Rebranding Your Law Firm: How a 150-Year-Old Firm Gave Itself a Makeover

by JD Supra Perspectives

Two of our attorneys spoke at an industry conference in 2014. We encourage speaking and teaching opportunities, and this was a chance for us to showcase our legal abilities and expand the visibility of our firm. However, when the moderator introduced our attorneys, one attorney was introduced as being from “BABC,” while the other was introduced as being from “Bradley Arant.” The audience, unless they were intimately familiar with our firm, did not understand that the two presenting attorneys were with the same firm. It became clear at that moment that a change had to be made.

" attorney was introduced as being from 'BABC,' while the other was introduced as being from 'Bradley Arant.'"

The decision to rebrand our firm with the single-word moniker “Bradley” was a process that affected every facet of the organization, from the exterior signs of our nine offices to our letterhead and pens. (In fact, when we started the rebranding process, we had only eight offices. The undertaking actually made the opening of our ninth office – our Houston space – much easier.) But the 18-month process was worth the effort, since we – like many law firms today – are facing a marketplace that is continually evolving. For nearly 150 years, we considered ourselves a leading firm, and for that tradition to continue, we knew we had to continue to adapt to today’s environment while still sustaining our culture and core values.

This balancing act of moving the firm forward while still embracing aspects of the past is no easy task. That is why we want to share our experience, hoping that our story can help other firms or businesses that are considering making a similar change. While we were more than delighted with the final result, we encountered highs and lows, exhaustion and exhilaration, difficulties, and finally success. Here’s our story.

Why the Name Change

Changing the name of our firm was a decision that was not made hastily. When we looked at this problem objectively, the decision to rebrand was an easy one because our name suffered confusion in the marketplace. Indeed, if we could not agree on the name of our firm internally, how could we possibly expect our clients and others in the marketplace to know what to call us?

The root of our confusion is one many larger firms face. In 2008, Bradley Arant Rose & White merged with Boult Cummings Conners & Berry. Because neither law firm wanted to risk losing the brand equity each had built over time, the merged law firm was known as Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. While the merger was overwhelmingly successful, one negative was that there was no consistency in what we called ourselves. This led to multiple iterations of our name, including the entire firm name, which was a mouthful, to “BABC,” “Bradley Arant,” and “Boult Cummings.” 

...if we could not agree on the name of our firm internally, how could we possibly expect our clients and others in the marketplace to know what to call us?

We also believed rebranding could provide a greater sense of cohesion across the firm. Since the merger in 2008, the firm had grown to more than 500 attorneys, had opened offices in new cities, and was a super-regional firm with a national reputation. To promote the continuing advancement of the firm, we wanted to project a consistent message; be viewed as a single entity; and promote our strong culture of providing high-quality legal service with integrity, passion, focus, and responsiveness. By creating a consistent name and brand in “Bradley,” we believe we have created a memorable moniker that revitalizes our firm’s image while retaining an element of familiarity.

Finally, we also wanted to make sure that our brand represented a firm that was aware of the times and modern in its aesthetic. We quickly determined that the era of multiple last names was stodgy, outdated and conveyed the wrong message. We liked the idea of existing as a single-word brand and, after some debate, made the decision to rebrand simply as “Bradley.”

How to Get Buy-In

Attorneys, especially more experienced ones, seem to be adverse to any change. And this was not just any change. It was our name, our identity, our brand. We needed buy-in from everyone. Adding to the challenge was the fact that truncating the Bradley name meant removing elements of our history that some of our attorneys had personal attachments to, particularly legacy attorneys who had been with us since our firm’s name was Bradley Arant Rose & White, as well as the legacy attorneys who joined as part of the merger with Boult Cummings Conners & Berry.

The process we undertook was very deliberate. In August 2015, we provided a detailed presentation to the board that not only provided the reasons why the rebrand was necessary, but also provided a detailed strategic plan for how to accomplish it. While this presentation created excitement, it was also met with concern about how the firm as a whole would view the change.

...we provided a detailed presentation that not only provided the reasons why the rebrand was necessary, but also provided a detailed strategic plan for how to accomplish it.

Fortunately, the firm’s biannual Firm Retreat was scheduled for October 2015. This retreat offers the rare opportunity for the entire firm to come together in one location to discuss its successes, challenges, and strategic planning. The board gave us a one-hour time slot to present the rebranding strategy to the firm. Our presentation included visuals that reflected the new “Bradley” logo, the new “Bradley” domain (, and a prototype of our new website. This allowed the firm to visualize the new brand. We answered questions and listened to both praises and recommendations. The rebranding efforts were largely applauded, and we achieved critical buy-in.

From October 2015 until the unveiling of the new brand in April 2016, we updated the firm with monthly progress reports. In March 2016, we visited numerous offices to ensure everyone knew what to expect when the new brand was published. We wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to understand how the new brand would affect them, their office, and the firm as a whole. These presentations were met with guarded optimism.

Informing the Masses

With a shift in branding as significant as ours, there was concern that we might lose some of the brand equity we had built over the years. To try and minimize this, we developed a simple message: “New Look. Same Promise.” We felt this message accurately conveyed to our clients that despite a visual transformation, we were the same experienced professionals they had grown to rely on and trust.

Simultaneous with the new brand launch, we sent multiple communications to our clients that alerted them of the change. Our clients also immediately observed the change in practice, since the firm’s stationery suite, email signatures, domain name, and other external communications contained the new brand. While informing our clients of the change was our top priority, we also focused on apprising the public, which included potential clients, our communities, and even competitors.

...we sent multiple communications to our clients that alerted them of the change.

Most visible was the change in our building signage, which shifted to the new brand over the course of an April weekend. This new signage included the addition of “Bradley” to the Birmingham skyline by affixing the new logo atop our office building there. We also alerted the public of the change via our numerous social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Maximizing Technology

Our final achievement was perhaps the most difficult. Our new website – – launched in June 2016. This was the final piece to the rebranding puzzle, and it required extensive planning and coordination.

To have a successful website, we felt we must first have the appropriate domain. While we were ahead of the curve in registering, we felt that having was a short-term necessity. We were successful in acquiring even though it was originally registered with a foreign corporation.

Once we secured the domain, we concentrated on website design, content, and layout. These were timely tasks that required long hours by both us and our website designer, One North. We also had to focus on consistency across all of our electronic platforms, including our blogs and social media channels. While this smaller group was able to complete these tasks, it took the concerted effort of the firm to complete the website. Each attorney was responsible for new content on their bio page, including updating their experience and sitting for new pictures. Practice group leaders and other leaders of the firm were also called on to update practice pages, industry pages, and other firm pages.

...our [500] attorneys did an exceptional job of pulling together to make our new website a reality. 

While it may seem almost impossible to get 500 attorneys who are focused on their legal practices to take the time to complete these tasks, our attorneys did an exceptional job of pulling together to make our new website a reality.

History Meets the Future

We started the exploration of our new brand in late 2014. Our goal was to provide a consistent and strengthened brand that would position our law firm for continued success in the future. Just a few months since the debut of our new brand, we are already realizing that our firm-wide efforts are paying off. We are now referred to consistently as “Bradley,” both internally and externally, and will have a timeless and recognizable brand that clients will continue to identify with one of the preeminent firms in the nation. “New Look. Same Promise.” Indeed.


[Beau Grenier ( is Bradley’s Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner and Brian O'Dell ( is partner and Chair of Bradley’s Business Development and Marketing Committee.]

Written by:

JD Supra Perspectives

JD Supra Perspectives on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.