Oxford Dictionary defines a directory as:- “A book or website listing individuals or organizations alphabetically or thematically with details such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers.”
Thus, purpose on any directory is to provide its readers a list of service providers, establishments or any other entity whom the reader can contact for any of his/her particular need, along with the manner in which such service providers can be contacted.
Origin of Lawyer Directories
The concept of a lawyer directory has been around for a while and has taken many forms over the years. In 19th or even 20th Century, a directory of lawyers available in market, would mostly be a compilation of advertisements by various lawyers and would resemble a yellow page advertisement booklet. Representative bodies of lawyers or Bar Associations also used to maintain and still do maintain directory of its member lawyers. But access to such directories was limited to the public. As the justice system developed, so did the needs of people accessing justice. A basic directory of lawyers became as relevant as a telephone directory. Various regional directories of lawyers were developed to cater to lawyers and litigants in various territories of the country. Need of a national directory of lawyers was also felt by the legal community when global and cross country expansion of legal profession began. Then a time came when clients of directory lawyers were not limited to a certain county or district. Directory lawyers were catering to clients throughout the country and even abroad. When the directory lawyers became global so did the lawyer directory.
In today’s technologically advanced and globally connected world, a directory of lawyers which merely provides the list and contact details of lawyers has lost its relevance because people are not looking just for any lawyer, they are looking for a lawyer who they are sure would suit their needs. Advertisements by lawyers and yellow pages may also provide certain information but people are not too confident in believing what is being advertised.
Today’s demand is for a third party which can provide reliable information and recommend lawyers which suit a litigant’s specific needs like affordability, experience of lawyer, expertise etc. A modern lawyer directory provides reviews, recommendations, insights about lawyers listed in the directory in addition to a database of lawyers and their contact details. Trustworthiness is a benchmark against which a modern lawyer directory’s success has to be measured and is reflection of quality and integrity of services being provided.
It is clear that lawyer directories have taken a new form which is very different from traditional yellow pages. It has become more of an advisor advising and assisting the litigants and other clients on which lawyer is the best fit for them. The present form of a directory is very close to that of an online market place which is national and in some cases global. There are a number of National directory of lawyers along with a few International ones.
Law firms are as sought after as individual practitioners and handle a large spectrum of clients. Profiling of law firms and advising the general public about their performance is also a function performed by lawyer directories. You as a customer can choose from a large array of professionals and firms while looking out for best representation in the legal market. You can even view past performance and reviews of your current attorney and get an unbiased and informed opinion based on numerous insights. A national directory of lawyers could even provide you help in arranging a qualified lawyer in places far away from your own home and help you chose like an expert.