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There are two parts to this:

  • How can I ensure that an attorney is actually legally allowed to act as counsel in a given case? Do I have to need to contact the state bar directly, or are there official listings somewhere?
  • How can I / is there a way to look up all the cases that attorney has worked on, and how they have performed in those cases?
  • You mean an attorney located in the US, and not a US Attorney (i.e. a lawyer appointed by the President to represent the US government in court), correct? – cpast Jun 26 '15 at 22:44
  • @cpast Correct. – Parthian Shot Jun 26 '15 at 22:45
  • @cpast Title edited to reflect that. :) – Parthian Shot Jun 26 '15 at 22:46
  • Also, any particular state you're wondering about? (it'd help in tracking down the right URL) – cpast Jun 26 '15 at 23:05
  • A very small point related to an example given. in order for someone to help another in dealing with the patent side of the USPTO they need to be a registered practitioner with the USPTO. look them up at uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/… As it happens being a state-licensed attorney is neither necessary or sufficient. In contrast, any state-licensed attorney, technically, can work on a patent case in the courts. – George White Jul 23 at 0:03
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To determine whether an attorney is licensed to practice in a specific jurisdiction, you need to look up that attorney in the bar that applies to that jurisdiction.

Some attorneys do not allow their information to be posted on the online lookup, in that case you would have to call the bar to confirm that s/he is licensed.

I assumed you meant more than "case" in the legal sense above. For instance, if you want a Patent, you would need someone licensed to the Pat Bar.

Cases they have worked on:

You can use Google Scholar and select Case Law / the Jurisdiction you are concerned with and search for their name exactly (I would also limit the time frame.) The attorneys for each side are listed at the top. Some of the large cases have multiple pages of attorneys with their name on the case.

Alternatively, if you have a subscription service to WestLaw Next, Bloomberg Law, or LexisNexis you can lookup the attorney and see case information as well, as well as court documents they have submitted in various cases - this allows you to get a glimpse of their writing style. Alternatively, you can visit your local law school's law library and, if they have public access, use the public terminals (at least my law school has these.).

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    It's not possible to opt out of online listings in many jurisdictions. License status information from the state bar will be current. However, the contact information is commonly out of date. At any rate, the basic answer to this questions is "check with the state bar association" — either their website, or by phone. – daffy Jul 23 '15 at 15:17
  • Is there a check for admission to the US Supreme Court, which has a separate bar admission from state court? – WBT Sep 9 '15 at 23:19
  • It is another bar. Supreme Court Bar Association – Andrew Sep 9 '15 at 23:22
  • What's the URL for that lookup? – WBT Sep 11 '15 at 14:45
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As far as I know, most states have a Web search for licensed attorneys in the state. The search is there mostly to look up the license status of an individual (what you're asking about) and not to find a lawyer, but it does do what you're asking about. In some states, you may have to contact the bar association directly.

As for wins and losses, there isn't a centralized sorted-by-lawyer database of them, particularly because the majority of cases never make it to trial (they're settled out of court for civil cases, or plea-bargained for criminal cases). Also, if you're wondering what they've worked on, you should know that some cases have large legal teams involved, and so they may have worked on a case by doing document review (which is probably not what you're interested in).

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