Wildman law firm – sorry to see you go.
According to reports, tomorrow, January 10, the latest mega-merger will be official — Locke Lord merging with Edwards Wildman Palmer to form 1000-lawyer Locke Lord Edwards.
That’s a pretty good name, actually, which I believe the marketplace will quickly choose to abbreviate back to simply “Locke Lord.”
I’ve spoken and written a lot about how and why law firms shorten their names.
(See the blog posts here regarding Lugenbuhl, and here regarding SMRLDJK&W….)
The decisions may be based upon length, novelty, ego, how easy the names are to spell or remember, size, ego, reputation, practice, etc. (I was even interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered” some years ago regarding the Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr merger and name change to WilmerHale, listen here.)
In short, “Locke” simply isn’t a strong or unique enough name standing alone. However, “Locke Lord” is simple, memorable, easy to spell, easy to remember, alliterative, and distinctive. No one’s ever going to ask “Which ‘Locke Lord’ law firm do you mean?”
With the popularity and subconscious awareness of the musician Lorde, there’s some risk of being misspelled “Lock Lorde” or “Locke Lorde,” but it’s not a deal breaker; Google won’t be confused by those searches.
(BTW, the misspellings locklorde.com and lockelorde.com are currently available – the firm should probably buy those domain variations ASAP.)
So “Locke Lord” is where each one of us will independently decide to stop — with the possible exception of any remaining members of the Edwards family and a few old guys from the legacy Edwards & Angell firm.
But that’s not the point.
My favorite part of the name was Wildman.
Formerly known as Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon, or simply and ill-advisedly “WHAD,” this was an established, collegial, high-quality, Chicago-based law firm Fishman Marketing represented many years ago. I remember fondly the late H. Roderic Heard, the charming marketing partner, and kind Max Wildman, the brilliant founder.
Over the years, in addition to significant marketing training, we marketed and branded the firm and a few of its practice areas. The firm later shortened their name to “Wildman Harrold” (rather than simply “Wildman,” which I thought would have been a better option). But “Wildman” is now gone, lost to the inevitable merger negotiations. But here’s one last salute to a great old firm with an equally great name.
Above is a draft of one of our old Wildman ads, from 2000.
“When it’s your business on the line, you need a Wildman.”
“A Classic Law Firm Branding Campaign”:
Our work was referred to as “a classic law firm branding campaign” in the January 12, 2015 edition of The Am Law Daily, in “Name Game: Farewell to the Wildman (and Palmer),” by Brian Baxter, the terrific Deputy Editor and Senior Reporter at ALM Media.