We investigated the role of the evolutionarily conserved protein Lis1 in cell division processes of Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. We identified apparent null alleles of lis-1, which result in defects identical to those observed after inactivation of the dynein heavy chain dhc-1, including defects in centrosome separation and spindle assembly. We raised antibodies against LIS-1 and generated transgenic animals expressing functional GFP-LIS-1. Using indirect immunofluorescence and spinning-disk confocal microscopy, we found that LIS-1 is present throughout the cytoplasm and is enriched in discrete subcellular locations, including the cell cortex, the vicinity of microtubule asters, the nuclear periphery and kinetochores. We established that lis-1 contributes to, but is not essential for, DHC-1 enrichment at specific subcellular locations. Conversely, we found that dhc-1, as well as the dynactin components dnc-1 (p150Glued) and dnc-2 (p50/dynamitin), are essential for LIS-1 targeting to the nuclear periphery, but not to the cell cortex nor to kinetochores. These results suggest that dynein and Lis1, albeit functioning in identical processes, are targeted partially independently of one another.