Lawyers & the name game

From Roll on Friday 19/04/11:

One's a Canadian tween singing sensation with a penchant for bowl cuts and slightly controversial anti-abortion soundbites; the other is a slope-shouldered lawyer from Pennsylvania with a penchant for personal injury and "creative litigation tactics". What they both share is the same name - Justin Bieber.

Justin M Bieber Esq., Attorney at Law - who "positions clients for the best possible results" and the value of whose hair is currently unknown.

Justin Beiber lawyer

I think being the namesake of Justin Beiver (sorry - Freudian slip) Beiber is a bit of  a tough gig and, all things being equal, I don’t think it would do much for your legal career.

While it would probably generate plenty of additional traffic for your law firm’s website, it’s safe to assume it wouldn’t be very relevant.  Plus, do you want your staff directory pages to be a point and giggle arena for the internet browsing public?

But that led me on to think: is a lawyer’s name important?

Are clients more inclined to hire people for legal representation with tough, ruthless sounding names or is having a soft, approachable kind of name best?

I think it’s safe to rule the following out, no matter what the answer:

Wright, Judge & Jury | Attorneys at Law

Howe, Dewey, Cheatem & Wynn | Attorneys at Law

Susan Liddy-Gates | Attorney at Law

Yadda, yadda, yadda.  Eye rolling smile

Or how about this one? 


Hmmm… it’s a kind of chicken & egg question isn’t it?


But actually, there might really be something in this:

From Nancy’s Baby Names 20/08/09 (yes, REALLY):

Female Lawyers with Masculine Names Fare Better

A new pair of studies suggest that women with masculine names fare better in legal careers than women with feminine names.

The findings, published in the American Law and Economics Review, indicate that female lawyers with masculine names are more likely to be appointed as judges and earn more money than female lawyers with feminine names.

Not only that, but these likelihoods become stronger as the “masculinity” of the name increases. (A gender-neutral name has the weakest effect, while a name used almost exclusively for males has the strongest effect.)

Co-author Bentley Coffey [come again?] was so swayed by the outcome of his own study and he and his wife — who happens to be lawyer — named their daughter Collins.

Stone the crows!! I don’t think a chap called Bentley Coffey can ever be safely regarded as an authority on naming children.

One of the commenters thoughtfully pointed out:

[I]t seems to me that most classic female names — Catherine, Margaret, Jane, Anne, Kate, etc. — would do better professionally, generally speaking, than more ‘frivolous’ names like Brandy, Misty.

I don’t think it’s the case of Brandy and Misty being regarded as frivolous, but rather they’re just more suited for girls aspiring to be porn stars rather than lawyers. 

But I kind of take the point.

Anyhow, do you regard YOUR Christian first name to be an advantage or a drawback to your legal career?

Put another way, do you blame or thank your parents? Be right back


  1. Fascinating. I'll have to thank my parents.
    If we want our sons to be lawyers, avoid 'Scooter' and 'Junior'?
    How does 'Michael' fare? (Also the name of the attorney I work for: seems to work well for him.)

  2. Interesting... I suppose there are worse names out there!

    I've always had an absolute hatred for 'Mike' ... anybody who ever tries to shorten my name quickly learns not to when I recoil with a cringing shudder and shoot them an evil look.

  3. Hello! Soon-to-be lawyer here (taking the big, bad, bar exam this summer). Looking forward to following your blog now, and I hope you'll do the same!

    ~ MLU

  4. MLU - I've added you to my US blawgroll & subscribed to your RSS feed.

    Thanks for stopping by - always great to discover new blogs! ;-)


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