Is your law firm name social media friendly?

Have you adapted your name for the different social media platforms – especially Twitter?

As a former lawyer turned communication coach and consultant I spend a lot of time (maybe too much time) analyzing best practices around the world – how law firms are using social media.


I’m amazed at how some progressive firms are “ahead of the pack” in adapting to social media.

I also see how many large firms are slow to adapt – thinking their size with protect them from having to change.

Little things can have a big impact

For example, when I analyse a law firm’s social media – I look at whether they have a shortened name (for social media) or if they still hang on to their old name in full.

I know I keep “banging on” about the firm King & Wood Mallesons – but I do so because in my professional opinion they demonstrate best practices in social media.

I am not connected with the firm in any way. They do not need MY law firm social media help – the firm is already so socially media savvy!

Their Twitter “handle” is @kwmlaw – and with twitter, brevity is vital.

I will not mention any names (my old cautious lawyer instincts) – but many law firms still cling to the “old ways) – they have their full names ( NAME  & NAME & NAME & NAME )

What difference does a shorter name make?

 When writing with a 140-character limit – writing your firm name in full takes up valuable space.

I see major law firms taking up valuable space with their full name.

With your social media name, brevity is important :

  1. in your twitter “handle” (address) – it helps with Retweets AND when someone is messaging you, if gives them more space (characters) for their message
  2. in the actual tweet message – more space for you to write your message
  3.  and (I know it sounds superficial but…)  it projects an image of adapting to the modern world

When kwmlaw tweets:

  1. The firm name is a shortened version
  2. In this example below the firm name describing the partner – also serves as the address for a direct message
  3. They also put the link part way through the tweet rather than tagged on to the end
  4. Often they will use the abbreviation KWM in  actual tweets too (even shorter than kwmlaw)

I do notice some KWM tweets write out the firm name in full.

I’m guessing these tweets are written by a more “old school” lawyers (not necessarily older in age – just in mindset!)

Here’s the tweet example:

‪@kwmlaw partner Larry Kwok has been appointed ‪  to the newly formed Hong Kong Competition Commission

Caveat Tweetor! (sic)

I know many lawyers find the shortened names distasteful and even “offensive” .

training in boot - injury

 (the crutches are not the result of adverse lawyer reaction – from a torn Achilles injury!)


I get lots of resistance  from “old school” lawyers with amusingly articulate and indignant comments such as:


“We are a law firm – not a rap group!”


“We are a law firm – not KFC!”


Some lawyers like to resist the tide of change – others adapt.

I argue my case with with evidence:

Other Australian firms with the shortened twitter handles include:

Exhibit A: Gilbert & Tobin  = gtlaw

Actually, on Twitter they are Gilbert + Tobin  (how “modern” – how Florence + The Machine and Romeo + Juliet!)

Younger readers will probably get the reference

Exhibit B: . Barry.Nilsson = BN_lawyers

It’s harder to abbreviate when your firm name is just one person’s name – but if it’s a longer name you should still try to abbreviate.

It’s interesting to note that with so many global mergers – many law firms are opting to go with just one name.  – or just two names.

In the past, having many names was a sign of strength (and necessary to appease all the different parties involve!)

In the modern age simplicity and brevity are vital.

For example:

Allens Arthur Robinson became Allens.


They do “spend space” clarifying that they are Allens the Law firm – not to be confused with the Allens (sweets and lollies)

Some firms think they are being progressive by just dropping the & and just running the names together . On twitter this saves 3 characters – the & and a space either side.

Such a move is on the right track – but  abbreviating further  (e.g. X&Y) can save space in the actual tweets.

So take a look at how your law firm refers to itself in social media.

Can YOUR firm shorten its name for social media ?

In a future post, I’ll analyse how some law firms are differentiating themselves with “slogans” and even using their slogan in social media addresses.

I know a slogan is longer than abbreviated law firm name – but using the slogan as the twitter handle has the advantage of driving home the branding message.

Exhibit A:

Maurice Blackburn


Exhibit B:

A US firm that specialises in Wills & Probate has the twitter handle  @probatebusters

Now, I’m not suggesting Australian firms are ready for this US level of  legal marketing daring yet – but I think  @probatebusters  cleverly and strategically taps into the power of CONTRAST and POP CULTURE.

Imagine you are an everyday person (not a lawyer) and you have a probate problem. Who ya gonna call?


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So why do lawyers need to be likeable anyway?

Lawyers often get a bad rap ( perceived as dry, detached and  dispassionate) – yet they can change their image and be more likeable.

In these competitive times –  to attract and retain clients, lawyers need to show more than  just their legal expertise.

They need to create greater connections with existing and potential clients.

Lawyers need to be more likeable.

1. by showing what they have in common with their audience ( how they are LIKE their audience).

2. by revealing just a bit of their human and private side – what things in life they LIKE.

Lawyers in the US now list things (outside of work) that they LIKE and are passionate about.

Social Media Savvy law firms are creating more shareable and likeable content.

Legal websites are more audience-focussed and dare to stand out from the old stodgy legal image.

Who is writing this?


Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti. When I was a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland – I found the working as a lawyer too dull, so I “escaped”  for an adventure-filled career as a TV reporter and Defence Correspondent – and even a political speechwriter and media adviser.


Since 2004 I’ve been an international presentation and writing coach and consultant helping leading Australian and global businesses.

I use my media and social media skills to help professionals (including lawyers) communicate and persuade more effectively by “connecting” with their audience.