As a lawyer, you may be wondering how to set yourself apart from the over 35,000 lawyers entered the workforce each year.  There are a number of groups that help lawyers stand out from the crowd, including Million Dollar Advocates and Lawyers of Distinction.  Below we’ve outlined the various benefits of these two organizations to help you decide whether membership in either is right for you.

Million Dollar Advocates

Million Dollar Advocates was established in 1993 and has over 5,000 members, representing fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers.  To become a member, you must complete a membership application, which requires that you meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a current member of the Bar in good standing;
  • Have acted as a principal counsel in one or more of the following and provide adequate information to identify the relevant proceeding:
    • A court or jury trial where applicant’s client received a final judgment valuing at least $1 million;
    • A binding arbitration proceeding with prevented evidence where applicant’s client received a final arbitration award of at least $1 million; or
    • Negotiation of a final settlement where applicant’s client received at least $1 million

The same organization also allows individuals to apply for the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates which requires that the above sums meet or exceed $2 million.

The application is accompanied by a required $1,500 application fee which, if accepted, will include certification, Life Membership, and the following benefits for members:

  • Ability to market themselves as members including via a membership certificate;
  • Access to an informal national network of trial counsel including via a LinkedIn member group; and
  • Listing in the member directory.

Lawyers of Distinction

Lawyers of Distinction includes members from all 50 states and specifically recognizes individuals in 20 different practice areas.

Unlike Million Dollar Advocates, Lawyers of Distinction has a selection process for inclusion of new members.  Attorneys can either be nominated or submit themselves for consideration.  The selection process includes a rating system as well as an ethics and background check.

If an individual chooses to accept their nomination, they will need to opt-in to one of three tiers of membership, each at a different price point and with different benefits:

  • Charter Membership: $475 annual fee and includes a plaque, use of logo and other marketing materials, SEO optimization from Lawyers of Distinction website, profile page in directory, inclusion in national press release, discounts at major organizations, access to a member’s Facebook group
  • Featured Membership: $575 annual fee and includes all of the above benefits plus inclusion in a membership roster published in major publications
  • Distinguished Membership: $775 annual fee and all of the above benefits plus a crystal statue

Which Should I Choose?

If you are looking for a way to advertise your legal skills and stand out from others in your practice area, you could consider joining either organization.  Factors to consider should include:

  • What area of law do you practice? Million Dollar Advocates is more tailored trial attorneys while Lawyers of Distinction recognizes lawyers across a variety of practice areas.
  • What is your budget? Million Dollar Advocates requires a larger up front cost, but it only needs to be paid one time.  While the initial cost of Lawyers of Distinction is lower, you will need to re-up annually.
  • What Will Impress Your Clients? Do some research to understand how both organizations are viewed by clients in your area and for your practice area.  You may find that one is more respected than the other.

When in doubt, consider talking to your peers who are involved in either group to understand how they feel about the benefits versus the costs.  No matter which route you choose, we wish you the best of luck in the marketing of your legal skills.