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Zimmerman's Research Guide


District of Columbia - Other Useful Information

Attorneys: You can find attorneys licensed to practice in D.C. using the D.C. Bar's Find a Member database. Disciplinary histories from 1979 are available in the Bar's Disciplinary Decisions. See also "Legal Ethics," below.

Business Entities:You can see if a corporation, partnership or other business entity is licensed to do business in D.C., and find the resident agent, using the Online Organization Registration search posted by the Corporations Division of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). For more sophisticated searching, use one of the commercial databases discussed in the "Secretary of State Records" entry. For questions about D.C. corporate records, review the materials on the Corporate Registration page or call the DCRA's Corporations Office at 202-442-4432.

Certified copies of documents filed with the Division of Corporations can be ordered (for a fee) and placed online by the Division. Go to the Business Filings Online Services page, and click on either "For-Profit Certified Copy Request Form Web" or "Non-Profit Certified Copy Request Form Web" in the right hand column under the heading, "None." Requests are processed in about a week; you can pay expedited service to get the document(s) in one or three days. If you don't know the name and date of document you need, you have to call the Division of Corporation at 202-442-4432.

You can check to see if an insurance, securities, or financial institution is licensed with the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking here.

Corporations: See the "Business Entities," above.

Doctors and other Health Professionals: You can find doctors licensed to practice in D.C. using the Search for a License database posted by the D.C. Department of Health's Health Professional Licensing Administration.

Legal Ethics: The D.C. Bar posts a Legal Ethics page that includes the D.C. Rules of Professional Responsibility, ethics opinions in full text starting in 1990 (Opinion 210) and related information. The Bar's Attorney Discipline page links to the relevant rules and procedures. For more information, see the D.C section of the Legal Ethics entry.

Older ethics opinions were published in a book called the D.C. Code of Professional Responsibility published by the D.C. Bar. If you don't have that handy, Opinions 4, 14 and 23 are hyperlinked from the DC Bar's Opinions page, and you can request other opinions by sending an email to legalethics@dcbar.org.

Legal Research Resources: For additional information about D.C. legal materials, see the Georgetown Law Library's District of Columbia In-Depth Research Guide, the Library' of Congress' District of Columbia page and/or The District of Columbia Practice Manual, Chapter 1, "Finding the Law."

The District of Columbia does not have its own legal encyclopedia. For a summary of D.C. laws, see the The District of Columbia Practice Manual.

The District of Columbia Code Encyclopedia was discontinued in 1980. The outdated editions are still useful for historical research.

For more information about the District's historical legal materials, see the March/April 1996 Law Library Lights article on "Legal Research in the District of Columbia" or consult Legal Research in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, 2nd ed. (W.S. Hein, 2000).

Libraries: D.C. has several good academic law libraries including the Georgetown Law Library, the Jacob Burns Law Library at George Washington University Law School, the Pence Law Library at American University's Washington College of Law. You can contact these libraries for questions, copies and inter-library loans.

You can find older D.C. primary legal materials at the DC Superior Court Library, the DC legislative office and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (the main branch of the D.C. Public Library), in the Washingtoninia Collection (202-727-1213). I don't think any of the libraries will make copies for you, though.

Liens: Federal and state tax liens are filed with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds. They can be searched using the Washington DC - Online Public Records , which is really the DC online land records (registration required and a small fee for document images).

News: Washington's legal newspaper was the Legal Times until May, 2009, when the paper was folded into the National Law Journal. General newspapers covering the District of Columbia include the Washington Post and the Washington Times. Business news is covered in the Washington Business Journal.

    Tip: The Washingtoniana Collection (202-727-1213) at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library has a deep collection of D.C. newspapers, magazines and other historical materials.

To find public notices (of court proceedings, foreclosures, unclaimed property, etc. -- a/k/a Legal Notices), try the current and archived public notice searches provided by the MDDC Press Association. Other sources include the Daily Washington Law Reporter, the Washington Post and the Washington Times.

Real Estate: See the "Real Estate" section of "District of Columbia - Executive Branch - Agencies, Offices and Services."

{Thanks to Stephan Shriver for tipping me off to the Washingtonia Collection at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.}

See Also
Bar Admission
District of Columbia - Executive Branch - Administrative Code and Regulations
District of Columbia - Executive Branch - Agencies, Offices and Services
District of Columbia - Judicial Branch
District of Columbia - Legislative Branch
Legal Ethics

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman