Duplicity at Wachtell Lipton?

Wachtell Lipton may be saying one thing about its advertising and marketing while doing the opposite.

Dave Hoffman at Concurring Opinions today did a search of law firms that edit their Wikipedia pages in order to burnish their image. Wachtell, despite a prior disavowal of any marketing or advertising activities, apparently made 168 Wikipedia edits that included their own page as well as those of Cravath and Kramer Levin, according to Hoffman.

It is the law firm related edits that bring up the issue of duplicity. Because Wachtell already told the New York Times earlier this year that it didn’t engage in marekting or advertising. From a story on March 2nd on New York’s new attorney advertising rules:

Another big law firm, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz — did nothing immediately after the new advertising rules went into effect on Feb. 1. After the firm was contacted by a reporter, it put up a disclaimer.

“I did that in an overabundance of caution,” said Meyer G. Koplow, Wachtell’s executive partner. “Somebody was obviously asking questions.”

Mr. Koplow said that the firm views its site only as a tool in recruiting law students.

“You’re not going to see highlights of our flashy cases,” he said. “This is a law firm that has no marketing department, no marketing director and does not engage in advertising activities.”

If they are not going to show “highlights of their flashy cases” then why was I so quickly able to find this edit (I stopped looking after finding one, there may well be others) touting the firm from edit #72441900 (addition in red):

The firm is also known for its skill in business litigation. It has handled many of the precedent-setting Delaware corporate governance cases.

It seems to me that if the firm wasn’t interested in touting their “flashy cases” they would have let others do the writing.

No marketing or advertising? Leaving aside the existence of a web site, doesn’t editing your profile on Wikipedia to improve your image qualify as marketing? It seems like a reasonable question to ask since such conduct would be the type of thing one might expect from a marketing department.

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