Law Firm Names

taking some names off above the law.jpgYesterday 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:

10. Haynes & Boone = HayBoo
9. Fulbright & Jaworski = FulJaw
8. Sullivan & Cromwell should change its name to “Sully”. It would make it sound more “heroic”.
7. King & Spalding = KingS
6. Willkie Farr & Gallagher = WILF

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More on Shorter Law Firm Names”

taking some names off above the law.jpgThe 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.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When It Comes to Law Firm Names, Does Size Matter?”

law firm merger.jpgThelen has laid off attorneys and changed its name, the law firm equivalent of hitting the gym and getting a makeover. Now they’re back in the club and looking for a mate.
Leigh Jones of the National Law Journal reports:

Thelen and Nixon Peabody are in merger talks, with a possible agreement pending, according to sources close to the situation. The law firms have been in extensive talks, with Nixon Peabody leaders traveling to San Francisco to meet with Thelen leaders, according to two sources.

Wasn’t this the plot to the movie Made of Honor? Nixon plays the role of Dr. McDreamy, with its dulcet law firm song. Thelen is the cute platonic friend, who suddenly starts looking really hot when she’s about to get hitched to somebody else.
Given the amount of coverage ATL devotes to these two firms, we wholeheartedly endorse the pairing. Maybe we could convince them to adopt a firm mascot — Nixlen Kittens, anyone?
Thelen in merger talks with Nixon Peabody [National Law Journal via Law.com]
Earlier: Law Firm Merger Mania: Thelen Sending Out Feelers?
Law Firm Merger Mania: Everyone’s a Winner at…. Nixon Pillsbury?

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgAs we reported last month, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner is on the prowl for a merger partner. And just like a divorcée plunging back into the dating market, the firm is taking steps to make itself more attractive.
Like changing its name. From the firm’s press release:

In a move to present a clear and strong brand in the legal marketplace, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP, an international Am Law 100 law firm, announced today that it is shortening the legal name of the firm to Thelen LLP.

The name change will be effective September 9 and will better reflect the firm’s 80-year history as one of the world’s premier law firms. A single corporate identity also has the added benefit of consistent branding in the domestic and global markets in which Thelen operates.

There are other advantages, too. As reported in today’s National Law Journal, name partner Jeffrey Steiner just defected to DLA Piper. This follows the departures of name partners Peter Brown (to Baker Hostetler) and Richard Raysman (to Otterbourg Steindler). Scrubbing their names from the firm name makes sense (and may have been required).
It’s much safer for the firm simply to be known as “Thelen.” Max Thelen isn’t going anywhere.
Thelen Announces New Firm Name [press release]
Defections continue at Thelen [National Law Journal]
Thelen Faces Departures During Merger Search [Legal Times]
Thelen, It Rhymes With Wheelin’ [WSJ Law Blog]

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgAs we reported last month, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner is on the prowl for a merger partner. And just like a divorcée plunging back into the dating market, the firm is taking steps to make itself more attractive.
Like changing its name. From the firm’s press release:

In a move to present a clear and strong brand in the legal marketplace, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP, an international Am Law 100 law firm, announced today that it is shortening the legal name of the firm to Thelen LLP.

The name change will be effective September 9 and will better reflect the firm’s 80-year history as one of the world’s premier law firms. A single corporate identity also has the added benefit of consistent branding in the domestic and global markets in which Thelen operates.

There are other advantages, too. As reported in today’s National Law Journal, name partner Jeffrey Steiner just defected to DLA Piper. This follows the departures of name partners Peter Brown (to Baker Hostetler) and Richard Raysman (to Otterbourg Steindler). Scrubbing their names from the firm name makes sense (and may have been required).
It’s much safer for the firm simply to be known as “Thelen.” Max Thelen isn’t going anywhere.
Thelen Announces New Firm Name [press release]
Defections continue at Thelen [National Law Journal]
Thelen Faces Departures During Merger Search [Legal Times]
Thelen, It Rhymes With Wheelin’ [WSJ Law Blog]

Milberg 2 Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes Learch Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.GIFIn today’s Morning Docket, we wondered about what Milberg Weiss’s new name would be, now that Mel Weiss is on his way to becoming a convicted felon. The answer came more quickly than expected. From the WSJ Law Blog:

The firm formerly known as Milberg Weiss Bershad & Shulman LLP, then Milberg Weiss Bershad LLP, then Milberg Weiss LLP, will now be known just as Milberg LLP. According to a Milberg insider, the name change was announced at a staff meeting this morning, at which Mel Weiss gave a speech talking about the accomplishments of the firm. The audience reportedly applauded…..

“Hey everyone, I’m going to prison for 18 to 33 months. Give me a big hand!”

The WSJ reported this morning that Mel Weiss has struck a deal to agree to plead guilty in a case alleging improper kickbacks. Other former name partners David Bershad and Steven Schulman had previously pleaded guilty in the case.

The beauty of naming the firm after Larry Milberg? He dead.
More Milberg Weiss coverage, including a statement from Mel Weiss, at the WSJ Law Blog.
Introducing . . . Milberg LLP [WSJ Law Blog]

Most law firm name changes are pretty silly. The general approach: lop off all names after the first two. If you like, squish the surviving names together into one word, to make yourselves seem contemporary and cool. E.g., “WilmerHale.” (A law firm marketing firm would charge you five figures for that advice.)
Okay, so how do you get anyone to care about your name change? You make a YouTube video, that’s how! Here’s a press release from Hanson Bridgett LLP, a northern California firm with about 130 lawyers:

The firm formally known as Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos, & Rudy LLP has a new tag line—”Inspired”—to go with its new logo and a new abridged name, Hanson Bridgett LLP. Breaking through the monotony of the legal landscape, the firm is employing a light-hearted video to help disseminate the re-branding roll-out by “word of mouse.”

Seriously. As the press release notes, “[t]he video stars Hanson Bridgett Managing Partner Andrew Giacomini, who is seen banging a bass drum while walking down Market Street in Lederhosen and knee-highs.”
The video, cutely entitled “The Law Accordion to Hanson Bridget,” is kinda weird, and a bit too long; you really need just the first and last 30 seconds. But it’s an interesting experiment in law firm marketing. Check it out:

Oh, and the firm has its own blog: the Infrastructure Law Blog. Infrastructure law sounds even more boring than ERISA may not be the sexiest practice area ever. But the firm deserves props for participating in, rather than fighting, the online revolution.
P.S. Yes, we’ve seen the Pillsbury Winthrop video. We’ll be writing about it in a separate post.
The Law Accordion To Hanson Bridgett [YouTube]
Hanson Bridgett Launches New Look, Video to Match [press release]
Infrastructure Law Blog
Hanson Bridgett LLP [official website]

New York City Law Department NYC Law Dept Michael Cardozo Above the Law blog.jpgA tipster just wrote us: “Post this, and we can have at it in the comments!”
Happy to oblige. From the New York Times:

If a group is to be recognized as a significant force in municipal life, it needs a nickname. The police have been dubbed New York’s Finest longer than anyone can remember. Firefighters go by New York’s Bravest. Sanitation workers are the Strongest and correction officers the Boldest. Attempts have been made to cast public school teachers as the Brightest.

But what about the roughly 690 lawyers on the city payroll? (This is your first and last chance to insert a lawyer joke, if you must.)

Seriously, members of the city’s Law Department labor without a punchy nickname. They could use one.

So go ahead; have at it, in the comments. If enough possible nicknames are generated, we’ll take the top contenders and create a reader poll — and then pass along the winning entry to the NYC Law Department.
Always on the City’s Side in Court, and Without a Good Nickname [New York Times]

The combined firm will have over 1,500 lawyers in 23 offices. It will “employ the K&L Gates brand and have the legal name of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP.” Press release here.
Update: Some commentary from an inside source, after the jump.
K&L Gates, Hughes & Luce Partners Vote to Combine Firms Effective January 1 [K&L Gates]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Merger Mania: K&L Gates + Hughes & Luce”

Managhan Kortum Managhan Law Firm Above the Law blog.jpgIn case you missed this story from last week, here’s a recap. Earlier this month, a plaintiffs’ lawyer in Montana by the name of William Managhan sent out the following email, to the entire Montana Trial Lawyers Association:

From: William L. Managhan
To: Montana Trial Lawyers
Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:32 PM
Subject: [mtla_members_all] Firm Name Change

Managhan & Kortum-Managhan Law Firm will no longer be known as such. The name is returning to Managhan Law Firm as Santana Kortum-Managhan is leaving the firm. Turns out that she was having sex with Tim McKeon of Anaconda while attending MMLP hearings in Helena.

Call me silly but I no longer fill [sic] comfortable with her as my law partner or wife. Some will think this is an inappropriate announcement, but considering the small legal community in our state, I might as well preempt the roomer mill [sic]. Please address communication to William L. Managhan through Managhan Law Firm.

More discussion, including accounts of our telephone conversations with Bobbi Bonnington and Tim of Anaconda, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update on the Managhan Law Firm (aka ‘My Wife Is Sleeping Around and That’s Why We’re No Longer Law Partners’)”

Page 3 of 41234