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In midtown Manhattan, the names of most major law firms can usually be found discreetly etched, embossed or carved somewhere in the lobby. But few so far have ventured into the realm of exterior signage. “What I have found with my law firm clients is they don’t want to be too showy,” said Scott Gamber, a senior managing director with real estate firm Insignia/ESG. “They don’t want their clients thinking they own the building.” Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe apparently doesn’t mind being a bit showy. Since last summer, the building housing the San Francisco-based law firm’s New York office, the former Tishman building at 666 Fifth Avenue, has been flanked at its 52nd and 53rd Street entrances by prominent outdoor signs bearing Orrick’s trademark “O” logo. If New York pedestrians come to regard the 39-story tower as the Orrick Building, it will make a nice pair with the law firm’s planned new San Francisco headquarters. The firm Wednesday announced it was leaving its present office in San Francisco’s Old Federal Reserve Building and moving into a newly constructed building by summer 2004. The new 10-story building will be known as the Orrick Building. David Geyer, Orrick’s marketing director, said the firm was not following a plan to have Orrick Buildings in cities around the globe, but the firm would take such opportunities where they arose. He pointed out that the firm’s offices in Silicon Valley and Orange County had prominent outdoor signs. “In California, you can see them from the freeways,” he said. For Geyer, who previously oversaw the massive advertising campaign for Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, there is no question that having a name on a building is a useful way to help build a brand. “I would be surprised, if offered the chance [to name a building], that a business today, with name recognition as important as it is, would turn it down,” he said. At New York’s Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which owns its present building in lower Manhattan but is looking for new space, the naming issue is also seen as important. “We definitely have a preference for it,” said spokeswoman Paula Zirinksy. “We think it’s important to have our name outside the building.” But other firms have less interest in projecting their image in that particular fashion. London-based Clifford Chance recently announced it will move its 450-lawyer New York office into 14 floors on 52nd Street, a space that accounts for slightly more than half the building’s total. But the firm did not seek naming rights for the building, which is presently known as the Deutsche Bank Building, after its current largest tenant. “We didn’t think it was really important,” said Ira Hammerman, a Clifford Chance partner who participated in negotiations over the new space. “I don’t think you get clients by having your name on the building.” But having another firm’s name on the building doesn’t go down well with many firms, either. “What they really care more about is the right to limit other people’s name on the building,” said Gamber, noting that some of his clients had negotiated with landlords to prevent later tenants from acquiring naming rights. Fulbright & Jaworski apparently could not negotiate any such terms, and the Houston-based firm’s roughly 100 New York-based lawyers must now walk past Orrick signs on their way to work at 666 Fifth Avenue. “They can’t be too happy about that,” said Gamber.

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