Designing a Logo

My partner and I knew from the beginning that we wanted the firm to have an identity. We didn’t want to use a gavel or something equally cliche to represent ourselves. But we also didn’t want to spend a lot of money paying a designer. Bartering for our logo made perfect sense. A newly full time freelance designer needed some legal work done, we needed a logo created, and neither of us had a ton of money to spend. The questions she asked me to get a “feel” for the firm were pretty painless. But how did it turn out?

You can discuss The Shingle Life in the comments, in the LAB, or on Twitter using the hashtag #shinglelife.

Creative Thinking

When I met with our designer to discuss the logo, I felt pretty ridiculous. I’m not very good at talking about “message” or “identity” or things of that nature. Luckily, our designer did most of the work. But I give her a lot of credit, since I didn’t give her much to work with.

One of her first questions was how I would describe the firm. I responded “It will be a mix of badass, fun, and professional.” I think that summed up my partner and I pretty well. When she asked what kind of clients we wanted to attract I thought for a second and then responded “Umm…criminals?” I clarified that in addition to criminals, we wanted to attract other lawyers. We hope to attract lawyers as clients to do research and writing for them. So, her goal was to create a logo that was badass, fun, professional, and attracted both criminals and other attorneys. Not too much to ask for, right?

The Proofs

Our initial round of proofs came with about eight designs in various colors. I knew in about three seconds that I only liked two of them. But I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, so what do I know? I was out to dinner when I got the proofs via email, so I passed my phone around the table to get everyone’s opinion. I also emailed the options to half the attorneys I know. My partner did the same. Everyone we spoke to liked the same two designs that we did. Now we just had to pick.

In the end, we went with the logo we thought would look good in black and white as well as color. We plan on doing some mailers that may be black and white, so we had to take that into account. It had to look equally good on a business card, our website, and any marketing materials we send out. We settled on this design:

Using the Logo

Once we settled on a logo design, I started designing business cards. Initially I went to Vistaprint. I’ve used them before with a Groupon and had good results. But this time I needed more control over the design, and I didn’t have a Groupon. I found their website almost unbearable to use. The site gave me specifications for image uploading, which I followed, and the images still came out too small or too big. It was maddening. Finally our designer recommended I uploaded the designs and made my selections in all of five minutes. The entire order for two sets of five hundred cards cost under one hundred dollars. It ended up being twenty or thirty dollars cheaper than Vistaprint, and the cards arrived two days early. The logo looks awesome, as do the cards.

Now we just need some clients to give them to.


  1. Avatar Gyi Tsakalakis says:

    Now we just need some clients to give them to.

    Don’t hold hold them for prospective clients. Give them to family and friends, your first, and most passionate evangelists.

  2. Avatar Adam Lilly says:

    I like the logo, but wish there was a little more of the blue. You’re right in that it’s going to look good in color or b/w, though – something I hadn’t considered at all with my logo.

    My wife and I designed mine, since I knew I wanted to use the fleur de lis (“flower of the lily”, my last name is Lilly). Then just recently, my new business card printers (a local place called Brandywine Printing) did a vector rendering of it for me. So now I’ve got awesome cards and (I think) an awesome logo, done with a reasonable time investment and a ridiculously cheap monetary investment ($72 for rendering the logo and printing 1,000 nice, heavy weight cards with color).

    • Avatar Josh C. says:

      The blue really pops on our business cards. For that we did the logo with a brown background, blue font, and then the blue accents as well.

      That’s awesome that you were able to design your own. I have zero artistic ability, so that wasn’t an option for me.

  3. Avatar shg says:

    Sigh A logo? That’s nice. But don’t you think someone would be more inclined to retain you if you were able to cross a witness?

    “So Joe, did you get a good lawyer?”
    “Yeah, Sid. You should see his logo.”
    “Has he ever tried a case?”
    “Well, no, but the blue in his logo really pops.”

    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      You have to start somewhere. A logo may not be a critical part of serving clients, but if you are going to have a set of business cards, they might as well look good.

      • Avatar shg says:

        You do indeed have to start somewhere. That somewhere isn’t a logo. I bet you can guess where the right place to start might be. Hint: competence.

        No one ever in the history of the law hired a criminal defense lawyer because of his logo. No one. Ever.

        • Avatar Karin C. says:

          Having a successful logo is not meant to be a reflection of your competence, and no one is suggesting that it is. It is meant to be a representation of your brand and reputation and a method for clients to cut through the clutter of competing messages. A logo is a critical part in the development of any business. SHG, when do you suggest that should Josh be thinking about his logo?

          • Avatar shg says:

            A logo is a critical part of the development of a law practice? That may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.

            • Avatar Adam Lilly says:


              We all know what happened here. Josh and his partner had to choose between working with experienced lawyers and learning the ropes, or designing a logo. Two mutually exclusive things, and we see the direction they went.

              By the way: note the subtle substitution of “business” and “law practice”.

              • Avatar shg says:

                Adam, the logo is meaningless. That Josh felt it something important enough to write about is what makes it an issue. This is not a stage of a new lawyer developing a practice. This is not a stage of any lawyer developing a practice.

                No law practice (which is what we’re talking about here) has ever been successful because it had a logo but no substance. If you can’t grasp this, you have no business being a lawyer.

          • Avatar Jordan says:

            Karin, how does a young lawyer build a “brand and reputation”? Through pretty stationary? Or perhaps by developing a reputation as someone who handles himself with credibility, integrity, and is very competent…?

            Look, I admit it. People buy iPads because they think it makes them look cool and Luis Vuitton stuff for the same reason. That’s the “brand image” – people want something because other people think it looks, like so cool, and they’ll pay more money for it. That’s why Android tablets sell for like half of what an iPad does – because Apple has the best brand image. However, this type of brand image applies to commodities, and it fades over time. (While I still think my Reebok Pump shoes and Members Only jacket are pretty awesome, most people would disagree…)

            However, commodity “brand image” doesn’t apply to lawyers like it does iPads. When a person retains a lawyer, do you think they do it because the lawyer a cool website or a memorable logo? Or do you think they hire a lawyer based on their reputation for knowing what they’re doing?

            When someone needs legal services, the phone call usually starts like this: “I’m about to (lose my house / lose my business / lose my kids / go to jail / get sued for a crapload of money).” Very important stuff is almost always at stake.

            That call is not usually followed up with “Call the guy with the neat logo. All your friends will think you’re like, so cool, if you hire him.”

            That being the case, wouldn’t it make sense for young lawyers focus on, you know, becoming good at what they do…? And developing a reputation for actually being good at being a lawyer, not just having a sweet website?

            And yes, everyone has to start somewhere.

            But a logo…?


            Even though your clients’ friends might think they’re like, so cool, because their lawyer has a swanky business card and logo, I can assure you that looking cool probably won’t be so important to them when they’re in jail, stuck with a big tax lien, or booted from their home. That stuff is kind of a bummer.

            shg (someone who has been doing this for longer than a week) had a good point – focus on developing competence, and then develop a good reputation based on your competence.

            Dropping mad lawyering skills (read: being competent) is your “brand image” (if you want to talk in terms meant for stupid people). Not your logo, website, or stationary. That’s just… stuff.

            People will call you if you’re good at what you do because you’ll be able to help them. So go learn how to be good.

            This idea that lawyers need commodity brand image is just crap. I’d hate to see you buy into it.

            • Avatar Mike Pospis says:

              Being competent and effectively marketing a practice aren’t mutually exclusive. No one is suggesting that a client with an important legal issue will select an attorney based solely on their logo/website and not on the basis of reputation, competence, etc (nice straw man, btw). I do agree with you that lawyers are not ipads. In any event, just curious – how did you settle on your firm’s logo?

              • Avatar Jordan says:

                True story: my partner Leo has been in solo practice for over a year. His friend in New York made him the logo. Apparently there is a story behind it but I’ve never really asked.

                When we partnered up, Leo said “I’m gonna add an ‘S’ to my logo. Now it will be The Fishtown Lawyers instead of The Fishtown Lawyer.” I said, “Okay.”

                The conversation lasted about a minute.

                My feeling on the issue? “Meh.” But if Leo likes it, by all means, go for it.

                Now, you can probably tell that I made the blog myself because the header is a cool picture my wife took from Penn Treaty Park. I didn’t even ask her permission to use it. (but the joke’s on her – she’ll never know because she doesn’t read my blog.)

                Again, it’s not that logos are bad. It’s not that they’re not mutually exclusive of competence (or vice versa).

                They’re just not important.

                Many of the struggling lawyers I know have some of the most polished websites and stationary. Some of the best lawyers I know don’t even have a website, or haven’t touched it since like 2003.

                I wrote about this – my former boss doesn’t even have a website, but his practice is still plugging away. When approached about “getting on board” he said “I have enough clients, thanks, and I don’t want to deal with people looking for a lawyer on the internet.” Yup, he runs almost an exclusively referral based practice. When I called him to discuss this issue, he said something along the lines of “It will just be people calling and wasting your time, most of them wanting free legal advice or with stuff not worth getting involved in. You want people you know, mostly other lawyers, to refer you good clients. They’re the ones that will pay your bills. Then when you do a good job on their matter, they’ll tell their friends to call you when they need a lawyer, so provide everyone with A+ service.”

                It’s quite a different take from “the importance of branding.” Despite not having a website, or even owning one Apple product (not even an iPod) people still call my former boss to handle big cases because he’s got an exceptional reputation.

                And if you care about this sort of thing, the practice of law has rewarded him very nicely. He owns several vacation homes and spends most of his time sailing now.

                Maybe I’m crazy, but he’s one of the people I look up to and try and emulate. He’s the guy I call when I need advice. Because he’s actually done it successfully.

                So, an article about the importance of creating a logo directed at baby lawyers? Give me a break…

                • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

                  I don’t think Josh said a logo is nearly as important as you (and others) seem to think he did. He said he got one for a couple hundred bucks and a little bit of his time. While he is still working a full-time job (in the courthouse) before he starts actively seeking clients.

                  • Avatar Jordan says:

                    Are you suggesting that Josh’s writings are about meaningless subjects?

                    That’s not very nice of you, Sam. Not very nice at all.

                    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

                      No, I’m suggesting that a logo is a perfectly valid thing to do for a new firm, and the fact that Josh wrote about it doesn’t mean he thinks it is the most important thing he will do as a lawyer this year.

                  • Avatar BL1Y says:

                    I was under the impression that he got it for a straight up services trade.

                    Paying a couple hundred bucks for a logo, especially a logo that requires nothing but Photoshop and 5 minutes of time, that’s ridiculous.

          • Avatar BRIAN TANNEBAUM says:

            A logo is a representation of someone’s reputation? Are you kidding me?

            That’s not the stupidest thing I’ve ever read, it’s the stupidest thing ever written. ”


  4. Avatar Brian Cuban says:

    You have a cool logo but no clients. Everyone pay attention. This is how great lawyers are made. It all starts with a logo.

  5. Avatar John says:

    Whoa shg…you need to get laid dude. Google any successful firm, big or small, and check their website. Tell me they don’t have a simple logo. Marketing is a big part of having a successful practice. People who hustle succeed. Smartass snarky people like yourself may be great lawyers, but will never make it rain.

    No law practice has ever had sustained success without getting results. But you can’t have success without getting clients. Laypersons googling a criminal defense attorney after getting busted for a DUI are judging everything. If the only thing the author had was a logo, he probably wouldn’t make it. I’m sure he has a decent bio too.

    • Avatar BRIAN TANNEBAUM says:

      John, you have any idea about shg’s practice, who his clients are or his reputation?

      I didn’t think so kiddo.

    • Avatar Ken says:

      There’s a name for clients who choose their defense lawyer based on logos, website design, social networking, and vapid Gen-Y cheerfulness:


    • Avatar CA says:

      SHG “will never make it rain”. That is the stupidest thing written here by far.

    • Avatar BL1Y says:

      Here’s Skadden’s:

      Does that count as a logo? If so, then yes, every firm has their name written on their site, and we use a language that has a visual component, so every firm has a “logo.”

      But, it’s not true that every successful firm has something that’s more designed than that.

  6. shg: Quit hatin.

    Camson: Well done.

    • Avatar Jordan says:

      Ah yes, “hatin'”. Clearly, shg’s comments were meant as a vicious attack on Josh, meant nothing more than to be mean to him. Surely, shg was not trying to offer constructive criticism or to try and get Josh to think about stuff from a different perspective.

      No, shg’s sole intent was to destroy Josh, because he’s just so worried that over 20 years practicing law and developing a great reputation will be destroyed by Josh’s uber sweet logo.

      All those satisfied clients, all those impressed judges, and all of those jury trials will just be overlooked by Josh’s “badass, fun, and professional” logo. And it scares shg, terrifies him, because he’s worried about his own practice. So shg lashes out at Josh in anger to try and destroy Josh, praying that his own clients won’t abandon him for the guy with the sweet logo…

  7. Avatar Karin C. says:

    @Brian – a brand is the reputation – the logo is the supporting representation of the brand. This is Marketing basics, not stupid. For example, are you trying to establish your reputation as someone who calls people stupid because you don’t have a better argument? This is preschool tactics, not something I would expect from a lawyer, and is establishing a reputation of yourself in my mind, one that if I come across your name again will be memorable. Not unlike a brand.

    @Jordan – Yes, absolutely a reputation is built with all of those things (credibility, competence, etc.). I never said a logo creates reputation or is a reason for a client to call. Brand building is more complex than that and a logo is one supporting part of the brand. The key here is the logo is supporting. No one is expecting the logo to make the sale. Brand images definitely do not only apply only to commodities, look around and you’ll see thousands of service based companies who spend billions on their brand. I agree that being competent is one part of your brand image, but your logo, website, stationery isn’t just “stuff”, it is the visual representation of your brand. Brands that are successfully created (consistent throughout all practices and materials) are proven to be more successful and proven in monetary valuation of brands.

    @Adam – What’s wrong with calling a law firm a business? It wouldn’t hurt a lot of lawyers to start thinking more like MBAs.

    • Karin, how long ago did you pass Professional Responsibility for lawyers? Can you identify the Model Rule or applicable rule in your state that discusses how lawyers may identify themselves to the public? If not, you have little business telling licensed lawyers about their “brands” or “identities.”

      Yes, it’s true that some services are “branded.” Serv-Pro – the people who clean houses after fires and hazmat damage – they are branded. JiffyLube is branded, they provide a service, their logo/trademark is visible from across the highway. But we aren’t a disaster cleanup company (not that kind of disaster anyway.) We aren’t a semi-impulse buy like a can of Coke. Hell, our clients often don’t want anyone to see them walking into our offices or out; people aren’t embarrassed to go to JiffyLube but no one wants to be bump into a friend while walking into a lawyer’s office, a sperm bank or the like, with some “logo” hanging over the front door. In most states, law firms must have attorney surnames in them unless a waiver is issued, because legal services are personal services even when done by megafirms.

      What we do isn’t visually presented or visually delivered, packaged on a shelf or sold through cold-calling (prohibited.) The logo doesn’t sit openly on the coffee table next to the latest New Yorker when Jane from next door comes over; we don’t want Jane to know that we hired a lawyer for a divorce or because our screw-up son got caught dealing weed at State U, and revealing the substance of that communication may affect privilege. The logo may be useful just to have the card itself look better or the website look very slightly better, but please.

      We aren’t publicly traded companies; our names are on every piece of paper and every message that matters, including those addressed to us from counterparties, the Bar Association, the bench, Bar Counsel and most of all our clients. We already have our “identities”; our mothers issued them to us on our birth certificates. Anything more fits both definitions of the English word “vanity”, meaning both “full of ourselves” and “a waste of time.”

    • Avatar BL1Y says:

      “What’s wrong with calling a law firm a business? It wouldn’t hurt a lot of lawyers to start thinking more like MBAs.”

      It might hurt a lot of clients though.

  8. Avatar BRIAN TANNEBAUM says:


    Cut the crap. You’re a lawyer marketer. You would brand any lawyer that would pay you.

    You know nothing about me or my reputation, that’s obvious. You should know though that nothing you say or do will ever have an effect on my reputation or my practice. Now go play with those lawyers who are too stupid to realize there are other ways to build a reputation than paying some marketer.

  9. Avatar John says:

    You are a hypocrite. Your own website is filled with your logo and other bs marketing, such as the “super lawyer” designation everyone buys. If you want to be Mr. High and Mighty take your website offline, get rid of your TWO blogs and e-books, stop your little makreting lecture on “what every civil lawyer needs to know about criminal law” and just use your reputation. Your website sucks too. Picture looks like you have hair plugs. And I would separate the “over” from the “30”. It’s not one word.

    • Avatar BRIAN TANNEBAUM says:

      Aw, what happened “John,” couldn’t come up with a coherent thought? I understand, you’re wounded, so let me help you try to break away from the other children who love to try to say “Big bad Brian is a hypocrite (number 495):

      Logos are fine. Important? No. That my firn, Tannebaum Weiss has a, well, “TW” in a blue circle, I can tell you in 10 years has mean’t something. That we tell young lawyers trying to build a practice that it’s important, is garbage.

      Superlawyers, etc… yeah, you apparently have never heard me speak. So here goes it – plaster all that stuff on your site. Clients love it. Does it matter? Not to me, not to other lawyers (the bulk of my referral base), but clients like it. If they ever ask about it or mention it ( I think 2 have in 17 years ) I tell them I think that stuff is garbage. So putting it on my site gives me a chance to educate people that think it’s meaningful. Nice? Sure, just like a logo. Important to building a practice? Not to me, John.

      Blogs and ebooks are about content – do you know what content is John? Has your SEO or marketing hack explained that, or are you just banging your head against the wall wondering why you can’t get to the front page of google even though you have no reputation, ability to write anything that makes sense, or otherwise be relevant?

      Myr little makreting lecture on “what every civil lawyer needs to know about criminal law?” Last time I did that I think was 2005, which I think was the 4th time I did it. and then another lawyer, um, the other criminal lawyer (competition) I invited to speak with me in the presentation, took it over himself. Do you know how many clients I got from that, John? Guess? That’s right John, none. I did get a sandwich.

      But if you want to compare speaking engagements to logos, I’m willing to listen.

      And I will fix my website when the clients stop calling. Lawyers that think their website is important in getting the phone to ring, don’t have a ringing phone, they just sit on blogs like this and howl at the moon, hoping someone hears their pain, under which is “I’d like to call this guy and get some advice from him on how he built and maintains his practice.

      Now go write and speak John. Use your real name in places. Be important, Say things that matter to people. Pretend you want to be an important lawyer that people want to hire, instead of some marketing hack that people will look back on and say “who?”

      • Avatar CA says:

        Looks like “John” has been Tannebaumed and I love it! At least Brian and SHG put their balls on the line every day with what they say, write and do. They are an open book. Their web sites aren’t anything to write home about (sorry guys) but who cares. I’d gladly have a boring web site and have a fraction of their practice. Not one of my clients has ever said, “I’m hiring you because of your logo” — not one ever.

      • Avatar guest says:

        Did I just hear you say that you put the Superlawyers designation on your site so that you can educate clients about how pointless it is?

        “So putting it on my site gives me a chance to educate people that think it’s meaningful.”

        LOL, LOL, LOL!!!!

        Brian is the proverbial Reverend who, when caught at the whorehouse with his pants down, calmly explains that he is there to minister to the souls of prostitutes.


        • yeah, you got me. Damn.

          Now listen anonymous, let me help you. I said clients love it. I also said it gives me a chance to explain the irrelevance of it when asked. I never said that was the reason I put it there.

          I know, you don’t understand.
          Now go celebrate “getting” me

  10. Avatar Lyle Jones says:

    I knew I was doing it wrong. I started off taking appointed cases, along with simple stuff from family and friends. I did that for a year.

    I then took a position with the Public Defender. They offered me the job because they knew I was a hard worker, and that I wanted to learn. I practiced. I took courses. I went to trial. I read and tried everything I could get my hands on. I made it a point to stick with a seasoned PD when I could.

    I left the PD’s office just over a year ago to move in with a local firm with a solid reputation. We still don’t have a logo, though. I’ll get right on that.

    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      That’s great you were able to get a job. Many people starting a law firm today are doing so because they can’t get a job.

      So with that off the table, how should a lawyer just starting out get some experience, if not by representing clients? And how should a lawyer just starting out get clients if not with a little marketing?

      Maybe a logo will help Josh and his partner get clients in the door. Maybe it won’t. If it doesn’t, he hasn’t lost much. If it does, then he can work on getting that experience, with the help of his mentors and colleagues.

      • Avatar Lyle Jones says:

        Where did you read that I started off with a job? I started off taking appointed cases. I worked hard, on my own, for a year and THEN got a job with the PD’s office.
        How did I get clients? I introduced myself to the Courts and started taking on appointed work. I introduced myself to other lawyers who referred me some simple stuff. I introduced myself to the public defenders, and asked for help when I needed it.

        • Avatar guest says:

          Lynn’s story is a great one, and I wish her well.

          But Sam is right, many new lawyers can’t find a job.
          Lynn’s story could have turned out differently. She could have found mentor/co-counsel to share the fee with who would have supervised her until she picked it up. Both are acceptable paths.

          The danger that Lynn is now in is that she”ll spend years working for a small lawyer and never build a lucrative practice of her own.

          It only takes a few years to pick up small law. I learned virtually everything one needs to know about small law in 3 years as a prosecutor, and then went out on my own.

  11. Avatar Steve says:

    Wow, who knew lawyers could be so argumentative?

    What I take away from this is that the article is part of a running column called “The Shingle Life.” It’s about starting out. It’s about a Shingle. Doesn’t your shingle need a logo? (Note: even if you just write your name on the shingle with a crayola, that’s still your logo. Just not a particularly effective one.)

    Being a lawyer isn’t a business? I think it is…but it seems to me that many of us here want to think of it as “so much more than a business”, or a “higher calling”, or something like that. Which I could allow, I suppose – lawyers are vital to our society. But isn’t the point, on some level, to earn a living? Hence it’s either a business, or it’s some sort of very strange charity. I think it must be a business.

    Is “lawyerin'” really the only part of this business? Isn’t accounting part of the business? Isn’t reception (answering the phones?) Point being, there are a billion facets to running a successful business of any size….and marketing is surely one of them. Putting together a nice logo and a nice website is not the be-all and end-all of being a lawyer (or running a supermarket), but it doesn’t hurt either. It’s definitely not a step in the wrong direction, as almost seems to be implied (or explicitly stated) by many here. It’s part of a very loong process of turning that shingle into a boardroom.

    If it wasn’t part of your particular process, that’s fine…but to say that having a logo and having competence are mutually exclusive is mutually exclusive is just delusional. I’m surprised that Mr. Greenfield and others here feel that they only way to come up is the exact way they did it. Fact is there are a lot of different ways to shear the sheep in any given profession, and we shouldn’t expect Josh to do it any way but what his skill, talent, and ethics dictate.

    Moreover, what I would expect out of a group of professionals reading and responding to the writing of a young colleague is encouragement and constructive criticism, not all these ad hominem attacks on the author and one another. Josh – and all the other youngins’ just graduating law schools across the nation – deserve more from us than this. So good job with the logo Josh, I’m glad you only invested minimal $ and time into it, which is more than I can say for many of the “real lawyers” making comments down here.

    • Avatar Jordan says:

      “I think it is…but it seems to me that many of us here want to think of it as “so much more than a business”, or a “higher calling”, or something like that.”

      Oh, Steve. I am now a little dumber from having read your comment.

      Brace yourself, because you might need to take this sitting down, but some of us appreciate that our clients’ liberty, homes, children, and businesses are often at stake.

      Providing legal services is just a tad bit different than selling Apple products. I know this might shock some people, but really, it’s true.

      Ad hominem attacks? I don’t think anyone has attacked Josh personally. He seems like a nice kid, although his beard could use a little work. (it’s very hard to find a good beard mentor in this economy – trust me).

      However, if you think Josh will benefit from a pony and a pat on the head every time he writes something, you’re sorely mistaken. This isn’t exactly the right profession for getting lots of hugs, considering what’s at stake…

  12. Avatar Mike Pospis says:

    Interesting discussion. I still don’t understand, though, why some people insist on responding to arguments that were never made.

    No one is saying that clients will (or should) hire an attorney “because of” their logo, that competence and experience are irrelevant in the Internet Age, or that a logo is either necessary or sufficient for success in the law. Competence and experience have been, are, and will always be a bright line separating successful from unsuccessful lawyers.

    Obviously a snappy logo will, and rightly so, not matter one bit to a criminal defendant whose liberty (or worse) is at stake. It may, however, be one factor relevant to a fashion design company looking for an IP lawyer to manage its trademark portfolio.

    I once had a prospective sexual harassment plaintiff tell me that they found me online through a google search, and that what led them to call me (as opposed to another lawyer) was the fact that I had an engineering degree which, in their view, indicated an “attention to detail” (their words). While my technical background, on its face, may not have anything to do with “the practice of law” or “starting a practice”, it mattered to that client.

    • Avatar shg says:

      You seem to answer your own question, twice. You recognize that a logo is utterly meaningless to a criminal defense lawyer. Whether it would help with an IP firm isn’t at all clear, but that’s not at issue here. There may well be some exception that deviates from the rule, but as long as we remember the rule, that’s what matters. That said, I doubt even a design firm could care less about a logo. They aren’t looking for lawyers with great aesthetics, but great skill.

      Competence and a logo are not mutually exclusive. They are also not on the same spectrum. Competence is necessary. A logo is just a goofy affectation. Have one or not, it’s irrelevant. To elevate something as frivolous as a logo to anything bearing upon the development of a law practice reflects seriously misguided priorities. That’s where this went wrong.

      And the second time is where you note your engineering degree helped you to gain a client’s confidence. Do you compare your engineering degree to a logo? The former is substantive, and that’s the point. Your education does matter. A logo does not.

      And that’s the problem.

      • Avatar Wannabe Lawyer says:

        shg, as much as I disagreed with your delivery in the prior comments, I do however agree with what you are stating here.

        A bunch of the lawyers I was introduced to when I clerked for a criminal court didn’t have fancy logos or awesome business cards. Most of them got clients by word of mouth. When my brother came to me seeking help from a public intoxication charge, I referred him to the lawyers that everyone TALKED about, knew and respected, and told him to shop around from there.

        While logos are important for making yourself appear established, a criminal defense practice doesn’t need a great logo to drive focus/clients. It’s cool that you have one, don’t get me wrong, but at the end of the day, your clients are going to remember if you got them a good deal/avoided jail/etc etc, and THAT’S how your business is going to grow.

  13. I kind of go back and forth on the logo stuff – I have a whole bunch of law firm logos and I’m not really crazy about any of them (I’d love to use the Evernote logo because it is sympatico with my last name).

    Anyway, my feeling is – for law firms and companies – that unless a logo really, truly distinctive – not just a color scheme or odd squiggle — then why bother? Eventually, your reputation will make your logo distinctive, rather than the other way around. There’s nothing particularly distinctive about the Google logo but everyone recognizes it because of what Google has become. If the Google logo were 12 point Times New Roman font, the same would probably be true and we’d still recognize it anywhere.
    Anyway, if you like the look of your card, or compare it to other lawyers, take a look at the – and drop yours in too.

  14. Avatar mark z says:

    I tend to be a little more basic and have a few suggestion and anecdotes.

    I practice in Georgia. My twitter name, my blog, all have Georgia in it. My business card – for GA clients – has the outline of the state. mytagline – same thing.

    As to your logo: There is no right or wrong IMHO. It’s part of the whole process when it comes to marketing and PR – the right phone #, a website that does not suck, letterhead.

    My own preference is to have a tagline as part of it. Mine is “helping consumers across Georgia.”

    One anecdote- we also use a name with a logo-ish brand like W|z . Interestingly, many clients have handwritten envelopes using this simple logo to us. So, a least our clients get it.

    Now, on to competence – clearly that trumps a logo. Candidly, unless you have a swoosh, or you are CNN, a logo is 1% of the job. No one remembers your .com.

    Take the logo, add it to google places, google local, and adwords.

    After 10 years or so with my logo, I don’t even think about it. It’s just like any other tool in the office- not as important as our telephone number, but used like a lamp or a letter opener.

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