Law Firms

Latest Name Game Move: 'Mayer Brown'

Following a trend that is increasingly popular among many major law firms, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw is shortening its name as of Aug. 31.

The 1,500-attorney Chicago-based international firm will hereafter be known simply as Mayer Brown, reports Crain’s Chicago Business.

Although rainmaking partners traditionally have had their names blazoned on the firm marquee, short and sweet is the best way to give a law firm a memorable brand, marketing experts say today. Some big firms have accomplished this by using a nickname, such as Skadden, in law firm promotional materials, even though the New York City-based firm, famed for its mergers and acquisitions advice, is still officially known, in the fine print, as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, notes a Recorder article. Others, like Dechert Price & Rhoads, a 1,000-attorney international firm that started out as a Philadelphia law partnership, have officially eliminated all but the firm’s first name.

Taking a longtime partner’s name off of the firm’s shingle can be emotional, especially if he is still alive. But law firms should be pragmatic and realize that the law firm name game is best played with a short, snappy moniker, recommends J. Terence O’Malley, co-managing partner for for DLA Piper’s U.S. offices. The 3,400-lawyer firm was known until recently as DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, including components of the names of multiple law firm merger partners.

“In today’s marketplace, having more than two names isn’t a long-run solution,” he tells the Recorder. “You have to separate the business goals from the emotion and stay focused on your message to the marketplace.”

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