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Brand consultancy compares merged law firms to cocktails

Intangible Business says bringing two or more firms together is similar to how mixologists create cocktails

28 July 2014

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A brand valuation consultancy has likened top firms such as Norton Rose Fulbright and Berrymans Lace Mawer to cosmopolitans and mocktails, respectively, to "highlight the brand management issues at stake when firms enter into merger negotiations".

Intangible Business suggests that a key consideration often missing from the merger agenda is how the brand functions as part of the merger process.

"Merger negotiations are run by individuals who have been integral in building a firm over a number of years and this often clouds their judgment when it comes to merging the brands," says Intangible Business in its 'Law firm mergers: a tasty concoction?' report.

The consultancy says that firms often play it on the safe side, by simply joining the two firms' names together, rather than considering what name reflects the identity and capabilities of the newly merged firm. "A brand represents a short-hand for the values it represents, and when merging two firms, these values and a clear message can often be lost."

After consulting with law firm clients, other merged firms were partnered with their alias cocktail:

Slater & Gordon, formerly made up of four major firms, including Pannone and Fentons, is reported to be equivalent to a Long Island Ice Tea, "A strong tipple with lots of ingredients that you can continue adding to".

DWF, a blend of DWF and Cobbetts, is the Cuban speciality, a mojito, and both drink and firm are described as "A classic mainstay".

Newsome Vaughn, Marrons and Shakespeares who all merged under the name Shakespeares, have been likened to James Bond's preferred beverage a shaken and not stirred Martini.

Squire Patton Boggs, a consolidation of Squire Sanders and Patton Boggs, emulates the city that never sleeps in its cocktail-counterpart, a Manhattan, and is described as having "a strong US flavour".

Intangible Business says that law firm branding is undergoing a "revolution" and that while it was a traditional method to join the name of partners when firms merged, this is becoming an increasingly archaic method of presenting the new expanded firm.

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