Two Big Firms Register for .law Domain Name

Photo by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Two of the world’s largest firms, DLA Piper and Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom, have placed reservations to purchase URLs for the new .law domain, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

Thus, Skadden could own, and DLA could own, when it becomes available on Oct. 12.

Every major law firm currently uses the .com domain, and .law marks the latest in a string of efforts to rebrand law firms into a unique domain. Previous efforts have included domains, .lawyer and .attorney, neither of which caught on. At $200 to $500 per year, a big firm has little to lose by purchasing a .law domain.

“I don’t think anyone knows where it will land,” said Stova Wong, chief information officer at Paul Hastings, of the .law domain.

Wong said he intends to buy the URL because it’s a small price to pay for protecting the firm’s brand name and that it “allows us to be more populated on the Internet.”

He added Paul Hastings previously purchased .lawyer and .attorney, but neither have any significant traffic.

The effort to sell firms .law domains is being headed by Lou Andreozzi, the former chairman of Bloomberg Law and onetime CEO of LexisNexis North America. Andreozzi says it is an effort for firms to rebrand themselves on the internet.

“Unlike other top-level domain names, we have a vetting process that ensures that lawyers are in fact the owners of the domain,” he said, noting that .edu has caught on for academia.

Still, Skadden, DLA Piper and other large law firms, derive little if any business from the Internet; instead, the firms have longstanding relationships with in-house counsel. For this reason, the firms’ purchase of the .law domain may be a defensive play, to make sure no one else purchases the rights to a or just to promote themselves.

“The larger firms are more measured on how they are going to use it,” Andreozzi allowed, “but I doubt they will let it go to someone else.”

Andreozzi said the .law domain may help smaller firm lawyers with their branding.

Andreozzi said he has reached agreements in principle with several major bar associations to purchase the .law domain name and offer it to bar members as a benefit.

“I wanted to issue a press release with major firms, and getting press releases from law firms is not easy,” he said, noting that he was able to secure Skadden and DLA Piper through a longstanding relationship. “I went to them and asked them to be part of a press release and in turn for that, they will be issued a discount.”

Outside the two firms, Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court litigator and co-founder of SCOTUSblog, also expressed his endorsement.

“We’re pleased to be an early adopter of the .law domain, which is a sure-fire, trusted way to signal to clients and colleagues the legal resources we provide.”

Stuart D. Levi, the co-head of Skadden’s intellectual property and technology group, said securing a .law domain name “will ensure our presence across new top-level domains as they are made available to the legal community.”