What’s in a name? Turns out, it’s a whole lot—especially when you’re thinking about how to name a law firm. From ABA and state bar rules to website domain availability, choosing a law firm name involves plenty of considerations.
A law firm name gives potential clients a first impression of the business, and it also plays a key role in your law firm’s brand and marketing strategy. In addition, it can play a significant role in determining how easily prospects and clients remember your law firm. This brings us to the question: What should you name your law firm?
In this blog post, we’ll cover:
- All the steps involved in choosing a law firm name.
- How to choose the best law firm names.
- Law firm name examples to get those creative juices flowing.
Whether you’re starting a new solo or small law firm, or planning on changing your law firm’s name, we hope this blog post will guide you through the big “how to name a law firm” question.
How to name a law firm
Naming your law firm requires some careful deliberation. You’ll need to consider the law firm naming rules and conventions in your jurisdiction, and determine your law firm brand and marketing strategy. To choose the best law firm name, brainstorm some law firm names, get third-party opinions, check the domain availability of your chosen name, and consider trademarking your law firm’s name. We’ll cover each of this in more detail below.
Law firm naming rules
The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Model Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 7.5 originally outlined the law firm naming rules you need to follow (The rule was deleted in 2018, but exists as enacted in many state implementations of the rules):
- Your law firm should not sound like you are part of a government agency or charitable legal services organization.
- If your law firm has an office in another jurisdiction, make sure you identify which lawyers are allowed to practice in each jurisdiction.
- Don’t use a law firm name that involves a lawyer in public office.
- Don’t falsely create a partnership with another lawyer or firm.
Basically, your law firm name should not be misleading. Don’t use your state or jurisdiction name like “Alaska Law” if you are not actually a public legal aid agency. Avoid using Obama’s name if he is not actively practicing law with your firm. If you happen to share an office with another lawyer but have not actually partnered with them to form a law firm, don’t use a name that sounds like you are practicing law with them.
As always, be sure to check your jurisdiction’s law firm naming rules as every state has different rules. Some states allow brand names, while others—like Georgia, New York, and Ohio—prohibit trade names.
Consider adding these to your law firm’s name
1. Add last names
Traditional law firm names tend to include the last names of partners. In some states, this is a requirement instead of merely a tradition. If you’re starting a solo firm, this will simply be your last name. If you have partners, think about how you will order the last names. Say a few possible combinations of the partners’ last names. Which version sounds the best? You may also want to try shortening the partners’ last names.
2. Add your practice area
Adding your practice area can let potential clients know right away how you can help them, or if you’re the right law firm for them. However, consider if you may expand your practice areas in the future as naming your firm this way may be limiting.
3. Make it clear that you are a law firm
We recommend that you consider adding “law” or “legal” to your firm’s public name. This shows right away that you’re a law firm, instead of an accounting or consulting firm.
4. Indicate your firm size
You could add “Group,” “Firm,” or “and Associates” after your law firm’s name, depending on what type of firm you are. Be careful though—always make sure your firm’s name is not misleading. For example, if you’re a solo practitioner, adding “Group” will be inaccurate as it suggests that you have more than one lawyer at your firm.
How to choose the best law firm name for you
The best law firm names take into consideration the firm’s brand and marketing strategy. As mentioned above, not all states allow law firms to have trade or brand names. However, even if you’re using surnames for your law firm’s name, you should think about what your law firm’s brand is and what you want it to be.
When you’re thinking about how to name a law firm, it’s important to determine who your target audience is. What are your buyer personas? What are your law firm’s marketing goals? As you can guess, your law firm’s name will appear all over your marketing—including your website, social media, and online profiles like Yelp and Google My Business. You’ll want to spend some time developing your marketing strategy if you have not already done so. We recommend using a law firm name that resonates with your target audience. Remember to consider cultural nuances as well.
Steps to developing a great law firm name
1. Brainstorm some law firm names
Write down whatever comes to mind. There are many popular and effective brainstorming techniques, including brainwriting, mind mapping, and rapid ideation. The brainstorming process can be a joy—whether you can spare an afternoon or just 30 minutes to focus on coming up with law firm name ideas based on the law firm naming conventions and methods mentioned above. For example, you can set aside 30 minutes to brainstorm.
Narrow down options for your law firm name. Some tips for doing this:
- Sort your options into 3 different categories. Category 1 is the winning category made up of the top contenders. Category 3 names are the ones that are fun but may not be entirely suitable for your business. Category 2 names are the in-betweens—promising but not as good as those in Category 1.
- Avoid unintended meanings. Keep in mind that people may shorten your law firm’s name to an acronym, so make sure your law firm’s acronym remains professional. The last thing you want is to realize, at the last minute, that your law firm’s name reads “BOO” for short. While these may sound funny, it’s probably not something you want your law firm to be known for.
- Double-check your state bar rules. Since different jurisdictions have varying rules, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- When you have finalized the law firm names in Category 1, check the following: What are the cultural and geographical meanings of these names? Are the acronyms appropriate? Can these names be used as your law firm grows? Do these names fit your law firm brand?
2. Get some third-party opinions
Have you worked on something for so long that you get a little cross-eyed? In addition to taking a break and revising your list of top law firm name options, we suggest getting third-party opinions from friends, family, or colleagues. Naming a law firm is a huge undertaking. You’ll want to make sure your law firm’s name sounds great to everyone, not just you. Your friends, family, or professional peers may see things you don’t, or have additional good ideas. If you can, we recommend asking a professional writer for help with reviewing your options as well.
3. Check the domain and business registration availability
As our lives go increasingly digital, having a law firm website is an absolute necessity. This means you need to check if the URL and business name for the law firm name you want are already taken. Having the same name as another law firm or business poses some issues. Your clients may confuse your law firm with another business, and it’ll be harder to get your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts off the ground. As a refresher, a domain name is basically your website address.
You can check if a domain is available through companies like GoDaddy or Name.com. If it isn’t available, choose another law firm name. If the domain name is taken, chances are, there is a law firm or business operating with the same name. In that case, it would be in your firm’s best interest to use a different name to avoid confusion.
The same goes for registering your law firm’s business name. Check with your local authority to see if your business name is taken, and choose another law firm name if needed. If the domain and business name is available and you’re all set on the name, go ahead and purchase the domain and register your business!
4. Think about trademarking your law firm’s name
If you have a unique brand and law firm name (assuming you can use a brand name in your jurisdiction), you may want to trademark your law firm’s name. By trademarking your law firm’s name early, you can avoid having another law firm or business use your name in the future. Registering a trademark for your law firm involves submitting an application and a fee. You can do this online with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
5. Consider using a law firm branding consultant
The process of naming your law firm can be overwhelming. If you’d like to get some professional help with deciding how to name a law firm, you can use a law firm branding consultant. A professional branding consultant help you develop a law firm brand and name that’s right for you, your clients, and your business. You can find a consultant via our Clio Certified Constultants page.
Jog your creativity with these law firm name examples
Creative names for law firms
You can use these examples of non-traditional law firm names* to inspire your brainstorming process. Remember, always check if you can use a brand name or trade name for your law firm in your state:
- Legally Grounded
- Justice Shields
- Empire Gate
- Future Wise
- Silver Wire
- Blue Vault
If you’d like more law firm name examples to inspire your brainstorming process, below are some interesting names from law firms with great success stories.
- Treblaw, LLC
- Ad Astra Law Group
- Ergo Law
- Beacon Law
- Levine Family Law Group / Hello Divorce
- Vanst Law
*Note that these are not meant to be used as part of a law firm name.
You’re now ready to start developing a great law firm name
If you’re wondering about how to name a law firm, we hope this blog post has given you a good idea of the steps involved in making sure your law firm name is not misleading, meets all the law firm naming rules set out by the ABA and your state bar association, and fits your law firm’s brand. Don’t forget to check if your preferred law firm name has an available domain and business registration. And if you want to leave naming your law firm to a professional—that’s a great idea too. That will free up your time so you can focus on other parts of your business.
Note: The information in this “how to name a law firm” article applies only to US practices. This post is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, business, or accounting advice.
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