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For more than a century, it was one of the plums offered to partners at big law firms, along with a corner office, a secretary and a generous expense account. But lawyers in South Florida can no longer expect their last name to become part of a law firm moniker, living on forever in signs, letterhead and pleadings. That’s because, in the past few years, law firms have become more marketing-savvy and have realized that members of the public can’t remember six or seven names — particularly names that are difficult to parse and pronounce. So, sacrificing the egos of their partners, the firms have shortened their names to three or two names — or, less common, one. Thus, in 1998, Miami’s Greenberg Traurig Hoffman Lipoff Rosen & Quentel became just Greenberg Traurig. Earlier this year, Akerman Senterfitt Eidson in Miami became Akerman Senterfitt. Last week, Heinrich Gordon Hargrove Weihe & James in Fort Lauderdale became Gordon Hargrove & James. The latest firm to adopt a more user friendly handle is Ruden McClosky in Fort Lauderdale. The 180-member firm still will be known as Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell on its official pleadings. But its signs, endorsements, business cards and stationery now read simply “Ruden McClosky.” Broward County’s largest firm chopped its name after repeated suggestions by Rob Heffron, the firm’s director of marketing. For years, the firm has allowed its receptionist to answer the phone, “Ruden McClosky,” and it was informally known by that name on the street. “We have for some time been concerned about the length of the name of the firm,” Ruden McClosky managing partner Carl Schuster said. “We figure if the public doesn’t remember the last names in the title, they won’t remember any part of it.” Heffron and his marketing colleague, Maureen Berkowitz, were pushing for a one-name title — Ruden. But convincing three name partners — Schuster, Harry B. Smith and Terry Russell to agree to have their names lopped off was a hard enough sell without having to convince the fourth — Donald McClosky. “You wouldn’t be happy if your name was being taken off the firm,” Berkowitz explained. “It was a matter of building consensus among senior people,” Heffron said. But at least one South Florida law firm says marketing be damned. It is keeping the longest name in the area — Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock McNelis Lieberman & McKee. And it won’t be shortening that mouthful any time soon. “We’ve talked about it,” partner Walter “Skip” Campbell said. “But the guys have to have some name recognition and this is it.”

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