The battle between Justia and FindLaw rages every year, but appears to be done as of 2023. Back in 2021, FindLaw was the successor, with roughly 29.63% of the first position searches we conducted in June of 2021. This seems like an extremely high number, and represents nearly a third of all major keywords. Back in 2019, Justia would be seen 37.04% of the time in the top spot. In 2018, it’s hard to believe even Avvo had 25% of 1st position search results. Beyond these, the landscape of lawyer directories is vast, offering a variety of platforms that cater to different facets of the legal industry, each playing a crucial role in law firm marketing and online visibility.

Every year, I use the same 56 keywords + searches to conduct these results, combining different city names with different practice area searches: “Savannah Car Accident lawyer”, “Kansas City Divorce Lawyer”, etc.

In 2023?  Justia had a bewildering 56.67% of all first ranking positions. That dropped down to 38.89% as of writing this, which is a 31.38% decrease, but it is still formidable for most practice areas, especially Family/Divorce related.  And the second position for Justia positions increased by 100.08% since last year.  So there’s still that. Each legal directory, including Justia, serves as a bridge connecting law firms with potential clients, emphasizing the importance of these platforms in the legal industry.

With this data, I could spend hours elucidating different takes, especially with the number of permutations involving geographies plus practice areas.  But I believe the following observations are what make this analysis worthwhile.  So let’s get right into it:

  • Justia is still a viable directory.  Not only for their placement (which is oftentimes top 3) but also the authority they must command to warrant this placement.  If they’re getting these results, that means the backlinks you’d get from Justia would assist in your own results.
  • If you’re still on LawInfo, or Expertise for the directory positioning and not the backlinks, you’re probably wasting your time and money.
  • FindLaw’s directory lost even more ground over the past year.  Any positions they had in 2023 for 1st, 3rd, and 4th positions dropped 100%, 100%, and 67% respectively.
  • This is the first year we saw state/city bar associations make their way into the results.
  • SuperLawyers threw their hat in (once again) by wedging in a couple 1st position results, while finding a lot more traction for positions 2-5, which is respectable and worth looking into.

One of the biggest developments over the past year is that Reddit and Quora results were apparent in a handful of searches.  Even if they never broke the top 3, there were plenty at the 4th position, which indicates that Google is still continuing to diversify the types of results a searcher will find themselves with.  It is especially interesting that Reddit and Quora had a presence for short-tailed searches (high intent), when these platforms exist to answer questions (intuitively present themselves for long-tailed searches).  Be preparedto see more of these results moving forward.

Lastly, the map pack with Google Business Profiles was present in nearly all of these searches.  Most times they were above organic results, and were above LSAs and PPC in some cases as well.  Local will continue to be dominant in this respect.

If you’re interested in the history of how legal directories evolved, the rest of this content is an analysis over the years (2023 and preceding years).

You can reference the following study using the link below (though it may be somewhat dated):

It also looks like Expertise dropped like a rock, which would be the same fate as Thumbtack as a general directory a few years ago.

This is a testament to two things. First,  how one particular website will never consistently dominate results because of the periodic, major Google changes that will continuously dethrone websites that were deemed otherwise immovable. It also shows that the end goal of those managing the SEO of these directories have the coveted number 1 spot in their scopes – anything below 3 to them may as well not even exist, and that’s the mentality we should have with our own websites –– If you’re not first, you’re last.

SuperLawyers is doing pretty well too, but it is clear that there’s only one that truly stands out.  And this will be dissected for a follow up slew of SEO takeaways.

The rest of the content in this article outlines some of the trends that remain true throughout the past few years, along with the trajectory of the some of the main legal directories that have been through ups and downs for years.

Keep in mind that while a directory may be a good part of the marketing mix for geo-specific vanity keywords, there is a continuous distancing going on from geo-modified search terms as consumers get more accustomed to customized searches based on location and using long-tailed searches and voice search. We’d expect the overall search volume of directories to continuously dwindle slowly, but they seem to be doing just fine, with this Houston FindLaw subdirectory seeing the benefits correlative to its enhanced positioning:

Many consumers are always going to gravitate to directories where they can see numerous options complimentarily laid out for them.

Just like when Justia saw a boost in rankings the past couple years after a slew of backlinks were directed at the website, we see the exact same situation for FindLaw:

It is somewhat alarming to see the number of referring domains take a large hit. This is normally indicative of an eventual reversal of the ground the website has gained in the recent months, though the graph makes it seem more alarming than it is (the range is only between 116k and 124k, a variation of about 5%, where the variation in total links is much more significant, nearly double).

We’ve seen FindLaw’s directories remain on top for the past year because of their consistency with building links, even though they had already accomplished high rankings.

Even while FindLaw has had objective success as a whole due to striving for higher levels of authority, they don’t always dominate every market, and certainly not every single practice area. For example, websites are normally the powerhouse in the Personal Injury space because of how valuable cases are and how much more expensive directories tend to be for PI and numerous granular practice areas, such as motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, wrongful death, premises liability, and others. FindLaw lags behind on Bankruptcy, where Expertise and a new directory, “Upsolve” (which still rarely competes in the top 5), still compete specifically in that practice area space. SuperLawyers has made more of an effort on the Family law space along with Justia, and websites like Expertise and Avvo will still carve out parts of the first page in less competitive practice areas.

Many of the factors in the following article still carry over a year later:

Anyone Up and Coming?

If you’re in a directory that doesn’t have a single position anywhere on the chart, it is likely a waste of your money. There are well over 100 legal directories, with less than 10 that normally have any positioning. Even so, focusing on the best law firm directories can significantly enhance your law firm’s online presence and credibility. These top-performing directories are crucial for law firms aiming to maximize their visibility and SEO benefits. Attorney directories are not just listings; they are powerful tools for marketing, helping clients find lawyers, and establishing credibility within the legal community. They offer valuable opportunities for lead generation, search engine optimization (SEO), and providing social proof of the expertise of legal professionals. Here are a few that may potentially be worth your attention if the cost is reasonable, and you could use the additional links for your own SEO:

  • ConsumerAffairs
  • Upsolve
  • BestLawyer
  • Thumbtack
  • Attorney Law Magazine

Martindale’s directory and receive an honorable mention for garnering a 9th position for one search. I didn’t expect to see them pop up at all.

Disclaimer for Best Law Firm Directories You’re Still a Part of

If you’ve been on Avvo for years now, here’s a heads up that they’ve not likely ranked top 3 for any short-tailed keywords for a couple years now. It would be important to vet any marketing dollars you spend with them since there is strong documentation to suggest they haven’t been relevant since roughly 2018. In light of Avvo’s decline, exploring free lawyer directories offers a cost-effective alternative for law firms aiming to maintain their visibility and marketing reach. These platforms, including Avvo and Justia, allow for free lawyer directory listings, providing a valuable opportunity for legal professionals to showcase their expertise, connect with potential clients, and enhance their online presence without significant investment. Claiming and updating listings on popular directories like NOLO, Super Lawyers, as well as local and state bar listing websites, can significantly boost a law firm’s accessibility to potential clients, making it an essential strategy for those looking to optimize their marketing spend.

What Does it All Mean for the Legal Industry?

Traditionally, Justia has had a strong directory; but recently, they have swapped many 1st positions with 2nd positions as FindLaw has nudged them out of the way for nearly a year. I’d expect them to make a push for their link building again by the end of the year, particularly focusing on enhancing their law firm’s SEO credibility through strategic legal directory listings. This effort not only contributes to a law firm’s SEO by boosting its visibility in search results but also validates its online reputation through backlinks from trusted legal directories, thereby increasing its SEO credibility.

It’s still bizarre to me to see FindLaw start 2020 with less than 5% of the 1st positions we monitor, and to now jump to as high as almost 30%. Of course, it is the link building, as we’ve established, but what kind of link building enables a website to have such a tremendous boost in authority without a correlative amount of referring domains to back it up? Typically, that’d suggest that they acquired many more links from the same places they had received them before. In addition, there has been more of an effort to acquire links on the page-level, meaning the specific pages that rank for quality keywords–– a very effective yet tedious approach to link building. This approach is particularly effective in enhancing a law firm website’s SEO, as maintaining up-to-date legal directory listings can significantly improve a law firm’s visibility online, allowing potential clients to find the firm more easily.

If you were to look at links specifically on the page level for, let’s say,, you’d see links from,,, and all sorts of bizarre semi-spam links I’ve been seeing in link portfolios for the past 5 years. You’d think that massive directories would be above these types of links or would stay away from these links at all costs, but apparently it can work for just about anyone. Take a look here:

Goes to show Google’s algorithm is still ages away from discriminating poor links:

SuperLawyers, owned by FindLaw, would likely engage in a similar link building strategy and therefore more or less maintain similar rankings to FindLaw, emphasizing the importance of legal directory listings in boosting a law firm’s SEO credibility and visibility in search results.

Accomplish a Complete Marketing Mix for Your Law Firm’s Website

In conclusion, law firm directories are a crucial part of many successful marketing mixes for law firms, emphasizing the importance of selecting the best lawyer directories and law firm directory platforms to enhance their marketing strategy. Before committing to one, law firms should confirm which law firm directories appear in their market. Additionally, it’s vital to avoid being locked into a contract for too long due to the inevitable fluctuations in the digital landscape. If you’re considering signing up for a directory as part of a larger marketing plan to direct potential clients from these directories to your law firm’s website and highlight the legal services offered, we can guide you through the process and ensure all important information is up to date. Click here for a free consultation.

The ongoing digital revolution is transforming the way that all businesses, including law firms, interact with clients and customers. Consumers rely heavily on digital channels for researching products and services, including legal services, and expect to make buying choices with the swipe of a finger. For organizations that want to remain competitive, having a defined digital marketing strategy that includes a presence in the best lawyer directories for maximizing visibility of their legal services is essential for successful outcomes. With a demonstrated history of creating and implementing strategic digital marketing initiatives that drive growth, I am committed to delivering real, measurable results for my clients.