Pinsents picks up web Oscar

Question: Guess who just showed up in New York?
Answer: Pinsent Masons.

And if that’s not unbelievable enough for you, guess who the man from Pinsents was hanging out with last night (10 June)? Lou Reed, Stephen Merchant (of The Office fame) and Talking Heads’ David Byrne.

Huh (as I believe they say over here)?

An explanation. ‘The man from Pinsents’ is a chap called Struan Robertson. With all due to respect to Struan, it’s likely you’ve never heard of him. But you may have heard of what he does.

Struan is legal director of, Pinsent Masons’ eight-year-old website that gives its users plain English versions of complex legal issues.

Last night, Struan was at a star-filled bash at Cipriani on Wall St attending the Webby awards, the annual geek-fest where prizes are dished out to the most innovative people and products on the internet.

Pinsents was up for a gong, Best Law Website, the first time a law firm has ever been nominated in the Webby’s 12-year history. Congratulations to Pinsents, and Struan, for scooping the award.

This morning I met a surprisingly non-bleary eyed Struan for a (probably much-needed) coffee. The man is clearly mad, as he’d just run 13 miles from his hotel to Central Park and back (it’s currently 90 degrees in New York).

But he still had enough energy left to tell me that Out-Law, as well as providing a useful service to those looking to decipher legalese, is also a significant business generator for Pinsents.

Prospective clients can find it via Google – there’s no longer any tedious subscription process – and then if they like what they see they have a tendency to instruct a Pinsents lawyer. It may not always work that way, but
last night’s gong is recognition that it does what it’s meant to do more often that not.

For Pinsents (and legacy Masons before it, which originally launched the service), yesterday’s Webby is recognition of the power of long-term investment and straightforward thinking.

By the way, David Byrne was there to pick up a lifetime achievement award (from Laurie Anderson, if you’re interested).

Lou Reed was there to look cool.

For the previous The Lawyer in New York blog post, click here.