Guide to Legally Naming a California Law Corporation

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Selecting a name for your new law corporation in California is more than just a creative endeavor; it’s a legal requirement that involves following certain rules and regulations. This guide will walk you through the critical steps and considerations you should keep in mind to ensure that your law corporation’s name complies with California law.

Distinguishability Requirement

First and foremost, your law corporation’s name must be distinguishable from existing business names. The California Secretary of State’s office maintains an online database where you can search to ensure that the name you have chosen is unique. You can access this database via the following link: California Business Name Search. Remember, a name that is too similar to an existing one is likely to get rejected during the registration process.

No Misleading Names

The name you choose should not mislead the public or imply false affiliations. Specifically, your corporation’s name should not include terms that suggest it is a government agency. Avoid using words like “Agency,” “Commission,” “Department,” “Bureau,” “Division,” “Municipal,” or “Board” unless they are an accurate description of your services and have been approved by the relevant authorities.

Mandatory Business Entity Identifiers

In addition to your chosen name, you must append a “Business Entity Identifier” to denote the structure of your business legally. Here are some identifiers you can use:

  • Corporation
  • Company
  • Incorporated
  • Incorporation
  • Limited
  • Corp
  • Co
  • Inc
  • Ltd
  • Professional Corporation

Character and Symbol Guidelines

Your business name must adhere to the character set allowed by California law, which includes:

  • English alphabet letters
  • Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Authorized symbols as specified in Section 21002(b) of the California Code of Regulations, Title 2

Authorized Symbols Include:

  • At / each (@)
  • Number / pounds (#)
  • Dollars ($)
  • Percent (%)
  • Caret (^)
  • Ampersand (&)
  • Asterisk (*)
  • Plus / positive (+)
  • Equal (=)


For a complete list, consult the California Secretary of State’s regulations: Business Entity Names – California Secretary of State.

Choosing the right name for your law corporation is a crucial first step in establishing your brand and legal identity. By following these guidelines, you can select a name that not only resonates with your target audience but also complies with California state laws.

Do note that this guide is for informational purposes and should not replace legal advice. Always consult with legal professionals to ensure that you’re in full compliance with state and local laws.

For more information and to start the naming and registration process, visit the California Secretary of State’s website.

Need Further Guidance?

Selecting a compliant and effective name for your law corporation can be a complex task. If you find yourself in need of personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team for advice tailored to your specific needs.

Contact Us for a consultation to ensure you’re on the right track for success.

We’re here to help you navigate the intricacies of legally naming your California law corporation, making the process as smooth as possible for you.




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