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Let’s Talk Names: Branding Your Law Firm

Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck & Hubbard- say that five times fast. Now, try and repeat it back to yourself. I don’t know about you, but I have enough trouble remembering the names of new people I meet, much less a law firm with four very uncommon, long last names. Since the 19th century, naming law firms after the partners has been the norm. That has only changed slightly in today’s day and age, making branding for your law firm a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Unless you are subject to state bar regulations requiring law firms to be named after their partners (Florida is not!), here’s why you should stay away from naming your firm solely after its partners:

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1. Several names in one brand are not going to be remembered by a person looking at it for the first time. As Fisher Marketing puts it, a good logo needs an equal distribution of visual weight, so the viewer’s eye knows where to go. If none of the names stand out, they are all forgotten and you blend into a sea of names. Not to mention, having several names makes it difficult to brand any merchandise you may want to market your firm with.

2. No one will ever remember all four partners’ names right off the bat (usually just the first one sticks). Depending on how the partnership is split, staying away from names all together is a good option. Partnerships typically evolve and names are added or removed over time. You’ll be continuously rebranding, which gets expensive, tricky (especially with domain availability), and confusing in the mind of the consumer.

3. A Forbes article suggests that people who have never met you, will make assumptions on anything they know/associate about/with your name. Names can attract or detract customers. Look at Ralph Lifshitz- he didn’t think his name had enough panache for business, so he changed his name to Ralph Lauren. Now, he’s #Winning.

4. 96% of people searching for a law firm use a search engine. Unless your name is Jennifer Lopez, how is anyone going to search you or anything remotely close to your name if it’s 12,375 letters long and they’ve only seen it once?

5. The name should be unique. The majority of law partners name their firms after their own names, and almost half of the smaller firms don’t even have a website. Out of all firms that do, 97% fail to deliver personalized content. Something doesn’t add up here.

6. According to an article in Entrepreneur, names that are difficult to spell or pronounce are harder to remember. If it is too obscure, people will view your brand as irrelevant.

7. Trade names are better for SEO/marketing purposes. This means your law firm will be more likely to come up in an online search (which is the number one way people search for attorneys and law firms).

8. According to the renowned law news site, Above The Law, naming the firm after its partners can also be interpreted as the usual “egotistical” name for a law firm.

Another common mistake is choosing the wrong name and refusing to change it. If it doesn’t work both short and long term, you will undo any brand equity you’ve built in people’s minds. Don’t be afraid to change it if in your gut, you know it’s not right.

Dare to be different and K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). Don’t make branding your law firm harder for yourself by just following what the “norm” has always been, especially when the norm was established 200 years ago. In the words of the great George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For a free brand evaluation, contact Amaniac Design.

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