Name and lame

ABS heralds era of naff law firm titles

Excluding a few early movers, the legal industry has mostly taken a wait-and-see approach to the alternative business structure (ABS) regime.

However, although the system is barely off the ground The Lawyer has already spotted an alarming trend – one that indicates that the new era of Tesco Law may not be as rosy as legislators would have you believe. And no, we are not talking about fears that profit-minded commercial owners may compromise on the independence of advice.

We are talking about a much more immediate threat: that the country is drifting towards a future of law firms with naff names.

The SRA’s list of licensed ABSs offers a glimpse of this burgeoning trend. Among suitably nondescript firms such as JCP Solicitors and Langley Wellington creep names like NewLaw Solicitors, Parchment Law Group, Plainlaw Solicitors and Thinking Legal.

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Sign of things to come

Admittedly, these names are not that offensive, but they are only the start – the first wave. In decades to come firms with traditional names could be drowned in a sea of aggressively titled businesses. Honest Dave’s Law For Less or, for example.

If all this sounds a little snobbish that is probably because it is. The legal industry has been set in its ways for far too long for any change to pass without resistance. And The Lawyer has always preferred law firm names to be unintentionally amusing – see Wright Hassall – as opposed to nakedly seeking to cash in on brand impact.

James Swift