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November 14, 1997

Finding a lawyer, especially in J.D.-clogged D.C., is about as confusing as locating a mechanic, with an even worse potential downside: Bad legal advice could land you in the Big House. State bar association referral services can help a great deal, but they won't give much information beyond a lawyer's phone number and area of expertise. Fortunately, the West Group, the Microsoft of legal publishing, has made its printed guide, West's Legal Directory, freely available online <>. You can search for lawyers and firms by name, city, state and area of practice; the results contain varying amounts of information, depending on how much the individual or firm provided to West. But if nothing else, you'll get the year they passed the bar and in what state, worthwhile data by itself. More complete listings include such tidbits as a lawyer's education, experience and even birth date. I've also found that this offers a strange fringe benefit: Thanks to the alarming number of recent law-school graduates, this site is a good way to look up old college buddies.

-- Rob Pegoraro <>

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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