Just over two years ago, I created the inaugural nointrigue.com Australian Law Firm Rankings, which worked on the basic assumption that the bigger and the more notable a law firm is, the more people would be wanting to talk about it. And what better way to measure this than to ask Google.
Here are the rankings updated, for 2011.
There have been some slight changes in methodology, in an attempt to focus the search results down to the pages that truly matter. Starting with what we used for the 2009 rankings:
"law firm name" law site:.au
this has been supplemented by search terms that remove pages from the law firm’s own web site and from some particular web-based directories (the list of which is arbitrary and could well be improved). For example:
"Allens Arthur Robinson" law site:.au -site:yellowpages.com.au -site:truelocal.com.au -site:findlaw.com.au -site:lawyerlist.com.au -site:hotfrog.com.au -site:aar.com.au
For law firms with an ampersand or a plus sign in their name, additional search terms were inserted to allow for variations in spelling, like so:
("Gilbert + Tobin" OR "Gilbert and Tobin" OR "Gilbert & Tobin" OR "Gilbert Tobin") law site:.au -site:yellowpages.com.au -site:truelocal.com.au -site:findlaw.com.au -site:lawyerlist.com.au -site:hotfrog.com.au -site:gtlaw.com.au
Now, without further ado:
|2||DLA Phillips Fox||72,400||149||10|
|6||Mallesons Stephen Jaques||46,600||186||2|
|7||Allens Arthur Robinson||37,900||177||3|
|8||Corrs Chambers Westgarth||25,700||108||9|
|10||Baker & McKenzie||21,200||90||13|
|14||Cooper Grace Ward||16,000||24||—||—|
|16||Henry Davis York||10,100||52||22|
|17||Gilbert + Tobin||9,470||55||15|
|19||Hunt & Hunt||7,130||55||7|
|20||Arnold Bloch Leibler||6,990||29||20||—|
|27||Davies Collison Cave||2,990||36||24|
|28||Hall & Wilcox||1,780||30||28||—|
|30||Lander & Rogers||815||47||26|
|31||Moray & Agnew||596||59||29|
|33||Colin Biggers & Paisley||324||29||—||—|
1 The number of partners is the projected figure for 2 January 2011, as reported by the Australian Financial Review on 10 December 2010, page 47.
2 Norton Rose merged with Deacons, which was #5 in the 2009 rankings.
3 Kennedy Strang is a group of law firms (Kemp Strang, Russell Kennedy, Thynne & Macartney, Lynch Meyer). The reported page count is the total count for these law firms.
4 Thomsons Lawyers was called Thomson Playford Cutlers at the time of the 2009 rankings.
To get a feel for the “noise” in the page count, that is, the number of pages in the result set that do not actually refer to the law firm in question, I manually examined the top 30 search results for each law firm. For only three firms was 1 out of the 30 pages identified as spurious; the other law firms had no spurious results. This, of course, doesn’t mean the signal-to-noise ratio remains constant as one progresses towards the tail end of the search results; Google’s algorithms, by now, are probably quite good at getting the more relevant pages to appear in earlier search results.
Mandatory reading (for those of you who have read this far and have taken everything seriously): xkcd on using Google to measure things