Trade names have become a fair game for Ohio law firms

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Law firms in Ohio and the United States are now able to use their trade names for business with a discreet change in state rules in 2020.

Some outfits, like Millersburg’s White Low Office, have since taken the opportunity to bring a new name to the market.

The company renamed itself as follows: Eques, operated by White Law Office in May of this year. According to managing partner Christopher White, this is the Latin word for cavalry or knight, celebrating the legacy of the knight’s chess company, which has been used as a logo since its inception in 2010. Part of this name will be deleted and the company will simply become Eques.

The company has become more than a duo of founded father and son. In addition, White was sensitive to how the original company name was received in the market. Frankly, he’s worried about how people are reacting to the “low white office” and worries the name could be a subtle slander to some people. Noted. Recognizing this was increasingly important as the company expanded beyond its headquarters, including into areas such as Northfield, and strived to attract new customers.

“This brand allows lawyers to be successful. It’s the brand they talk about before they walk into the room, ”White said. “And for us, it shows our core values: honesty, empowerment, innovation and respect. We want to pass them on after us. ”

White couldn’t have done it, but without the efforts of the start-up Utah company LawHQ..

The old standard in the legal industry to take advantage of the tradition was for companies to bear the names of their founding partners. Well known names like Jones Day, Tucker Ellis, BakerHostetler, and Benesch are all derived this way.

This practice affects professional standards consistent with the Code of Ethics. The idea that the names of partners are scattered throughout the company gives a sense of transparency and accountability and prevents the use of other misleading titles.

These rules have evolved slowly over the past decades, but have remained staunch supporters of the old method.

California allowed law firms to use their trade names in 1979. In 1983, the American Bar Association had agreed to a new model rule allowing the adoption of a series of business monicas with surnames and more.

Resistance remained, but the state slowly followed – apparently no one challenged the status quo. Arizona did not allow the use of trade names of law firms until 2013.

This is where Utah businesses come in.

Based in Salt Lake City, Law HQ is a self-proclaimed “low tech” company operating remotely across the country using locally recognized lawyers.

The company mainly focuses on the procedures of telephone spammers. Help This is an app that allows users to report calls and texts as spam, which LawHQ uses to track violators.

The company has proceedings pending in approximately 20 states and Puerto Rico, and plans to obtain attorney licenses in all 50 states in the future. This outfit just hired an attorney in the Cleveland area in recent weeks.

In early 2020, the company and its founder, Thomas Alvord, advocated outdated policies banning trade names in nine states: Ohio, New York, Georgia, India, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, Texas, and Rhode Island. I followed. For legal services companies.

These rules influenced the current practice of two-year-old Alvord, which was in the process of planning a transnational business model. Albad was concerned about actions that could be taken against his company in markets where trade names are banned, such as Ohio.

Once upon a time, the kids were excited to change his last name to “Law HQ” to “half joke, half serious” and bend the rules. His wife didn’t like the idea.

He filed a lawsuit arguing that the rules were too broad to be unconstitutional because the ban on the business name violated the First Amendment.

He finally got the result he was looking for. States changed the rules one by one, after which Albad rejected each procedure.

The Ohio Supreme Court amended the Ohio Code of Business Conduct in June 2020 (without public comment) to remove the ban on business names from legal service providers. Albad withdrew the procedure in Ohio the following month.

October opinion An Ohio expert action committee found that a lawyer like White had gotten a business name and provided new material for the marketing toolkit.

Currently, there are no states in the country where the trade name of a law firm is not permitted (except, of course, for certain nuances).

“(Ohio and other state officials) have noticed. When 41 states had already removed the rule, they banned the business name and confirmed that one of the names belonged to the business partner. How can you really say you need it? When it comes to the big mainstream brands, there are companies like Amazon and Uber, and we wanted something similar. “” In our case, it was Law HQ.

The legal industry and the government sector are not exactly known for their progressive nature. Therefore, such changes in states like Ohio are welcome, White said.

“The rules grow and evolve like this,” he said. “It is essential for us in our mission to provide first class legal services in innovative ways, and it helps us to grow from a cultural and marketing point of view. ”


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