Law firm taglines: How to sound like everybody else

by Robert Algeri on May 3, 2010

Someone recently compiled and posted the taglines of the world’s top law firms. The list is cringe-worthy. A quick glance reveals tagline after tagline of monotony. Here are a few examples from the AmLaw 100:

  • Experience. Creativity. Results.
  • Experience Innovation
  • When Experience Matters
  • Everything Matters

In my opinion, the law firm tagline is a symbol of a misguided approach to law firm marketing. Why? Because taglines treat law firms like companies. And it’s a mistake to treat a law firm (with dozens of practices) as a monolithic company with a single mission.

The result is pablum. You end up with a tagline that says little, is forgettable, and sounds like everybody else’s tagline. It’s a rare firm that can sum up what makes it special in a few words. Hence, vague taglines like the “Power of Collaboration” and “Partnering for Progress.”

While building a firm’s brand is a worthy endeavor, a tagline won’t help in that effort. Instead of creating taglines, firms are better off focusing their efforts on marketing their attorneys. Encourage them to be thought leaders in a particular niche and give them the tools and guidance to distribute their work effectively online. This will build the reputation of your attorneys and attract better clients – and eventually result in a strong firm brand.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay Pinkert May 3, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I agree that advertising taglines on their own generally don’t provide value for professional services firms, but positioning statements and messaging platforms are essential for crafting effective thought leadership platforms and content.

For example, the theme of “Experience. Creativity. Results.” could be an effective blog editorial blueprint, with the expectation that every post should reinforce one or more of those attributes. Likewise, clearly and consistently incorporating those characteristics into case studies and presentations given by individual attorneys — whatever their niche — has a cumulative effect and distinguishes both the attorneys and the firm as a whole.

Marc May 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I agree that firms should focus on whats important to their clients, but sometimes tag lines can make a big difference in getting a lead so it should be addressed. I think my pal, Larry H Parker, has one of the best ones, “Fight for YOU!”

Robert Algeri May 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I agree, Fight for you! is a good tagline. It’s memorable, and it sums up what Larry does — Personal Injury. But most law firm taglines are abstract and broad in scope, and therefore unmemorable. Crafting something distinctive for a firm with dozens of different services is hard, really hard. So few have done it well and the value of a forgettable tagline is extremely low.

Denis May 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Taglines can work w/ the right audience, but probably aren’t going to resonate after the first few times a prospective client sees it. Over time, if you maintain that tagline as part of your advertising, more and more people are going to connect it to the brand – or in this case, the law firm.

Townsend Myers May 5, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I am a criminal defense lawyer in New Orleans. My online focus is helping students, professionals, and visitors to New Orleans solve their “party-related” legal problems (I also have a strong criminal trial practice for major felonies, but that is another story).

My philosophy is one of trying to help people put the criminal problems related to their poor decisions (usually after a night of drinking) behind them and move on from a dumb mistake. I came up with a tag line courtesy of something an actual client said to me, and I think it works for me. My client said as we were leaving court after a successful negotiated dismissal, “I feel like I just got a do-over – like I just took a life mulligan”.

I was re-developing my website at the time, and I realized that that sentiment was a big part of the image I was promoting. It soon became the inspiration for my tag line: “NOLA Criminal Law: Because sometimes life needs a reset button”.

Rob Corwin May 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm

One of my favorites comes from labor and employment firm Jaskson Lewis — “All we do is work.”

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