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Unconvincing difference between brand and reputation of law firms and law departments

An article in MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 49, Winter 2008 at 19 defines a brand as a “customer centric” attribute, a perception by customers, say of a law firm, as to the qualities of that law firm (See my post of Nov. 28, 2007 on law-firm brands and references cited.). A reputation, by contrast, the article defines as “company centric.” I am not convinced of this distinction, since reputation connotes more of a self-image, but it may be useful for in-house counsel who select outside firms to distinguish between brand and reputation.

Moreover, it occurs to me that some law departments have reputations (See my post of Nov. 19, 2007 on the ten largest companies and references to them on this blog.). None of the law departments I know have a brand.