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According to the American Bar Association, there are 1.3 million lawyers, with nearly half of all law school graduates going on to join a law firm. With so many lawyers – and so many law firms, it is important that a law firm have a name that people remember. Below are some tips and approaches on how to name a law firm in a way that is memorable and draws in clients.
The process of naming and branding a law firm can be daunting, which is why it may be helpful to reach out to an experienced law firm marketing agency for support. At Law Quill, our expertise is legal marketing. Consider reaching out to us for a quick phone or zoom call by scheduling an appointment on our calendar today or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basic Requirements When Naming a Law Firm
There are certain rules law firms are expected to follow when naming their law firm. The American Bar Association initially outlined these rules, which exist today in many state implementations of law firm naming conventions. Basic requirements on how to name a law firm include:
- It must be clear that the law firm is not part of a government agency or charitable legal services organization.
- If the law firm has an office in another jurisdiction, make sure to specify which lawyers can practice in which jurisdictions.
- Avoid using a law firm name that includes the name of a lawyer in public office.
- A law firm name should not imply partnerships if they are not a fact.
Essentially, the basic rule of thumb is that the name of a law firm should never be misleading.
Setting Your Law Firm Up For Success
The number of lawyers – and by extension – law firms is growing exponentially. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% growth rate for lawyers between 2021-2031. This is significantly higher than the national average of 5%. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to set your law firm up for success and part of that process is knowing how to name a law firm.
There are three components to keep in mind when naming a law firm: reputation, success, and trustworthiness. Here are some tips for naming a law firm that connotes these three traits.
- To indicate a good reputation, consider using terms such as “tradition” or “gold standard”. If one of the partners is well-established, it may be beneficial to prominently place their name in the law firm’s name.
- To indicate success, opt for terms that imply a potential client has the best possible chance of being successful in their case. Here, words such as “thrive” or “victory” may be helpful.
- With regards to trustworthiness, some tactics can be including the partners’ names in the law firm’s name or including an “LTD” to indicate heritage.
While reputation, success, and trustworthiness are good places to start, when it comes to naming a law firm there are numerous best practices it can be helpful to follow to set your law firm up for success. Some best practices when it comes to knowing how to name a law firm include:
- Specify in the name that it is a law firm to avoid confusion.
- Ensure that the name is easy to remember.
- Make sure the name is easy to spell – the last thing you want is for clients to not be able to look up the law firm because of spelling complications.
- Decide on a name that would be easy to incorporate into a logo.
- Create a law firm name that is open to growth. As the law firm grows, it may acquire more partners and the name may need to be changed to reflect that.
It may be helpful to reach out to an experienced legal marketing agency such as Law Quill for guidance on best practices with regard to how to name a law firm.
Using Your Own Name for a Law Firm
A common question for many lawyers concerning how to name a law firm is whether to name the law firm after themselves or whether to opt for a brand name. There are positives and negatives to both tactics. Some of the positives to using your own name can include:
- It can help to imply reputation and a sense of trustworthiness, especially if one of the partners is already established. Some of the most prominent law firms have people’s personal names, such as Sidley Austin and Latham & Watkins.
- It improves the likelihood of the law firm’s name being compliant with law firm naming requirements across states.
- Naming a law firm after the partners provides a human element and face to the law firm, making potential clients feel more comfortable and confident.
- Naming a law firm after the partners at the firm is also a fairly straightforward process.
Some of the negatives of using your own name for a law firm can include:
- Naming a law firm after yourself can mean foregoing a distinct message in the name – especially if you are just starting out. Unless the partners are already established in their own right, there are no words or connotations to inspire confidence in potential clients.
- The names of the partners in the law firm may not easily fit onto logos, especially if the names are long or complicated. This can also complicate letterheads and signatures.
- If new partners join the firm or a partner leaves, the name will have to be changed. This could indicate a lack of stability to potential clients.
- If partner names are long or complicated, it may be difficult for clients to look up the law firm by name.
Using a Brand Name for a Law Firm
Deciding to use a brand name also has its positives and negatives. Some of the positives of opting for a brand name include:
- It allows you to easily convey a clear message to potential clients through words like “victory” or “triumph” and can also make it easier to create a logo. It can also convey the kind of law the law firm practices.
- A brand name can be more easily scalable than a law firm based on partner’s names. No matter how many partners join or leave the firm, there is no need to change the name.
- A brand name can also indicate stability because the name is unlikely to change – a law firm that has had the same name for ten years connotes more reliability than a law firm that has had to change its name due to changes in the firm.
- It can be easier to sell a law firm that is not intertwined with a specific person’s identity, as is the case when the law firm is named after partners.
- A brand name can be more search-engine optimized (SEO) friendly if it indicates what the law firm does. If someone enters a search for family law and your firm has the words “family law” in it, it might rank higher in the search results than if the law firm is just the partners’ names.
- A brand name can sometimes be easier to remember than people’s names, especially if the names are long or hard to spell.
- A brand name can seem less traditional, which can place the law firm at an advantage, suggesting that they are modern and progressive.
There are also negatives to opting for a brand name. In some cases, jurisdictions will not allow brand names. It is also essential to consider what will resonate with potential clients – in some cases, your targeted clients may feel more comfortable with a law firm with a more traditional name – that is to say, a law firm named after the partners. Part of knowing how to name a law firm is determining what makes sense for your law firm – one size does not fit all.
What Is Trending Now In Law Firm Names?
The legal industry is constantly evolving, and as a result, law firm names have also been evolving to reflect the changing landscape. Here are some of the current trends in law firm names:
- Personalized names: Many law firms are opting for names that include the name of the founder or a prominent partner. This can help create a more personal connection with clients and can also help establish a sense of credibility and authority.
- Non-traditional names: Some law firms are moving away from the traditional naming conventions and opting for more creative and unique names. These can range from acronyms to combining words to create a brand new name.
- Descriptive names: Law firms are increasingly using descriptive names that give potential clients an idea of the firm’s practice areas and specialties. For example, a firm specializing in intellectual property law might use a name that includes the words “patent” or “trademark.”
- Location-based names: Some law firms are incorporating the city or region they operate in into their name to establish a stronger local identity and to make it easier for clients to find them in search results.
- Shortened names: Shortened names or abbreviations are becoming increasingly popular, as they can be easier to remember and can create a more modern and streamlined image for the firm.
Overall, law firms are focusing on creating names that are memorable, reflective of their expertise and values, and easy for clients to remember and find online.
How Law Quill Can Help
When it comes to the nuances of how to name a law firm, an important rule of thumb is to not conduct the process alone. Law Quill is an experienced legal marketing agency, and we can help provide guidance on brand voice and key audience – two key components of selecting a law firm name.
At Law Quill, we work closely with our clients to provide them with the marketing guidance they need. We recognize that each law firm has unique marketing needs and we emphasize providing each client with a customizable strategy. Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a phone or zoom call on our calendar today at your convenience or email us at email@example.com.