The name Gibbons connotes in other realms a natural foods guru or a simian species, but in New Jersey it’s the new name of an 80-year-old law firm � and it will soon be emblazoned atop one of Newark’s tallest towers.
The firm once known as Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione � which later replaced the Crummy with Gibbons � will now be simply Gibbons.
Next month, the firm moves to sumptuous new digs at One Gateway Center near Penn Station, a skywalk away from its present offices at the Legal Center. Part of the deal with the new landlord calls for the building to bear the name Gibbons in tall, backlit letters on the top-story east and south facades. The signs will go up in mid-February, weather permitting, says Managing Director Patrick Dunican.
In conjunction with the move, Gibbons has designed a new logo that will appear on its stationery, on a revamped Web site and on the building itself.
The name change took years of market research and untold consultants’ fees. Truncating 14 syllables to two is seen as fostering brand recognition and aiding foreign clients who may have trouble with the full name, Dunican says.
Suggested revisions were run by the firm’s attorneys, clients and alumni. One idea considered was Gibbons Del Deo, as some partners were reluctant to give up all links to the past. But in the end, the firm chose Gibbons in tribute to John Gibbons, who returned to the firm in 1990 after 20 years on the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We think Gibbons is just right because of who it represents,” Dunican says. “John Gibbons has been a towering legal figure in New Jersey and across the nation for many years.” Gibbons still practices with the firm, as do Ralph DelDeo, John Dolan, Michael Griffinger and Frank Vecchione.
Gibbons signed a 12-year lease for 103,000 square feet on five and a half floors at One Gateway, which will accommodate 180 lawyers. Individual offices will be smaller than in the current space, but public areas such as the lunchroom and attorney lounge will be more commodious. The firm says it moved because One Gateway � from which it moved in 1990 � offers favorable leasing rates and more convenient parking than the Legal Center.
A controversy that erupted last summer over plans for the Gibbons signs going up on One Gateway seems to have settled down. Some other law firms in the building, who objected to seeing a competitor’s name affixed to their building, wrote letters of protest to the landlord. Dunican referred questions about the status of the controversy to One Gateway’s owner, Advance Realty, whose spokesman David Brooks said only that the sign had not prompted any tenants to depart or file suit.
The firm expects to complete the move over a Friday-to-Monday weekend. Since the new space includes all-new furniture, computers and phones, only files need to be relocated, says Dunican.