What’s in a Name? Have You Considered Your Law Firm’s Name?
Whether you’re considering starting a law firm of your own, renaming an existing law firm, or simply considering possible law firm names for sometime in the future, choosing a law firm name can be challenging to say the least. Beyond simply the “permanent” implications that such a decision can hold for many years (even decades or generations) to come, your law firm’s name will serve as the way by which your community knows you, refers to you, and perhaps even chooses you for representation.
Bearing this in mind, what factors should be considered when choosing a law firm name?
Countless partners have toiled with this very question for years over. And, at such an exciting, fresh time in your firm’s history, it’s a question that should be considered with the utmost care.
To help answer this question, we offer an easy-to-use guideline of things to consider, things to absolutely avoid, and things to aim for as you decide on your firm’s future title.
What’s in a Name?
Just how important is a law firm’s name, exactly?
With more and more turning to search engines over word-of-mouth and checking out social media pages before the Yellow Pages, it’s easy to see just how important a law firm’s image can be for drumming up new clientele and offering a steady hand for existing clients. But, where does your law firm’s name come into play?
As more people seek out legal information and resources via digital platforms, having an accurate, distinguishable, and memorable name for your law firm is as important as ever – if not more so. Similarly, showing off your law firm’s name and reputation over social media with a classic acronym or great slogan can set you apart from your competition quickly. But, it all begins with a name.
While you ponder the positives, pitfalls, and potentials of your law firm’s name, keep the following 10 tips under consideration. Here’s to hoping they make your naming decision easier!
10 Things to Consider When Naming Your Law Firm
1. Keep Your Audience in Mind
Ultimately, shouldn’t this always be the goal of any good business model? Considering what demographics your audience falls into and thinking about how exactly to appeal to those folks can either make or break the success of any business – and the same goes for law firms.
Depending on your community, your practice area(s), and your target clientele, try to choose a law firm name that gives a nod toward these factors. A law firm that primarily services corporations, for example, may have a distinct name from that of a criminal law firm that services mostly individuals – and for obvious reasons.
Remember to always keep a level head, and name, toward your intended clientele.
2. Take Other Firm Names in Your Community into Account
Whether you’re considering other names to not use or simply just eyeing what other successful (or unsuccessful, for that matter) law firms in your area have named themselves, be sure to consider these names when choosing your own.
No, you certainly don’t want to copy any other firm’s name, but you also don’t want to be so distinct that your core clientele demographic mistakes your firm’s practice areas simply due to a confusing name. Furthermore, remember that firms around your area will likely be your competitors at some point. For this reason, try to take into account their names so that you can distinguish your firm enough among clients but never too much so that your services are completely overlooked.
3. Consider Your Practice Areas
When trying to decide on the perfect name for your firm, it’s important to consider the key practice areas in which your firm will be working. Perhaps you don’t want to include these practice areas within your firm’s name. But, much like when considering your audience (that is, your main clientele), look into how your community seeks out legal services and tailor your name to those methods. Also, consider checking out how other law firms in your area have handled their names in relation to their practice areas, and consider the benefits of following suit.
4. Remember: A Name Should be Easy to Find
Above all, any given name that you consider should be distinct enough to distinguish you from your competition but never too distinct that it’s near-impossible to find.
Ideally, your firm name should strike the perfect balance between being distinguishable but also easily memorable for clients, potential clients, and professional peers to remember upon referral. Consider this simple test: If it’s too difficult to accurately type into a Google search bar, then reconsider it. After all, this is the name by which the rest of the world will refer to you and your work.
5. Avoid Names That Resemble Other Law Firms’ Too Closely
Part of being easy to find online and recognizable by recommendation is choosing a simple, easy-to-understand name that shows your law firm’s best attributes. Whether it be a list of founding partners’ names, a catchy name that showcases the community for which you work, or simply a name that expresses your core practice areas, deciding on the perfect name for your firm could be considered a fine art.
One thing that should absolutely be avoided, whenever possible, is choosing a name that too closely resembles that of another firm’s. Whether it be a renowned firm that you could be mistaken for, a firm with similar partnership last names many states away, or a law firm in your own community that works in your same practice area and has a similar word structure, choosing a name for your firm that’s too similar to another’s is just confusing for potential clients and a potential search engine optimization (SEO) nightmare. Believe it or not, it could have very negative consequences for your reputation among clients and other professionals. Avoid this, if possible, and choose a different name and word structure for your law firm’s title.
6. Be as Clear as Possible
Depending on the route that you choose to take, always try to be as clear as possible when it comes to the wording of your name.
For instance, say you decide to name your law firm after its original founding partners. The partnership appointment should be clear in the name. Therefore, naming your firm after two partners and an associate, for example, should be considered faux pas under this logic.
Say, on the other hand, you decide to name your law firm after your town or practice area(s) – each of these name elements should be clear, truthful, and to-the-point.
7. Keep It Short and Sweet
Again, the intention should be to keep your law firm’s name as straightforward and easy-to-remember as possible. Of course, you also want to balance this principle with the parallel notion that your name should be memorable. Cue the dilemma that anyone choosing a law firm name likely faces at some point.
Generally speaking, however, avoid firm names that include too many complicated last names or a confusing jumble of legal jargon that holds no concrete meaning for your client base. This may be best, especially since this might adversely affect your firm as you seek to build clientele in the future. Try to strike the perfect balance between distinct yet easy.
8. Be Careful with Possible Implications That Could Result
Not only should your firm name be accurate and easy to locate online, but it should also provide honest information to clients with no intentions to deceive. Oftentimes, there are ethics opinions for each state that must be followed by firms when adopting their names.
Ethics rules often include variations of the following questions, in addition to many others: Listing non-attorneys or associates in names, handling deceased partners’ last names in firm names, handling trademark questions, addressing judges’ or public officials’ names contained in a firm name, and more.
Here’s the bottomline: Be careful to provide only accurate and straightforward information in your firm’s name to avoid any question of intentional deceit toward your clients.
9. Consider the Acronym Your Name Will Create
One detail that might be easy to overlook is the acronym that is created based on the name you decide. As we all know, many businesses and law firms are commonly referred to in short-handed, easy-to-write acronyms, particularly as they grow and become more recognizable. Though it may not seem like a particularly important detail while choosing the right name for your law firm now, it may indeed become an important detail later on.
Obviously, be sure to avoid names with acronyms that spell or sound like curse words, derogatory words, or otherwise negative things that may turn new clients off toward your legal representation. Furthermore, remember that your firm’s social media presence will also contain your name (and, most likely, its acronym), so be sure to choose wisely.
10. Avoid Being Overly Simplistic or “Cutesy”
Not only should care be taken when choosing the right wording for your law firm name based on legal and trademark implications, but, on a related note, try to avoid names that sound oversimplified or are otherwise trying to sound too simple or “cute.” When potential clients seek out legal services, they’re looking to receive professional, trustworthy advice from legal advocates. Part of seeking out these services includes soliciting law firms that, themselves, have an air of professionalism and know-how. No client wants to be represented by a firm that seems incompetent.
That’s how the right name can impact everything.
Have You Considered Your Law Firm’s Name?
Choosing your law firm’s name can be incredibly crucial to your firm’s overall success. But, of course, with so many factors to consider, it’s easy to see how some partners and lawyers can make critical mistakes throughout the process.
If you’re struggling to decide on your new firm’s name, if you’re considering giving your firm’s name a facelift to attract more clients, or if you’re simply in the very early stages of contemplating possible names to consider calling your future firm one day, we can be of assistance.
Here at Black Fin, we work with law firms of all different shapes, sizes, and practice areas to help market legal services and expand digital profiles. We can assist you with boosting your firm’s search engine optimization, social media presence, content creation, and even with your web design and development.
We can also take a comprehensive look at your existing law firm name (or possible names that you may be considering) and advise you on how they’ll stack up on the SEO and design fronts.
If you’re ready to take your SEO, website design, content, and social media to the next level – beginning with your firm’s name – contact us online today. We can’t wait to get started helping your firm immediately.