Baker & McKenzie lost its ampersand last month, and Boies, Schiller & Flexner, not to be outdone, recently dropped its squiggly symbol and also ditched a comma. The result: Baker McKenzie and Boies Schiller Flexner. Talk about streamlining legal services.
That’s two, so it’s almost a trend. Why?
Thought leaders at Boies Schiller were not immediately available to comment on the ampersand dump. Nor were they available to talk about the discarded comma. But the changes look to be part of the firm’s new marketing plan, as evidenced by its revamped website, which has the revised firm name with an ampersandless “BSF” plastered boldly at the top of the home page.
The chief marketing officer at Baker McKenzie (if you say the firm’s name out loud, it still sounds like it has an ampersand in there, by the way), said in an email that the firm is “still solid and reliable” but also “changing with the times.”
“The ‘&’ is a small part of that, but many people call us Baker McKenzie already and we wanted to simplify whatever we do with clients,” Laurie Robertson said.
Actually, the shorter-is-better strategy has been around a while.
“There’s been a trend for promotional purposes to reduce firms from, say, five names to one,” said Alan Olson, a principal at Altman Weil. “They want their names to resonate and be memorable.”
K&L Gates, prone to mergers about 10 years ago, at one point was Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis. Paul Hastings used to be Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker. Some firms market themselves with shorter names, but officially they’re still the longer version: Gunderson Dettmer uses just the first two names, but formally it’s Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian. It just flows, no?
Messages seeking comment about Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s ampersand situation were not immediately returned.