Baker & McKenzie drops the ‘&’ in global brand overhaul

Baker & McKenzie has decided to drop the ampersand from its name as part of a global rebranding exercise and is considering changing the name of its UK LLP.

It is understood the firm did not want to change the name of the legal entity during this process because it would be “a headache”, said an insider.

A spokesperson for the firm confirmed that a change in LLP name in the future is under discussion.

The firm, which will now be known as Baker McKenzie, could have spent thousands of pounds in its global rebrand if it has invested in new stationery, signage and business cards for the entire staff as well as a new website, sources told The Lawyer.

“If Baker & McKenzie has spent less than a million pounds on the rebrand, I’m a monkey’s uncle,” an industry source told The Lawyer. “It’s about £500,000 minimum to launch a website, and that’s not including a rebrand on stationary, signs, water bottles… There is no way that it’s less than a million.”

Baker & McKenzie, which was named the strongest law firm brand by Acritas for seven years in a row, says that the new logo “is designed to retain the solidity and strength of our existing logo while bringing a fresh, friendly and conversational look that is confident, clear and direct”.

A spokesperson told The Lawyer: “Helping our clients to succeed by simplifying a complex world is at the heart of our promise to our clients and our people. Our new logo and identity reflect that simplicity and strength of purpose.”

A source said: “Maybe Baker & McKenzie is dropping the ampersand because Simmons & Simmons has a yacht in Asia called ‘Ampersand’.”

Simmons & Simmons later denied the existence of the yacht but confirmed that the firm has a staff restaurant called ‘Ampersand’.

This new brand exercise comes months after the election of Paul Rawlinson as global chair of the firm earlier this year.

Rawlinson beat EMEA chair Gary Senior, Latin America chair Claudia Prado and former Paris managing partner Eric Lasry in a contested election for the role.

Baker McKenzie is the latest in a series of firms to choose to change their official names, including Gowling WLG following the merger between Gowlings and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co; Goodwin Procter dropping the Procter from its name; and Holman Fenwick & Willan dropping the ampersand from its name to become Holman Fenwick Willan.

Also this year, barristers set 39 Essex Street dropped the ‘Street’ from its name to become 39 Essex Chambers.

But not all rebrands have been successful in the past. In 2002, Shepherd & Wedderburn famously got rid of its ampersand and replaced it with a ‘+’ following a rebrand consultation. After a time, the firm decided to revert back to its old name.

Slaughter and May, the only top 50 firm with an ‘and’ in its name, was approached for comment on whether it planned to cut its name in the future. A spokesperson declined to comment but The Lawyer understands through extensive research that the firm will not consider abandoning the ‘and’.