Branding of law firms: what's the message? Does it matter?

What did you think of the name "King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin"? After it was announced that London-based law firm SJ Berwin was combining this autumn with King & Wood Mallesons, a leading law firm network in the Asia Pacific region, it appeared that the name "King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin" had been chosen either as a stop-gap or as the new entity's ultimate name, depending on which version of the firm's press release you received.  The IPKat ran a sidebar poll to ask readers what they thought of this marvel of nomenclature.  This is how a gratifying 357 of you voted:
  • It's a great name that respects the proud heritage of two distinguished law firms 4 (1%) 
  • It's no better or worse than any other name 5 (1%) 
  • It's a bit of a mouthful, isn't it? 62 (17%) 
  • It must be a temporary fix, leading to a rebrand within the year 67 (18%) 
  • Sounds like too many lawyers refusing to back down 135 (37%) 
  • There can't be a clumsier law firm name on the planet 84 (23%) 
The message is clear: whatever a law firm's motives for short-, medium- or long-term branding of its services, the result may be received with something less than unbounded admiration by the rest of the world. Says this Kat, if I were a client I'd be more concerned with the level of professional service and its cost-effectiveness than with what the firm chose to call itself.  Clients pay a high level of attention to the important things, not the trivialities: it's not like choosing soap in the supermarket. Mind you, if it were called something live Everwin & Neverlose, I might be influenced ... Sure, says Merpel, but if you were an established practitioner looking to move to a firm that would be the next step up in your career, if you were one of the 37% of respondents who saw the name as a consequence of too many lawyers refusing to back down, would you not be a little concerned about heading there?

Great name for a law firm?
Readers may wish to offer some thoughts of their own on the importance of law firm branding, since it can be so emotive.  Take Adam & Eve for example: what does it tell you about a law firm?  Possibly that there's a 50-50 split between male and female partners; that the partnership is a fruitful one; that you can look forward to dress-down Friday -- or what?  Do tell!
Branding of law firms: what's the message? Does it matter? Branding of law firms: what's the message? Does it matter? Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, August 16, 2013 Rating: 5


Peter Smith said...

I seem to recall that Adam & Eve were punished by their Regulator following a breach of the code of conduct.

Andre said...

Worst name for a law firm: Dewey, Cheetum and Howe...

Tom Farrand said...

Adam & Eve
Snakes in the grass acting for apple?
Specialists in cases of original sin?

Anonymous said...

Beware of the snake in the grass?

Anonymous said...

I can't Adam & Eve it's a law firm...

Anonymous said...

I still think that 'Mallesons SJ' may send an unintended message.


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