Edit War: Fish Fights Back

Posted in Law Firm Edit War on March 30th, 2010 by bl1y

Back on February 5th I edited the Fish & Richardson Wikipedia article, adding information about the closing of the firm’s corporate practice, layoffs of 110 staff and attorneys, increase in revenues of 4.7% and increase in profits of 20%.

On February 14th, those changes were deleted by the user Lneal, so I of course have put them back.  “Lneal” is most likely an employee of Fish & Richardson.  Wikipedia shows Lneal has made 26 edits, 25 of which were to the Fish page (the other was Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton).

I don’t know of any ethics opinions on point, but I have to imagine that Wikipedia articles have the potential to be an attorney advertisement, if significantly edited by the firm, and if editing in an advertisementy way.  Not only does Wikipedia not allow articles to be used as advertisements (violates neutral tone rules), but since Wikipedia articles don’t carry Warning: Lawyer Advertisement! labels, they could be prohibited advertisements under professional responsibility and ethics rules.

*Update*

After some research, I’ve found that there is an Elizabeth Neal who was hired as Fish and Richardson’s director of events and communications in 2008.

As Director of Events & Communications, Elisabeth Neal will be responsible for external communications including material, website, and client alerts. She also manages all firm events and regional marketing activities and works closely with the practice group and business development marketing team to coordinate firm-wide marketing initiatives as well as cross-marketing opportunities.

My guess is Lneal is “Liz” Neal.  Keeping tabs on the firm’s Wikipedia page certainly seems like it would be part of her job.

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