Manchester law firm’s new moniker: McLane Middleton

96-year-old firm adopts name for ‘modern era’

The nearly 100-year-old Manchester-based law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton has a new name as of Monday: McLane Middleton P.A.

Working with Manchester-based digital marketing firm wedü, the firm officially adopted the shortened, new name, with a new website launching on Monday.

“There were a number of factors that went into this name change and really it came to client expectation, our geographic expansion and paying homage to our legacy,” said the firm’s executive director and CEO, Cathy Schmidt.

Frankly, McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton is a mouthful, which is why most of the law firm’s clients simply referred to it as “McLane.”

The law firm also came to the decision through quantitative research, with 600 surveys sent to clients and community members, interviews with over 90 employees, and a competitive analysis of where the brand fell in the marketplace and what other firms were doing, said Susan de Mari, director of marketing at the firm. Most of the 90 attorneys are based out of the Manchester office, though McLane has offices in Portsmouth, Concord and Woburn, Mass.

“It really was, ‘Let’s go through the process, let’s see what the research says,’” said de Mari. “That review also looked at competitors, and what we found was most large competitors, at the depth of McLane, had two names.”

‘Jack is our icon’

McLane was an obvious keeper, for its recognition originating in 1919, when John McLane started the firm.

And at age 86, Jack Middleton is still a practicing attorney at the office, coming in three days a week with his yellow lab, Lucy. He joined the firm in 1956 and became partner in 1975.

“If we could define McLane as a person – what would they sound like – we just kept coming back to Jack,” said Schmidt. “Jack is our icon.”

“We have new associates join us out of law school, he’s provided mentorship to them, he’s a great asset to our firm,” she said.

Traditionally, law firms listed a number of key partners in their legal names, and McLane’s name has changed eight times previously.

In 1922, it became McLane & Davis, only to change a few years later to McLane, Davis & Carleton. Around 1950, there was the addition of Graf, with another name change in 1954 to McLane Carleton, Graf, Greene & Brown. Around 1974, the firm was called McLane, Graf, Greene & Brown, a year later becoming McLane, Graf, Greene, Raulerson & Middleton. In 1980, Greene was dropped, forming the name known for 35 years.

Even after Bob Raulerson, Kenneth Graf, and his son, John, retired, McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton remained the same, as “they were fabulous attorneys” so no reason to remove them, said Schmidt.

Schmidt has spoken to their families, who she said are completely understanding of the name change.

“It in no way diminishes the value they made to the firm, it’s just moving to the modern era to meet client expectations and move to the next century ahead,” she said.

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