Given the proliferation of online tools law firms can use to get their brands out into the ether, it is hardly surprising that few seem bothered about Wikipedia.
Indeed, the news that Allens Arthur Robinson’s (AAR) Wiki entry had been updated with details of its alliance with Linklaters before the UK press had the scoop (1.35am GMT on 23 April) came as a shock even to the Australian firm’s chief executive partner Michael Rose.
Perhaps firms should pay a bit more attention. A cursory glance at firms’ Wiki pages can reveal a mine of information, even if it’s not all verified. Blake Dawson, for example, was allegedly hit by a vindictive ex-employee in 2009, who altered the firm’s entry to tell the world that the firm was cutting staff in a bid to “slash costs and preserve profit”. The offending entry is still there, as is a section about how the firm’s rebranding led to press attention because of a male porn star who shared the Blake Dawson name.
Unfortunately, Wiki’s user-editors don’t seem to take an equal interest in all law firms: although, for example, the history of Eversheds runs to around 600 words, other firms are covered less comprehensively.
So, in many centuries’ time, when all the world’s books have disintegrated and news publications have given up the ghost, all that will remain of Herbert Smith’s history will be that which Wiki has bothered to cover. The firm’s entry reads: “The firm was established by Norman Herbert Smith in 1882. Edward Walker-Arnott took over as senior partner in 1992.”