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 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 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 these steps in more detail below.
Types of law firm names
There are two approaches to naming law firms—traditional and trade. Which kind you should use depends on factors like where you practice, how many partners you have and what kind of reputation your name has (or doesn’t have).
Traditional law firm names are those that use real names. The name could be yours, a combination of partners (i.e., Brought and Lane), the name of a since-retired or deceased partner, or a combination of these.
Trade names, also known as brand names, are names that use more descriptive language. Something like “Gold Standard Family Law” would be considered a trade name. While trade names can be great for situations where you have multiple partners, minimal reputation, or a common name, they are prohibited in some jurisdictions.
Considerations for naming your law firm
The language you use can impact how people perceive your practice. Since your firm name is often people’s first impression, you want to use your name as an opportunity to capture potential clients’ attention.
Positive language matters when it comes to choosing a law firm name. Conveying to clients that you are a successful firm that generates favorable results can benefit you greatly. Words like “thrive”, “victory”, “triumph”, and “advance” have connotations of success without explicitly promising it. Consider utilizing words that will make your clients believe in your ability to help them.
Knowing that a law firm is held in high esteem can be a tipping point for someone seeking legal services. Being able to leverage your good reputation to gain clients can be as simple as incorporating your name into your business. Phrases and words like “five star”, “gold standard”, and “tradition” can convey an air of professionalism and excellence.
When budding clients are seeking out a potential law firm to enlist their services, being able to trust them is a major deciding factor. If you are just starting out, trustworthiness should be the underpinning principle that you consider when choosing a law firm name, as reputation and success can only come with time.
Attaching your name to the business means that you have volunteered yourself and your services as trustworthy, and is a great place to start if you’re not sure about branding.
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 law firm naming conventions):
- 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 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. 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.
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Best practices for naming your law firm
1. Add last names
As we mentioned above, traditional 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 whether you may expand your practice areas in the future. Ideally, you won’t want a name you have to change any time soon.
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 name for your business
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, you should think about what your law firm’s brand is and what you want it to be.
When you’re thinking about naming your 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 .
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
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. Some tips for doing this:
- Sort your options into three different categories. Category one is the winning category made up of the top contenders. Category three names are the ones that are fun but may not be entirely suitable for your business. Whereas those in category two are the in-betweens—promising but not as good as those in category one.
- 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, creating a law firm website is an absolute necessity. This means you need to check if both 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 are 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 (for 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 helps 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 Consultants page.
Jog your creativity with these examples
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.
Final thoughts on naming your law firm
As you can see, there’s lots of things to consider when naming your firm. And since your name goes on all of your materials and helps build your reputation, you won’t want to keep changing it.
To recap how you can get it right, ensure your law firm name:
- Isn’t misleading
- Meets all rules and recommendations set out by the ABA and your state bar association
- 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.
If you’re naming a brand new practice, watch our webinar on what you need to officially open your law firm.
And, don’t forget the role of technology in helping your practice succeed. The right tools will help you keep track of key details, track your billable time, invoice clients more efficiently, and more. Book a demo today to see how you can use Clio to get your firm up and running and keep your practice organized.
In fact, if you sign up for Clio by December 31, 2023, you can take advantage of the following perks:
- $500 credit on your first Local Services Ad on Google
- Zero credit card processing fees for 30 days
- 15% off document automation and fillable court forms software
- 30% off QuickBooks Online
- Credit to get out of your current legal software contract before it ends
- Free 24/5 customer support
- Free data migration from your current system
Schedule a free demo to take advantage of these perks before the end of the year.
Note: The information in this article applies only to U.S. practices. This post is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, business, or accounting advice.
How to come up with a law firm name?
When brainstorming ideas for a law firm, it’s common to write down different law firm name options. Traditionally, law firm names include the last names of the partners and the firm’s practice area(s).
We published this blog post in October 2020. Last updated: .
Categorized in: Business