Lawyers join local bar associations because they find value in being a member for purposes of prestige and in order to make relations with other attorneys in hopes of referrals.
No online legal directory has been able to crack this nut just yet. The one online legal directory that is able to build a community of attorneys that attorneys are proud to say they are a part of, will be a billion dollar company. Upcounsel is probably one of the closest to solving this problem. In the current mindset, lawyers dont find that being a member of an online directory is a symbol of prestige.
Teaching CLEs is a great way for attorneys to make a name for themselves in a given legal field. They garner the respect of their peers and also maybe a few referrals.
Another opportunity is to teach a class online for the general public on given areas of law such as Family law or Estates law to gain exposure. By establishing yourself as a resource, when people are in need of an attorney, they will be more likely to contact you than an attorney they dont know or have never heard speak.
Become a member of the Chamber of Commerce, join committees, be an active participant in local affairs. As a lawyer, you should take a stance on issues affecting your community and strive to make a difference. You should want people to take notice of your ability to do and to act on behalf of a certain person or cause. This a trait that many prospective clients look for in a lawyer. They want someone that is trusted and respected by the people surrounding them.
Lawyers are keen on spending money in order to sponsor events and have their law firm name front and center. While sponsoring events does give you exposure, the tactic is not as effective as the others listed above.