The State Bar of California maintains an online database of California attorneys. It is freely available to the public and can be searched by name or bar number. There is an advanced search option where one can search by first or last name (fields include "begins with," "contains," "is exactly," and "sounds like") and by location (e.g. city, state,zip code, district, and county).
The information provided includes name, address, telephone number and fax number, e-mail address, date of admission to the Bar, undergraduate and law schools attended, membership status (current eligibility to practice law in California) and public record of discipline.
Please note that if you are researching an out-of-state attorney, use Google (or another search engine) to find the state's bar association and look for a link to their lawyer directory or attorney membership search. Keep in mind that some state bar associations limit access to their directory to members only.
Owned by LexisNexis, the Martindale-Hubbell directory "endeavors to include all U.S. and Canadian lawyers in the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network and offers free basic listings." However, lawyers or their law firms must submit their information to Martindale-Hubbell. In any case, this site is easy to use and includes a Peer Review Rating System, which is based on the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary, including both those who are rated and those who are not. One can use the Advanced Search form to limit results by location, by area of practice, by language, and by law school attended.
This directory allows users to find a lawyer by legal issue, location, and by name. The advanced option allows users to limit results to law firms only or lawyers only and by language. If you haven't hired an attorney before, you may consult FindLaw's Guide to Hiring a Lawyer, which is linked on this page.
Thomson Legal Record (via FindLaw)
This directory is geared toward legal professionals. Thomson Legal Record lists an attorney's recent reported cases and federal docket filings as well as a professional profile, which contains biographical information, background on litigation experience and areas of practice. Full details are available only to registered users, who receive free and instant access to caselaw, case summaries, sample business contracts, and e-mail newsletters. May search by name or by experience.
Founded by Mark Britton and Paul Bloom, Avvo's mission is "to help people navigate the complex and confusing legal industry." The site is guided by two main principles: (1) focus on the needs of regular people and (2) provide information as well as guidance. Avvo rates and profiles every attorney. Profiles contain experience, areas of practice, disciplinary history, and ratings from clients. Profile data comes from many sources, including state courts and bar associations, lawyer websites, and information provided by lawyers. Ratings reflect Avvo's effort to evaluate a lawyer's background using a mathematical model that considers the information gathered about a lawyer.
Researchers may search by legal topic, by name, city and state or zip code. One may also browse lawyers by legal practice area. This site also includes free legal guides and a section called "Answers & Advice."
"Identifies and ranks the world's best lawyers and law firms. Each guide offers in-depth analysis of the legal market within a specific region (UK, Europe, Asia, USA, Latin America)." Also includes rankings, based on client and lawyer interviews, and editorial comments.