You get 3 guesses to tell me what’s on the menu.
The second you hear the name you know exactly what this restaurant serves. Being super-specific allows B&G to market directly to the right diners. If you like oysters (and shell fish), come to this restaurant. There’s no guesswork, no need to look up the menu. You simply have to ask yourself, “Do I like/want to eat this?”
This got me thinking about law firm names.
As a general rule, law firm names usually come it 2 varieties: a list of partner’s last names or The Law of Offices of Your Name.
Do you see the problem? Every law firm name ends up sounding like every other law firm name. It leaves the potential client wondering which lawyer is the right lawyer.
It’s the difference between B&G Restaurant and B&G Oysters. If I know nothing about B&G Restaurant, I now have to do extra work to figure out whether or not I want to eat there.
The same principle applies to law firms. When it’s not obvious what type of law you practice, your potential client has to do extra work before they know whether or not they should call you. And people in need of legal services don’t want to do extra work. No one wants to do extra work. If they can’t quickly label and sort you, they will continue to look for lawyers until they find someone who makes it easier for them to know this is the lawyer he should call (or they get a referral.)
Unfortunately, generic law firm names are an integral part of the industry. In fact, in Rhode Island and many other states, lawyers don’t have a choice, because they are prohibited from using trade names.
Unless the potential client is already familiar with you through advertising, referral, or previous work, they don’t know who you are. So your name at the end of The Law Offices of Your Name doesn’t matter to them.
Think about it this way. If you’re searching for a lawyer on Google, what is going to persuade you to call? Do you care about the lawyer’s name or what the type of law she practices? Again, unless the searcher know who you are, it’s about what you do, and the faster you can convey to a potential client what it is that you do, the more likely it is that they will call you.
If you have to use an indistinguishable law firm name, what can you do? I know some enterprising lawyers using clever branding to stand out from the crowd. One local attorney uses the URL: www.rirealestatelaw.com. I know another lawyer who uses www.capecodestateplanning.com.
Potential clients don’t have to guess at what type of law these lawyers practice. All they have to decide is: Do I need these services or not? Your clients shouldn’t have to work too hard to figure out if you are the right attorney to do handle their legal matter.
Think about what you can do to make your firm stand out in a crowded market place. Is it as easy as changing your URL or can you use a trade name that better showcases your practice area?