Friday, May 17, 2019
ABA Journal, For Law Firms, the Ampersand Is a Character Worth Saving:
Earlier this year, the venerable law firm long known as Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy announced that it had slimmed down its title to the breezy “Milbank.”
Tweed, Hadley and McCloy, perhaps, mourned the change, but it is unlikely that many people shed a tear for another victim that fell just as surely as those three names: the “&,” also known as the ampersand.
For more than two centuries, the ampersand flourished in its preferred environment: BigLaw titles. No one can dispute that the ampersand served BigLaw well, adorning the titles of virtually all the most prestigious members of the BigLaw species. As late as the 1990s, it was nearly impossible to name a preeminent law firm that did not proudly boast an ampersand in its title.
But as the century changed, something happened within the world of BigLaw. Firms began to turn against the ampersands that had served them so well for so long. In ever-increasing numbers, the great firms of America renounced their ampersands without a second thought. Far from being ashamed of their own disloyalty, firms announced their sleek new ampersand-less titles with the swagger of a smug middle-ager presenting a new trophy spouse.
To list the current titles of America’s premier law firms is to catalog the decimation of the ampersand. Sidley Austin discarded the ampersand that had long yoked its names together. Jones Day tossed its ampersand aside like so much trash. Ditto with Mayer Brown.