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Researching Lawyers & Legal Employers

Finding Lawyers Who . . .

When you're developing your network, you often want to find lawyers who practice in a certain city or practice a particular type of law. You might be able to break the ice if you have something in common with them: same law school, same college, same military experience.

The sample searches below can get you started putting together searches of your own.

Finding Lawyers Who Went to UW Law

Search Challenges

Note: when you search for "university of washington," you'll often pick up records for "American University - Washington, D.C."  or for "George Washington University - Washington, D.C." The easiest way to deal with this is to skim past the false hits. You can create searches to exclude the schools you don't want, but you might exclude too much. What if someone got a B.A. at American University and a J.D. at the University of Washington?

Directories tend to spell out the name, but news stories and websites might say someone "went to law school at the UW" or "graduated from "UW Law." Be aware that the University of Wisconsin and the University of Wyoming both go by "UW" as well. Again, skimming past the false hits is probably best.

UW Law Sample Searches

Martindale logo

Click on the menu icon in the upper right corner of the basic screen. Choose Law School Alumni search. Scroll down to Washington and choose University of Washington.

As of August 2018, there are 5,167 listings. (UW Law has over 10,000 living alumni, so this isn't comprehensive.)

You can filter by area of practice, location, peer review (number of stars), client review (percent score), languages, law firms, and bar admissions.

The search template lists the most common areas of practice (Litigation, Business Law, Commercial Law, Real Estate, Corporate Law). You can search for others. For example, typing in "family" gives the options "Family Law," "Family Business Law," "Family Mediation," and "Family and Medical Leave Act."

The search template also lists the most common locations, but you can search for others. For instance, 59 UW Law grads are listed in Anchorage, AK.

Lexis Attorney DirectoriesLexis Attorney Directories does not have a segment just for law school attended. (The available segments are cite, name, company, title, publication, section, firm.)

Search for "university of washington" /2 j.d. or ll.m. After you run the search, you can filter by state or practice area. You can also search within the results.

Westlaw logoMethod 1: Run a search in West Legal Directory, looking for anything. Then on the left, select Law School and type in university of washington. Click Apply Filters.

Method 2: Search for ls("university of washington"). This uses the "law school" field restrictor, which doesn't appear in current documentation but still works. As of August 2018, this yields 4,706 entries. UW Law has over 10,000 living graduates, so the search is not comprehensive.

LinkedIn logoIn the LinkedIn search box, select People, then click on All Filters. In the School box, enter "university of washington school of law."

(If you don't use quotation marks, you get a lot more results, but they may not be relevant.)

Follow the University of Washington School of Law Group. It includes employees as well as students and grads.

Finding Lawyers Who Went to Your College or . . .

Lexis Attorney DirectoriesLexis Attorney Directories does not have a segment just for college attended. (The available segments are cite, name, company, title, publication, section, firm.) But you can search generally.

Sample searches:

  • whitman college
  • whitman college and denver
  • west point or u.s.m.a. or united states military academy
  • "kappa kappa gamma" (Note that not everyone lists sorority or fraternity activities in their profiles.)
  • varsity swimming

Sample searches in West Legal Directory:Westlaw logo

  • willamette /3 b.a. b.s.
  • "brigham young" & seattle
  • army /3 medal star ribbon
  • "jesuit volunteer corps"
  • chess /3 team competit! champion!

LinkedIn logoIn the LinkedIn search box, select People, then click on All Filters.

Sample searches:

  • school: wesleyan
    industry: legal services or law practice
  • past employer: nordstrom
    industry: legal services or law practice
  • past employer: us navy or us navy reserve
    industry: legal services or law practice
    location: seattle area

Finding Lawyers Who Were Active in Your Student Organizations

Sample searches in LexisNexis Attorney Directories:

  • blsa or black law student (Lexis automatically searches for plurals. Leaving out "association" simplifies the searching in case someone listed "assoc." or "ass'n.")
  • apalsa or asian pacific american law student
  • mock trial
  • washington law review

Sample searches in West Legal Directory:

  • moot court
  • vis /3 arbitration
  • "washington journal of environmental law & policy"
  • indian tribal /3 clinic
  • "student animal law" saldef

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn Groups can help you connect with people from your organizations. Some UW Law student organizations already have LinkedIn groups (although they might not be active). If there isn't a group already, you can start one. Whether there's an existing group or you start a new one, you can help it by being an active participant.

Some existing groups:

Finding Lawyers Who Practice [. . .] Law

The Washington State Bar Association's Legal Directory includes on option for searching by practice area. You can combine the search with other fields, like city or county.

screen snip WSBA Legal Directory

Avvo logo

Avvo's main search box lets you put in a practice area. If the area you type doesn't fit its data, it gives you something close—for example, if you type in employment discrimination, it searches for discrimination.

You can browse all of Avvo's practice areas by broad subject categories or in an alphabetical list.

You can combine a practice area search with a city or state.

Martindale logoEither type in a practice area or run another search (e.g., by city) and then filter by practice area.

LexisNexis Attorney Directories screen snipYou can search for practice areas when you put together your keywords search in LexisNexis Attorney Directories. Or you can search for something else (e.g., city) and then filter.

The list of Practice Areas & Topics that appears in the Filters column seems to depend on the context of your search. It's a good idea to try several searches.If you're curious about this quirk, read on. Otherwise, just know the database has more Practice Areas than you see in the Filters column.

Sample searches (Aug. 27, 2018) led to different filtering options.

Search Practice Areas & Topics Filters Search Practice Areas & Topics Filters Search Practice Areas & Topics Filters
"san francisco"

Bankruptcy Law
Environmental Law
International Trade Law
Labor & Employment Law
Pensions & Benefits Law
Real Property Law
Tax Law
Workers' Compensation & SSDI

"san francisco"and intellectual property" Antitrust & Trade Law
Bankruptcy Law
Business & Corporate Complaince
Business & Corporate Law
Civil Procedure
Computer & Internet Law
Environmental Law
International Law
International Trade Law
Labor & Employment Law
Securities Law
Tax Law
Trade Secrets Law
Workers' Compensation & SSDI
"new york" and "intellectual property"

Bankruptcy Law
Business & Corporate Compliance
Civil Rights Law
Copyright Law
Environmental Law
Healthcare Law
International Law
Labor & Employment Law
Real Property Law
Tax Law
Trade Secrets Law
Workers' Compensation & SSDI


Findlaw logoThe Findlaw Lawyer Directory lets you type a practice area and city into the search box. Results give lawyer or firm profiles and link you to firm websites.

The results can be surprising. A search (Aug. 21, 2018) for intellectual property seattle resulted in a couple of family law firms and did not turn up some prominent IP firms.

Finding Lawyers Who Blog

One way to find out about lawyers who are excited about an area (admiralty, high tech, real estate, or . . .) is to see who is taking the time to blog about it. Of course, not all lawyers have blogs—but when they do, the blog gives you a great window into what interests them and how they think. Some write to attract potential clients, others to reach other lawyers.

Finding Lawyers Who Handle Trials

If you're interested in high-profile civil litigation or criminal trials, check news sources (e.g., Washington papers in Lexis or Westlaw).

Suppose you want to connect with the lawyers in the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office who handle murder trials—not the elected prosecutor, but the line attorneys. Searching in Washington News in Westlaw for spokane & homicide murder /s trial & prosecut! can lead you to stories like Jonathan Glover, Spokane Man Convicted of Attempted-Murder After Five Years and Two Trials, Spokesman-Review, June 27, 2018, 2018 WLNR 19560617. The article mentions Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece. From there you can look up Kyle Treece in LinkedIn and find his contact information in the WSBA directory.

In Lexis, choose Jury Verdicts & Settlements, then choose jurisdiction or practice area.

Sample searches:

  • "medical malpractice" and date after 2012
  • "title vii" and award > 500000
  • name(king county) and tort or negligen!

Note: These searches will find government lawyers as well as lawyers in private practice.

In Lexis, choose Briefs, Pleadings & Motions. Narrow your search by choosing a content type, jurisdiction, or practice area—or search the whole collection of documents. Either way, go to Advanced Search and use the template.

Sample searches:

  • foster care and negligen! and name(state)
  • name(aclu or american civil liberties) and drug
  • name(state & washingotn) & search w/3 unlawful or illegal

In Westlaw, choose Jury Verdicts & Settlements. Choose jurisdiction or area of law—or search the whole collection. Click Advanced to get a search template.

Sample searches:

  • to(defamation)
  • construction & developer
  • ti("western state hosp!") ("Ti" or "title" includes the parties' names.)

Note that the side bar gives you options for filtering—e.g., by the dollar-amount of the award.

Choose Trial Court Documents. If you want, select type of document (motions, pleadings, etc.), jurisdiction, or topic. Or search from this page. Click on Advanced to get a search template.

Sample searches:

  • "endangered species" & ti(interior)
  • "animal rights"
  • malpractice /3 veterinar!

Note: searching Washington trial documents is limited to civil documents. But if you choose Criminal Law as a topic, then you can choose Washington (or another jurisdiction).

Sample searches:

  • dna & at(spokane)  (Searching for "spokane" in the Attorney field picks up anyone whose address is in Spokane.)
  • dui & suppress!

In Bloomberg Law, choose dockets. If you choose "Dockets & Documents," it will search the words in the documents (when available). If you choose Dockets Only, it will search just the headings in the dockets. Bloomberg has lots of documents for federal cases (harvested from PACER), but few for state cases. Even the dockets for state cases are often skimpy, not even listing the parties' attorneys.

Sample searches in federal dockets:

  • malpractice w/10 lawyer or attorney or legal
  • patent w/10 iphone
  • parties(amazon!) and tax!