindale-Hubbell directories are also on Lexis, branded as "LexisNexis Law Directory" or "Attorney Directories." The Lexis interface generally has more search options than on the free site. (One exception: the free site offers an option for comparing firms that is not in the Lexis version.) This guide's examples use the Lexis version, since law students have access, but it's worth mentioning the free site for those who do not.

Martindale Legal Marketing Network helps lawyers and firms get their profiles in online directories— Martindale.com, as you'd expect from the name, but also , Avvo.com, Lawyers.com and Nolo.com.

Attorneys in private practice are more likely to claim their profiles (adding pictures, biographical information, etc.) than are lawyers who work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or corporations.

Findlaw Lawyer Directory / West Legal Directory

Findlaw logoThe free Findlaw Lawyer Directory and West Legal Directory on Westlaw share data. In fact, in Westlaw, there's a link to Findlaw for lawyers who want to update their profiles. And the URL www.wld.com redirects to lawyers.findlaw.com.

Findlaw allows you to search by lawyers' practice areas, locations, and other variables. You can also search by name, if you're looking for an individual. Once you get to a lawyer's listing, you can find very basic information or a detailed profile—depending on how much information the lawyer has provided.

Westlaw logoThe sample searches below often use the Westlaw version of the directory, because it offers more flexible searching and law students have access. Even law students might choose to use the free site so they can see the pictures of attorneys who post them.

Searchers can use "field restrictors" to make their searches more efficient. For example, if you want to find someone who went to BYU undergrad and then to UW Law, you can search for und("brigham young") & ls("university of washington").

Attorneys in private practice are more likely to claim their profiles (adding pictures, biographical information, etc.) than are lawyers who work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or corporations.