I Want to Be the Moby of BigLaw

Ex-Bitter Columns, Lawyer

QI’m a first year student at a mid-ranked law school. I’m also in the process of legally changing my name to the single word “Karsh,” like Moby, Sting, or Beck. People still know me by Paul, my given name, which I’ve used so far even after starting school. Every person I’ve told about my plan to change my name has first laughed, then expressed incredulity that I’m serious, which I am. I figure it’s something to distinguish me. What are your thoughts? Will I hurt my chances to get a job or practice law after school?

AHonestly, Paul, this isn’t Bitter Drummer. So you want to go the whole mononymous person route, even before you are out of school? I have a hard time believing you are serious. Will you hurt your chances to get a job? No. You’ll shit on any chances, at least in BigLaw, even if you had any chances to begin with. You won’t even get an interview for the mailroom. Oh, wait, maybe the mailroom.

Maybe it’s not the death knell to a solo or small firm practice, I don’t know. It may actually work if you pick the right name and play it right. But this is what comes to mind, at least to me. You’re in court and you state your appearance, “Karsh, appearing on behalf of Plaintiff.” The judge, who looks and talks just like Judge Chamberlain Haller, says “counsel, did you just say your name was Karsh? That would be Karsh what, counsel, because all I see here on your motion papers is Karsh?” And then the explanation begins and you’re off on the wrong foot. Not a bad foot, not something terrible, but wrong nonetheless, counsel.

Honestly, even if you are serious, why actually change your name? Sting (Gordon Sumner) didn’t. Neither did Beck (Bek David Campbell) or Moby (Richard Melville Hall). They just adopted professional stage names. I think only Teller, of Penn & Teller, actually changed his name. So why not just adopt an assumed business name or a suitable attorney nom de guerre? Start there. But don’t change your name. That’s bunk. Hell, if you want to be uber-cool like Moby or Beck, get a tattoo of “Karsh” on your ass, or at least somewhere out of the way.

Update: The writer reports that he is going ahead with a name change, but instead of Karsh he is inexplicably using “Kasher.” As in “Kasher, Attorney at Law.”

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caesarsebastian/2626099261)

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