Law firms have more considerations than other service providers and retail businesses when it comes to choosing a name. Traditionally, a firm's name is made up of the name of its partner or partners. In cases where there are too many partners to list, the firm's name may contain only the names of senior partners or founders.
The past few years have seen a trend toward shortening firm names as one piece of branding and marketing efforts. Shorter, branded names are easier to remember and may help set a firm apart in more competitive markets. Not all firms are able to move away from traditional partner naming, however, and not all firms wish to. Some state bar associations require firm names to contain the names of partners. And some firms, especially those that are older or more well-established, understand that their client base is not interested in a new or shorter name.
(One firm that has famously bucked the short name trend is Holly, Kraft, Jacobs, Wainwright, Deunster, Chattersworth, Cravens, Zymbrowki, Langston, Johnson, Tillerskein, Quoss, Thompson & Dudley. According to turnipnews.com, a spokesman for the firm said that they were “tired of trendy and vacuous-sounding law firm names and [have] opted to ‘get back to basics’ with the time-honored tradition of naming all of the firm’s partners, even the dead ones. We’re pleasantly stoked.” We would argue that not all shortened names are vacuous, but we are glad that they are stoked.)
Whether you aim to have the longest law firm name on record or have chosen to rebrand your firm with a shorter version, you should put thought into a tagline. Within ethical limits, of course, a tagline can be anything you want it to be. It can both reinforce your firm's personality and help distill your value to clients, letting them know how they will benefit from your services.
The legal marketplace is saturated. It can already be a little overwhelming for people in need of legal help who are looking for an attorney. Within this crowded environment, most law firm slogans and taglines are regrettably alike – many say essentially the same thing. Some words most frequently used in attorney taglines include “experience,” “results,” “commitment,” and “practice.” Not only are these words commonly used, they are also firm-centric. That is, they attempt to describe the firm rather than explain how the firm helps its clients.
People have come to reasonably understand what to expect from an attorney. They expect you to be committed to their rights – they are paying you well for it. They understand you are experienced and that cases end in results. These words do nothing but reinforce what they already know about attorneys and the law. Your slogan must stand out and connect with prospects on a deeper level. Here are some things to consider when crafting a slogan:
Learn from the pros. When Apple undertook its marketing push in the late 1990s, they told people to “Think Different.” Can you imagine a campaign with the slogan “Our Computers are Great!” getting nearly the same traction? Apple was appealing to a specific type of customer, just as Nike is appealing to the athlete in all of us with “Just Do It.” You will notice none of the great, memorable slogans talk about the product. They address the customer, evoking an emotion that connects with the brand.
Talk to your clients. What were they looking for when they found you? What words resonate with them? What aspects of their contact with your firm have they most appreciated? If you have a niche practice or cater to a distinct type of client, use this focus to help build your tagline.
Look to your experience. What types of cases do you handle most? What are the ways in which you help clients most often in these cases? Are clients generally in similar situations when they approach your firm? Instead of just saying that your firm has experience, try incorporating an understanding of how that experience works for your clients into your tagline.
Remember it is not about you. A good tagline tells your prospective clients what they can expect from your firm. It is about benefits, not features.
Some examples of good law firm taglines:
Practicing the Art of Law
Spector Gadon & Rosen
Putting Imagination to Work. (TM)
Shefsky & Froelich
Lawyers You Want to Know. (TM)
Seriously Unbelievable Client Service
Sandberg Phoenix Von Gontard
Keeping You On Course
Stewart H. Lapayowker, P.A. (Aviation Transaction Attorneys)
Our name is easy to remember. Our work is hard to forget.
Bryant Miller Olive
Our clients do great things. We get the assist.
McCarter & English
A Better Partnership. (R)
Warner Norcross & Judd
Accomplish more. (SM)
Make your ideas untouchable. (R)
Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry