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


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

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

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

  4. Beware of the snake in the grass?

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

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



All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.