How to choose the right name for your law firm • LegalScoops
If you’re a law school graduate ready to start your law practice, or you’re a lawyer already in need of a rebranding, follow these tips for choosing the right name.
The name given to a new law firm is integral to its future success. However, old practices use name changes to rename their image or after partner changes. These guidelines will help you choose a marketable and compliant name.
Know the rules
In the legal industry, just like in other industries, there are specific rules and regulations that you must follow when appointing a law firm – usually set by the American Bar Association (ABA) and each state. Here are the no-no’s you need to know:
- No one who is not a lawyer can become a partner in a law firm.
- Names should not mislead or imply that they are managed by or have any connection with state, government or other public or charitable organizations.
- You cannot use the name of a lawyer who is currently practicing law or holding a position in public office.
- Avoid using the name of another lawyer if you share office space but are not true partners. This is considered a bogus partnership claim.
- In some states, you must use the names of partners associated with your law firm, while others now also allow law firms to register business names.
- Finally, research the community in which you plan to practice and avoid using names that could negatively impact associations.
Attract attention with the correct name
The name you choose should capture the essence of your law firm, allowing people to connect with it. Here are some common sense tactics to implement:
1. Family law practices
If there is more than one family member (spouse, sibling, child) in your law firm, you may consider doubling your last name. It’s not an uncommon way to name a family law firm, and it stands out.
2. Last names of partners
There are several ways to use partner last names when appointing a law firm:
- Depending on the number of partners, you may want to use all last names or one last name followed by the word Associates. It’s convenient to use all last names if there are up to four, but something longer can be too complicated.
- Common surnames often do not stand out but are easy to remember. Use catchy or memorable last names in the first two places, followed by the easiest. If you decide to use a single name followed by the word “associates,” choose a name that is not too difficult to remember or pronounce.
- Your acronym can be embarrassing, so check it before confirming the name of your law firm.
3. Including areas of practice
In states where you can use a business name, you may want to consider incorporating your area of practice into your business name, for example, Smith and Jones Family Law. Careful consideration is desirable here, as you may want to expand the services you offer a few years down the road, and your business name will not reflect these changes.
4. Size considerations
The words “partner”, “group” and “firm” are often used in the names of law firms, but can be misleading if you are a one-partner law firm. Clients don’t always want to go to large law firms, and others prefer them, so make sure your name reflects who you are, helping to attract the right types of clients.
5. Be clear
Whatever names you choose, be aware that words like “company” and “group” should be added to make it clear that your services are legal. If you don’t use industry-related terms like Legal Group, Law Firm, or Litigation, clients may think of you as a real estate or finance company.
Before registering the name of your law firm, you should check whether you can legally register the name you want. Each state has different restrictions, but in most you cannot register the name if it is already taken.
Look for an available domain name for your business website that is representative of your name. This makes it easier for customers to find you and is valuable for your SEO efforts. Finally, do a brand check before tagging your name. Trademarks are useful for future growth.
Choosing the right name for your law firm is the first step in building its reputation. Once you’ve named it, you’ll want to use it to market it properly, setting it apart from the competition.
Last names or surnames of partners. Neither is rare. Eye-catching surnames. Be sure to be brief and order the names carefully.
Ethics rules require law firms to use the names of partners.
Law firms are usually a partnership
Legal Scoops editor-in-chief Jacob Maslow founded several online newspapers, including Daily Forex Report and Conservative Free Press.