A friend of mine is a plaintiff’s lawyer in Boston. We’ve opposed each other on several cases, and our interactions (always on the phone; weirdly, we’ve never met in person) are characterized by good-natured but acerbic jabs. Typically, he would bemoan my clients’ “colossally stupid” behavior. For my part, I would make fun of his firm’s name.
Don’t get me wrong: his firm is one of the most respected plaintiff’s firms in town. But its name follows the classic ego-gratifying law-firm style of putting all the partners’ surnames on the letterhead. With Biglaw firms, this doesn’t matter much, because the name partners tend to be, well, not-so-much alive. And the sheer number of partners at big firms means that ego notwithstanding, most aren’t getting their names on the sign.
But small firms have (by definition) fewer partners — with just as much ego. And they tend to be living. So the firm names are long and subject to frequent change.
Why is this a problem for small firms, and what they should do about it?
But did you know that Paul Hastings also has a video to go along with their rebranding? Oh yes they do! Clearly, Messrs. Janofsky and Walker were just way too inside the box for the new and exciting Paul Hastings…
I'm pretty sure this was the only child to die under suspicious circumstances in the past three years.
* Caylee’s Law would make it a felony for anybody to grieve for their child in any way that doesn’t involve law enforcement within the hour. I trust the libertarian crowd is going to help me point out how this is dumb. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Big time antitrust lawyer Christine A. Varney is leaving the Justice Department and heading to Cravath (perhaps as a replacement of sorts for Katherine Forrest). So it looks like there was some money left over after spring bonuses for Cravath to make a new hire. Phew. [Dealbook]
* Even judges in Flori-duh are allegedly bats**t crazy. [Obscure Store]
* In more reasonable news coming out of Florida, this reminds me of the “mock trial” club in high school. [Miami New Times]
* Courtesy of NALP, here’s more evidence that the class of 2010 is totally screwed. You know, I wish I could have the entire class over to my house for a big pity party. We could all hang out and play Rock Band, and at the end everybody could have a cup of my delicious homemade Kool-Aid. [NALP]
* Chicago law firm merger mania? I just hope nothing messes with the name “Wildman Harrold.” [ABA Journal]
Before this column launched, I spent several moments stewing over possible pseudonyms. After all, branding is everything. So, I wanted to come up with a name that said to my audience that I was a small-firm expert and a super-cool chick. Naturally, I picked the name that is synonymous with post-menopausal Jewish bubbies. Perhaps I still have a thing or two to learn about branding.
I am not the only small-firm lawyer with a problem selecting the right name. Indeed, after Jay Shepherd opened my eyes to the hyphen-crisis, I began noticing a comma-crisis. Specifically, I noticed that there are a lot of small firms with way too many last names strung together with commas.
Why is it that many small firms have such problems coming up with the perfect firm name? Let’s explore this age-old question….
As we mentioned in our last story on the embattled Howrey law firm, the remaining partners will vote this week on whether to wind down the 55-year-old shop. According to Am Law Daily, that vote is set to take place on Wednesday.
For the past few weeks, Winston & Strawn has been waiting in the wings, hoping to help itself to Howrey’s healthiest parts. But as we’ve chronicled in these pages, many of the strongest partners and practice groups have already defected to other firms.
Let’s discuss the latest developments — and also learn the fate of current 3Ls holding offers from Howrey….
Lawyers have been all up in The Tonight Show’s grill this year, thanks to the Jay Leno – Conan O’Brien smackdown. But the lawyers were relegated to an off-screen role. Jay Leno never name-checked Gibson Dunn (that we know of) for repping NBC and helping to put him back on his throne.
Another Biglaw firm did get a shout-out from Leno on Monday night, though. During his headlines bit, Leno got laughs thanks to Morrison & Foerster.
The elevation of Kathleen Sullivan to name partner at Quinn Emanuel symbolized some serious change in the world of Biglaw. Diversity in the partnership ranks is growing. Sullivan is likely Biglaw’s first openly LGBT name partner, and she appears to be the first female to get her name on the door at an AmLaw 100 firm.
An ATL favorite, Quinn Emanuel, is making a change to its firm name. From the Quinn press release:
John B. Quinn announced today that the firm he and Eric Emanuel founded 25 years ago will change its name, and henceforth be known as Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. The decision to add Kathleen M. Sullivan as a name partner was made in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the firm and the profession. Sullivan is a partner in the firm’s New York City office and heads the firm’s national appellate practice.
Congratulations to former Stanford Law School dean Sullivan.
Of course, now that she’s a name partner, we are eagerly awaiting for the ATL community to honor Kathleen Sullivan with her own meme. John Quinn doesn’t use capital letters. Bill Urquhart … really likes capital letters. We can’t wait to see what Sullivan comes up with.
Read the full press release, plus an UPDATE with some observations from Lat, after the jump.
Yesterday we wrote about Gina Rubel’s suggestion in the Legal Intelligencer that law firms namechecking multiple founding partners drop a few for shorter, easier, and more memorable names. ATL readers who voted in our poll were split down the middle on whether bigger is better. Over 800 votes were cast: 52% said they like a short firm… name and 48% said they prefer it long.
A Davis Polk & Wardwell spokesperson ATL commenter pointed out that the firm recently trimmed its name (in connection with its hottie-friendly website revamp):
DavisPolk has just changed its name for marketing purposes and has dropped Wardwell out – mention of DPW should have been made in this article. I am disappointed.
In yesterday’s post, we took the shortening advice a step further and suggested firms cut their names down to a couple of syllables, like Morrison & Foerster’s embracing the name MoFo. We recommended a few other (humorous) possibilities: ClearGo, SuCro, CoBu, WilCo, etc. As sometimes happens usual, ATL readers impressed us and made us chuckle with some of their responses. We’ve culled the over 100 comments for the best suggestions; here are our top ten favorites:
The Legal Intelligencer had a piece yesterday on the continuing debate over law firm names: to shorten or not to shorten? Gina Rubel says the debate has been raging for years, citing an article she wrote about it as early as 2003. She says most legal marketing experts agree that firms should keep their names snappy and provides eight reasons why:
1. Better branding;
2. More memorable;
3. Easier to say and repeat;
4. Easier to register Web site URLs;
5. More marketable;
6. Supports name recognition;
7. Works better with social media and emerging technologies;
8. Easier to say in media interviews.
One of the firms that has fully embraced the “shorter is better” approach is Morrison & Foerster. The firm is already just two names, but it has chopped it down even further, usually marketing itself as “MoFo.”
We love the simplicity and brazenness of a firm branding itself MoFo. Plus, it makes referring to acquaintances there more fun. E.g., “How’s Dave doing? You know, MoFo Dave?”
After the jump, we have some suggestions for other law firm name elisions. Would you rather work for ClearGo or Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton? We’ve also got a poll to find out whether “length matters.”
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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