Top law firm partner accused of having trainees edit his celebrity-style Wikipedia page

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By Alex Aldridge on

Pennington Manches “not aware” of rookies being asked to create material to bolster solicitor’s profile


A partner at Pennington Manches with an extremely impressive Wikipedia page has been accused of getting his trainees to maintain his presence on the site.

Some edits to the celebrity-style masterpiece that is ‘James Stewart (lawyer)’ are reported to have been made from IP addresses located at Penningtons Manches’ London office.


But the firm denies any knowledge of such behaviour, with marketing and development director Rolland Keane telling Legal Cheek:

James Stewart is a high profile and very successful family lawyer so it is not in the least unusual that he would have a profile on Wikipedia. This is not a firm profile so the detail that is on there is personal to the individual but in so far as it relates to a Penningtons Manches lawyer the firm’s position is that we would expect the detail to be correct and accurate. We are not aware of any Penningtons Manches trainees or other staff being asked to create material to bolster James’s Wikipedia profile, frankly his achievements speak for themselves.

Stewart’s nomination for ‘Family Lawyer of the Year’ in 2012 and his successful ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro for charity are among the stand-out achievements on his impressive, if not mind-blowing, CV.

News of the allegations first surfaced this morning on legal blog RollOnFriday, where an anonymous source at the firm is quoted as saying that Stewart has “the most extensive Wikipedia page out there, all of which he had his trainees amend for him”.

The blog also reports that “Wikipedia has banned several accounts for repeatedly puffing up Stewart’s profile, including making multiple attempts to include a glowing citation from the ‘Excellence Awards 2010’ [citation needed], dismissed by other editors as ‘peacock material'”.

The claims recall another law firm Wikipedia furore involving solicitor turned Labour MP Chuka Umunna.

Back in 2008, an edit was made to the employment specialist’s Wikipedia page, comparing Umunna to then US presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Fast forward to 2013, and it emerged that the flattering-amendment came from a computer within the London office of Rochman Landau — now national outfit Ashfords — were Umunna was an associate at the time.

Umunna said he had “no recollection” of amending to his Wikipedia page.