More evidence that the ampersand is on the way out as the hallmark of a solidly respectable legal practice comes from international giant Baker (&) McKenzie. The firm has dropped the ampersand from its logo in an expensive-looking bid ‘to retain the solidity and strength of our existing logo while bringing a fresh, friendly and conversational look’.

Its website has already been changed to reflect the rebrand, which does not extend to the legal entity itself: the LLP name will remain unchanged. 

In October, the firm - with ampersand - was named ‘best law firm brand’ by the Acritas index for the seventh year in a row.

The ampersand (a contraction of ‘and per se and’) has fallen out of fashion in recent years. One notable firm to drop it was Slater and Gordon, which in February 2015 replaced the & with a slimline +. Unkind commenters might suggest that a better use of management time might be to examine other business decisions, such as the £637m acquisition of Quindell, at the time. 

Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May of course has always eschewed the ampersand as a vulgar contraction. In a seasonal note, Obiter should point out that a spelt-out ‘and’ was good enough for Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol (1843). ‘“Scrooge and Marley’s, I believe,” said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list.’ Mr Marley of course had been dead these seven years; what fate befalls ‘and’ we never find out.