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In this age of search engine optimization and online marketing, the conventional method of naming your firm after your partners' last names may not make the most sense. Instead, you may be considering a generic law firm name like the "Los Angeles Criminal Law Firm" or the "Boston Immigration Group".
But while you may win the race to get Google traffic with such generic names, will this automatically lead to business?
After all, it is ingrained in our culture to hear of firm names like "Kirkland & Ellis" or "Jones Day." And potential clients may trust firms with names that sound like law firms even if they are ranked a bit lower on Google.
Alas, there is no clear answer to how you should name your firm. The conventional belief is to name your firm after yourself and then slowly build a reputation through good work and word of mouth. And most attorneys hanging their shingles probably go this tried and true route.
However, with thousands of attorneys seemingly setting up shop every year, a daring attorney may want to try to go the generic name route. Potential clients will have to do some digging as to what the "Chang Katz LLP" firm does, but if you name your law firm the "Los Angeles Criminal Law Firm", there would be no mistaking what law you practice and where you are located.
And as many clients may browse the Internet for a firm, they may be typing in your firm name as they search -- bringing them right to you.
The problem with a generic name is that you may turn off more established and larger clients. These institutions may be a bit wary of a firm with a generic name. In fact, individual clients may also dismiss these firms with stereotypes such as cheap, too new, or untrustworthy.
Young attorneys hanging a shingle may want to consider a law firm name beyond the traditional last names of partners. But before you adopt a generic name, make sure that it will resonate with potential clients in your practice areas. You may also want to check local rules of professional responsibility as some may address firm naming conventions.