With the firm's founder and namesake in federal prison for acts best described as unspeakable, it figured the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River was due for a name change.

Most law firms strive to project an aura of austere integrity, not drug-addled criminality.

But we're just nosy journalists, not marketing gurus. Firm chieftain Brad Lakin's the expert. And he knows best the kind of brand that appeals most to Lakin-grade clientele.

And now the biggest family name in local lawsuits lives to sue another day. The new firm name, LakinChapman, was unveiled to the Metro-East public last week, led by Lakin the Younger and former Illinois Appellate Court Judge Charles Chapman.

In a press release, Lakin outlined the new firm's "seven practice areas." Recruiting plaintiffs to help create class action lawsuits--Lakin's most prolific practice over the past few years-- didn't make the list.

Could Richard Burke be right? Ever since he was fired in early 2007, estranged ex-Lakin class action chief Burke has been assailing the firm's class action acumen. Burke said that without his services, and perhaps those of class action ace-turned-prison inmate Gary Peel, the Lakin Firm could no longer competently pursue the torrent of class action cases filed in Madison County.

To be so lucky.

It's a "brand-new firm with a new organization that reflects our growing national practice," Lakin explained.

To skeptics of plaintiff's lawyer statements, "national practice" is code for "we'll sue anywhere we can find a judge who will take us." In the past "anywhere" was code for here. For the Lakins, they now have set their lawsuit sights on Chicago, and a vague land called the "Southwest."

Watch out Phoenix and Las Vegas, and don't say we didn't warn you.

Thanks for the memories, Lakin Law Firm. We bid you a hearty farewell, or as former Lakin lawyer and French linguist wannabe Thomas Maag would put it, "adieu."

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