The Confession: Why We Changed Our Firm’s Name

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I’ve decided to spill the beans and tell why we changed the name of our firm such a short time after we had changed it before. For those of you not in the know, here is the recap: what is now Attenza Law was called Lundquist & Lange up until June 30, 2010. On July 1, 2010 the Lundquist (me) and Lange (my former business partner) decided that it was time to go our separate ways and Avanti Law was born. Then on December 1, 2010, the name was changed yet again to Attenza Law. We promise that this will be the last name change!

But it begs the question of why did we change from Avanti Law to Attenza Law, especially when Avanti Law was such a nice name? The answer is a bit embarrassing, especially for an attorney. But it is a good lesson about how you can be blinded when you act as your own advocate and take matters into your own hands, rather than trusting an outside professional.

When I chose the name Avanti Law, which I really liked, I knew that there was an Avanti Law Group in Michigan that had just set up shop. I was advised not to chose the name because it was so similar to what I wanted. But I didn’t listen, in my typical fashion (I can be rather bull-headed). I rationalized it to myself that the names were different: Avanti Law. Avanti Law Group. The other firm is in Michigan. I am in Minnesota. Law firms are local businesses. But with the internet, nothing is local anymore.

It wasn’t long before I got a cease and desist letter from the Avanti Law Group. A client of theirs had come across my website and asked if they had opened an office in Minnesota. They told me that if I didn’t stop using the name, they would sue me. I certainly didn’t want to be involved in a lawsuit in Michigan, or even in Minnesota for that matter. So on December 1, I officially changed the name to Attenza Law. This time, I am on sounder trademark ground. There is only one other business in the world that is named Attenza. They are located in Spain and sell duty-free goods. In the end, it worked out fine. The Michigan law group and I dealt with the matter in a very amicable way, and I have a stronger trade name.

But the lesson in all of this? You can be your own worst enemy! Consult with a professional, even if you are a professional yourself. Listen to third-party advice that isn’t as invested as you in your business idea. Take outside suggestions, criticism and input to heart and seriously consider them. These outsiders will often have a better perspective than you about your business and the choices you should make.

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