How to Name a Law Firm

how to name a law firmWhen you’re considering how to start a law firm, one of your first considerations is likely to be: what’s our name going to be?

Law firm naming conventions have evolved in recent years. While the traditional law firm names that use partner surnames are still a popular choice, you have more options these days than before.

So, how should you come up with your law firm’s name?

Should you go with the traditional [Last Name] + [Last Name] LLP or The Law Offices of [Full Name]? Or is a name like Legal Solutions of New Mexico or Colorado Legal Group more appropriate for your firm’s branding strategy?

We take a look at your options below.

The importance of getting your law firm’s name right

As a new firm, your law firm name can inform your brand identity and vice versa. It can help you stand out from the crowd. It may also help you with law firm search engine optimization and boost rankings for your firm’s content.

Law Firm Names Legal Solutions of NM
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Your name is one of the first things that potential clients want to know about you. It may pay to be a little more “creative” or expansive with your choices to make it more memorable — an important consideration for law firm branding.

Think about your target audience and see whether you can work your main keywords into your name. Your name will appear all over your website, social media, and online profiles like Yelp and Google Business Profile, so it’s an important element of your marketing strategy.

Modern law firm naming conventions allow for the use of jurisdictions or practice areas. Traditional legal firm names are far more restrictive, but as you’ll see, some states prohibit the more modern conventions.

There are multiple other considerations before you confirm your name. Let’s take a look.

Do you need to follow ABA law firm naming rules?

Many law firms are aware that the American Bar Association used to impose a set of naming rules for law firms via Rule 7.5.

How to Name a Law Firm ABA Rules
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These rules were abolished in 2018, providing law firms with an opportunity to be more creative with their naming.

In 2022, depending on your law firm’s location, your name can be almost anything you want.

Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to keep the core principles of the ABA rules in mind when naming your law firm: most importantly, don’t be misleading with your name.

Rule 7.1, referred to in the above excerpt, is a rule from the ABA regarding misleading communications about your services, which still applies.

How to Name a Law Firm ABA Rule 7.1
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Among other things, Rule 7.1 means:

  • Don’t state that you practice in a partnership or organization when you don’t
  • Don’t use the name of a lawyer in public office or a position of celebrity in the name of a law firm when they aren’t actively practicing (e.g., using “Biden” would be misleading unless you have a lawyer called Biden actively practicing in your firm)

Local jurisdiction naming rules

The ABA deleted Rule 7.5 to encourage more consistency between jurisdictions. But some local state jurisdictions retain law firm naming rules based on this rule — and you must follow these.

Some states allow geographic terms and practice areas in law firm names if there is a disclaimer to clear up any misleading associations. In others, that’s not necessary.

In other states, it’s a requirement to include the last names of partners rather than just a naming convention.

So, the golden rule is to check with your local bar association before naming your law firm.

The other most basic naming no-nos

You likely know these guidelines, but it’s worth spelling out a few more no-nos for law firm names:

  • Don’t include language that implies that your firm is the only law firm in your location/practice area, e.g., The NY Family Law Firm
  • Don’t include language that implies a comparison between the services performed by your firm and others, e.g., The Best Family Law Firm
  • Don’t include demeaning, degrading or derogatory language

Search engine optimization

SEO expert Neil Patel says:

“…your business’s name can make a massive difference in how quickly and easily you rank on SERPs. With a business name that’s friendly to your target keywords, you’ll easily be top of the results.”

He’s referring to the search engine results pages (SERPs) and suggests making your business name unique, memorable, and in line with the keywords of your target market.

While success might not be quite as easy as having the right business name, the SEO component of selecting the right law firm name shouldn’t be ignored.

For example, from an SEO perspective, Smith, Jones and Davies LLC may be less effective than Cannabis Law Solutions or Vest Estate Lawyers.

Law Firm Names Vest Estate Lawyers
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Domain availability

From a digital marketing perspective (which is increasingly the most important marketing perspective for law firms), you need to keep in mind the availability of the domain name you want for your business.

Your domain name will be the root of your URL and your email address:

  • Domain name:
  • Website URL:
  • Email address:

Many practice-area- and location-based domain names have been snapped up in recent years as law firms have rebranded to take advantage of the change in ABA rules.

Popular domain names like the following are already taken:

  • The domain name is taken by international law firm Davies & Associates (note the use of practice area keywords in the domain).
Law Firm Domain Names Practice Area
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  • The domain name is taken by James J. Sexton (note the use of location and practice area keywords in the domain).
Law Firm Domain Names Location & Practice Area
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  • The domain name is taken by Trey Porter Law (again, note the use of location and practice area keywords in the domain).
Law Firm Domain Names Location & Practice Area 2
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Using your main keywords is great for branding and SEO. But remember that not all states allow law firm trade names or branded names.

If your state or province does allow it, like in the above examples from New York and Texas, you can get smart and still create attractive firm names with available domain names that include practice area and/or location keywords.

For instance, Spectrum Family Law in Calgary uses the “family law” keyword in its name combined with another word that suggests a wide range of services (that’s smart branding).

Law Firm Names Spectrum Family Law
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The downsides of using attorney surnames in your law firm name

Did you know that there’s a law firm in L.A. called Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf?

Law Firm Names Longest

Thankfully, 10-surname law firm names are few and far between, and it’s more commonly known as Ziffren & Brittenham LLP anyway.

Sometimes, preferences among partners to use their names will dictate decisions about your firm’s name. Still, the decision should be made with full knowledge of the potential downsides of using attorney names.

  • What happens if a partner leaves/joins the firm or gets married — will your firm’s name need to be changed?
  • Creative names are more likely to have matching domain names available (for your website and email addresses) than standard names.
  • Unique and creative law firm names are more memorable and can aid law firm branding.
  • They are often long and awkward to remember, say, write and include on business cards.
  • Is it clear from your name that you’re a law firm and not an accounting business or another professional services firm or consultancy that uses similar naming conventions?
  • The use of keywords in your business name rather than attorney names can provide a boost for SEO.
  • Generic law firm names are often more marketable and sellable (if you plan to sell your firm in the future).

7 steps to getting your law firm name right

OK, so you now know the basic principles of how to name a law firm.

It’s a big decision and not one to be rushed. To make it easier, we’ve broken it down into a seven-step process.

1. Start by learning the local bar association rules

There’s no point getting your heart set on a name if it’s not permitted. So, the place to start is to understand the local law firm naming rules in your jurisdiction.

Law Firm Names Florida Bar
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2. Brainstorm law firm names

Once you know the rules, the people responsible for starting up your law firm should be involved in the naming process. The easiest way to facilitate this is with a brainstorming session to generate initial ideas for your law firm’s name.

You might need a few hours or just a few minutes, but it deserves proper consideration.

3. Create a shortlist of names

Break down your list of names into the top contenders and the most promising other options, and discard the rest.

Then, conduct a thorough analysis of the preferred names to ensure that they pass muster according to local bar rules.

Also, ensure there are no unintended consequences of the name culturally or if it is shortened to an acronym. For instance, a firm called Carey, Rodgers, Arnold & Petersen might be shortened to its acronym, which could be embarrassing.

4. Check availability with the trademark/domain name registries

You don’t want to go too far down the line with any law firm names if they are not available — or if a suitable domain name is not available.

There are over 439,000 law firms registered in the US in 2022, so there is a good chance your preferred name has already been taken.

The two places to check are:

  • Your local state’s business filing agency website: This should include a business entity name check tool. You can use this to search business names and find out whether your preferred names are available.
  • Domain registry: Most law firms want a .com domain name, though .net and .law are other popular options. The problem is that most .com domains are highly competitive, and your chosen one(s) may have been taken.

Remember, your domain name will decide the address of your website/email addresses, so it’s important for it to be available, memorable and preferably search engine-friendly. Use the GoDaddy registry to see if your chosen domain name is available. If it is, and you’re set on your law firm name, purchase it, and it’s yours for as long as you want it.

Law Firm Domain Names GoDaddy Check
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5. Seek feedback

Sometimes, other people on the “outside” can see clearer than those who have worked on a name for a while. It’s important to seek feedback from valued sources about the proposed name(s).

Friends, family, and professional colleagues are all good sources. LinkedIn is a great tool for gathering opinions and feedback on important professional matters. It’s possible to ask your network to vote on the best law firm name in a poll like this.

How to Name a Law Firm LInkedIn Poll

To do this, simply click on Start a Post, then the “…” option, select Create a Poll and complete the details. So easy!

6. Consider trademarking your law firm’s name

If you use a unique branded law firm name like The Maine Criminal Defense Group, you may want to trademark the name to prevent another business from using it or anything too similar to it.

To register a trademark, you’ll need to submit an application and pay a fee at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Law Firm Names Trademark Application
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7. Consider professional law firm branding services

You have your law firm name registered and trademarked and the domain name secured. That’s a great start.

However, many other considerations go into law firm branding, with logos, color schemes, values, images, messaging, etc., all needing to come together. This can get a little overwhelming, and you may need some professional branding and marketing assistance to get your firm off the ground with this.

Law firm name examples

We’ve already covered several types of law firm names in this article.

Let’s summarize how law firms are naming themselves in 2022, bearing in mind that you’ll need to check with your local jurisdiction about what’s permitted before using any of these law firm name examples as inspiration.

The name showcases the practice area

It’s obvious what Taylor Janis Workplace Law specializes in.

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Keep in mind that if you expect to expand your practice areas in the future, naming your firm in this way may be restrictive. You may even have to change the name in the future to reflect the changes.

The name showcases the geographical location

Nebraska Legal Group is a good example of this.

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The name showcases the practice area and geographical location

Maine Family Law, LLC includes both its practice area and state in its name.

Law Firm Names Maine Family Law
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The name showcases another key aspect of the firm

Affordable Defence in Ottawa speaks for itself.

affordable defence
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The name follows the name of the lead attorney

Here’s an example from criminal defense lawyer Michael Oykhman in Calgary.

oykhman criminal defense website ctas
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The name follows the surnames of the partners

Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau take this approach.

Law Firm Names Madsen Prestley Parenteau
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Note that although the firm name is Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau, the domain name used for their website is (this is likely a conscious branding choice).

The name indicates the firm size

Some firms want to make it clear that they are not solo attorneys or small players by including certain words in their name like “Group” or “Associates”.

Be careful with this as it could be misleading if you try to make your firm sound larger than it actually is.

Solo practitioners and firms with a couple of attorneys should avoid any misunderstandings but it’s OK for construction and business law firm Bennett Legal Group to add “group” after its name because it’s home to multiple attorneys.

Law Firm Names Bennett Legal Group
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Names that are non-conventional or creative

Finally, some law firms get quite creative and “out there” with their names.

This won’t be for every law firm, but some may take inspiration from names such as Ditcher, Quick & Hyde Divorce Lawyers.

Law Firm Names Law Tigers
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Ready to name your law firm?

Your law firm name is more than a first impression. Whatever size of law firm you’re starting, your name’s going to be with you a while and many lasting impressions of you and your firm will start with your name.

You now have all the latest theories behind naming your law firm and a step-by-step guide to how to go about it — so that you can decide on a name that fits your brand (with the associated domain name) without upsetting the local state bar authority.

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