Locating Lawyers (including Corporate Counsel): A Brief Overview of Attorney Directories and a 50 State Survey of Online State Bar DirectoriesBy Scott Russell, Published on November 24, 2007
[Editor's note: this article updates Reference from Coast to Coast - Finding Lawyers - Directories, Web Sites & State Bar Sources — December 17, 2001, by Margi Heinen and Jan Bissett]
Obtaining background information on attorneys is a common question asked of law librarians. Yet as routine as it may sound it isn’t always as simple as going to Martindale Hubbell. While Martindale has long been a primary reference point for finding attorneys, some firms are opting-out of the directory and choosing other sources like the Chambers guide and Best Lawyers in America 1 . Chambers relies more on feedback from in-house counsel and lawyers do not pay a fee to be included in the Best directory. These directories, while valued highly for their content are not yet as inclusive as Martindale and may only feature lawyers from major cities or those considered “the best of the best.”
Various online sites like Findlaw or lawyers.com can be especially helpful for locating small firms or solo practitioners. Two drawbacks are that the Findlaw site only allows name, location or practice area searching and lawyers.com isn’t as inclusive as just using the main Martindale site. If nothing else a Google or Yahoo search may yield a name as can a search of news articles. Even a case law search could produce results if the person is listed as a counsel of record in a case. One site that might be useful is LegalDirectories.com. It has contact information for attorneys in 22 states and is searchable by name, firm, practice area, out-of-state attorney.
Information on corporate counsel can prove even more difficult to locate. The Corporate Law Department section in Martindale and the Directory of Corporate Counsel (Aspen publishers, Inc.) are two principal sources in this area. If you need background on General Counsel and they are with a large corporation, a biography may be posted on the company web site - typically one of the following pages: “Corporate Governance,” “Management” or “Investor Relations”. Also, with public companies you can sometimes find the name by reviewing SEC filings, in particular a 10-K. Searching a business directory such as Hoover’s can help as they provide a listing of company management as well. Similar to searching for private practice attorneys, a web, news or case law search might yield results. Not all businesses, especially small and mid-size companies have in-house counsel, they may rely on outside counsel for all their legal matters.
For instances where you cannot find an in-house or private practice lawyer in any other source, searching an online state bar directory may offer your best bet. Search parameters and results vary widely from site to site. Search offerings on some sites are little more than basic name or law firm search. For the search results themselves, some sites provide little more than name and address, and a few do not even list what firm or company with whom an attorney, while others provide fairly detailed contact and credential information.
An individual breakdown of all 50 states is included below. A list of those state bar associations that restrict their online directory to members only (some of these states offer a search via a Find A Lawyer or Lawyer Referral page, these listings are usually optional but are at least worth a try), or do not have an online directory are individually listed. A list of those associations that allow searching by company/keyword is below as well.
Association directories restricted to members only or are not online:
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Associations that allow searching by company and/or keyword:
Search template with categories of name, city, state, law school and firm (the firm box will allow you to enter a company or government organization as well).
Search only by last name or bar number. Each member has discretion over the amount of information they provide in their profile.
Find a Lawyer
Search by name, keyword, firm/organization, practice area, among others. When searching for a company use the keyword search box as the firm/organization box wouldn’t return any hits if a company name was entered.
Directory is for members only. However you can do a name, city, county, state or practice area search at: Arkansas Find A Lawyer
Basic search feature (name or bar number). Advanced search allows search by firm or location. The firm search allows you to search by company name.
Can search by name, practice area, region. The Advanced Search option allows searching by firm/company name. Membership in the Colorado Bar is voluntary so if you still need more try the Colorado Supreme Court page (search by registration number or name only.)
The directory is for members only but you can search the CBA Guide to Connecticut Lawyers. CBA members pay a fee to be listed here so it is not an exhaustive list. No company searching available. You can search by lawyer or law firm.
Member directory is not available online.
Find A Member
Can search by name or company/firm.
Find A Lawyer
Search by bar number, name or city. Users may also try the Authorized House Counsel link. An Authorized House Counsel is a person licensed to practice in another state (other than Florida), a U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia who is authorized and certified by the Supreme Court of Florida to provide limited legal services in Florida while exclusively employed by a business organization located in Florida. An authorized house counsel is not a member of The Florida Bar. This list is simply alphabetical by last name.
Member Directory Search
Search by name, practice section, firm/company, city, state.
Member directory not online. There is the Hawaii Lawyer Referral site where you can pull up attorneys by location only.
Attorney Roster Search
Search by last name only.
Illinois Lawyer Finder
Search for attorneys by practice area and county. No name searching.
Indiana Roll of Attorneys
Cannot search the Indiana Bar site. The Roll is provided by the Indiana Supreme Court. Search by last name and an optional choice for city. Results will yield current place of employment.
Find A Lawyer
Bar Directory is for members only. Can use the Find A Lawyer link to search by attorney. Can search by name, city, county. These are lawyers who have offered their services for this feature so it is not an exhaustive list.
Member directory is not online.
Search by name, city, county or practice section.
Search by name or city.
Directory is for members only.
Search by last name, law firm, section, city, county, practice area. The online database is optional, attorneys can opt out of having their information listed.
Member Directory is not online.
Search by name, bar number, or city.
Search by name, company, city, state, zip code.
Search by name, firm (can enter company name), city, and state.
Members only. Can search the Find A Lawyer page by practice area, city, county.
Search by name, city, state, gender, member status. Offers a firm name search, however when searches were run on known Montana firms they did not produce any results. The results will tell you a name but it will not list address or firm/company.
Search by name, address, city, state, phone, fax, email. Results will not yield a firm or company name.
Find A Lawyer
Search by name, firm/company, city, law school, practice area.
Online directory is available to Members only.
Online Section Directories
Cannot search by name, firm, etc. You can pull up a list by attorney last name or section area.
Search by a variety of categories, including name, firm/organization, practice area, specialization, etc.
New York State Unified Court System Attorney Search
New York State Bar Association offers a link to the New York courts system attorney search. Allows Name search only.
Search by name, city, or state.
Search by name, firm/company, location. User may also perform truncated and free-text searches.
Members only via the Ohio Bar page but can search the Supreme Court of Ohio for attorneys admitted to practice law in Ohio. Users may search by name, registration number, city, county, state, zip code.
Find A Lawyer
Search by last name, city, county, state, practice area. Inclusion is optional, attorneys listed here have volunteered to do so.
Search by bar number or name. Is not an all inclusive list of all members.
Online Lawyers Directory
Must have subscription to use service.
Search by name only.
Search by name, city, county or state.
Searchable to members only. However you can download a print version of the directory by city or name. The link will pull up all attorneys for that criteria. There is also a Lawyer Referral page as well.
Member Directory (tbalink)
Search by name, firm/organization, bar number, city, state, zip code. Can also opt to search any/all fields.
Find A Lawyer
Search by bar card, or name or choose advanced search option to search by firm/organization, services, location.
Bar Directories (Utah State Bar Attorney & Associate Member Directory Service)
Search by name, bar number, city.
Members only access via Casemaker.
Directory listing is optional. Can search by name, city, state, zip code.
Search by bar number, name, city, phone, committee, bar status, area of practice.
Membership Directory (Member Search Form)
Search template that allows searching by law ID number, name, county, city, status.
Search template by name, bar number, firm/organization, state, law school, etc.
Search by name, firm/organization, city or county.
1 Anthony Lin, Martindale to Change Focus as Some Firms Opt Out, New York Law Journal 1 (May 21, 2007).