Shark lawyers: London law firm embraces industry stereotype by naming firm after deadly predator

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By Thomas Connelly on

Litigation specialists Selachii opt for striking name


A west London law firm has embraced the ‘all lawyers are sharks’ stereotype by naming its firm after the fearsome oceanic predator.

The Kensington High Street outfit has punted for the somewhat obscure name Selachii. For those not familiar with marine biology, a quick Google search reveals the term Selachii is used to describe a major subclass of “cartilaginous fishes” containing — yes, you guessed it — sharks.


The derogatory use of the word “shark” dates back to the early 1600s. Pickpockets, scam artists and general wronguns would — at the time — be described as sharks due to the way they would prey upon the weak. With the term gaining popularity, it wasn’t long before someone added lawyers to the list.

Richard Howlett, who is a partner at Selachii, stood by the firm’s name choice.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Howlett says the name actually refers “loosely” to “backbone” — something he stresses is required at “any litigation-based firm”. In a move away from the traditional partner surnames, Howlett said he likes the “unusual nature of the name”. He added:

We are a tenacious firm of solicitors and whilst one definition of selachii is a shark, we have never sought to play on any stereotype. Having said this, if I were a client in need of a solicitor to represent them as a claimant or defendant, I would be seeking a firm of solicitors who was not afraid to roam the often rough waters of litigation – and what better example of a fearless animal is there than a shark?

Rumours that a rival firm has applied to rebrand itself “Jaws” have not been confirmed.