Griffin Law, a U.K. based law firm focusing on online reputation management is opening its first office in Alexandria. The 15-lawyer boutique law firm works in the niche representing luminaries, politicians, celebrities, and business people in reputation and brand management.
The work done by Griffin Law includes taking care of negative chatter about a company or person on the internet and in real life. The firm represents Y3S a British financial services company, and last week, procured an order from a U.K. judge to order a former employee of the company to close a blog with negative comments.
According to Donal Blaney, who is founding partner of the firm, in 2009, he became aware of a twitter account under his name with the handle @banesblarney. But it was not created by Blaney, and someone was impersonating him to make defamatory tweets. Blaney filed a complaint with a British court, which resulted in the first court order served via Twitter. The court sent a direct message to the Twitter user with a link to the court order asking the account holder to stop impersonating Blaney or face further legal action.
According to Blaney, Griffin Law is not targeting to compete with the Magic Circle firms or big law in U.S.A. He said, “I’m not going to pretend I can go toe to toe with Clifford Chance pitching litigation that would need a team of 200 attorneys … That’s not the market we’re looking for. I’m looking for mid-tier, smaller-tier U.S. firms that don’t have a trans-Atlantic alliance already, and other professionals and businesses who need English law advice.”
As Blaney puts it, “A PR company might say to us, ‘We have a problem with what’s being said about a client online, but there’s nothing we can do in the U.S. because of the First Amendment. But some of that stuff is being published in Great Britain, would you be able to use English law to take them offline?’ ”
According to him, “There are avenues open to people whose names are being besmirched by using English law. We’re using harassment and privacy laws in this jurisdiction to protect the reputations of corporations in the U.S.”