Copying Firm Names on the Web

Here’s a small matter, tiny in fact:

I’m collating some material from various Canadian law firm websites, and as part of the project I need to record the firm name along with the material I’m referencing. I imagine I’m not alone in doing this sort of thing: whether it’s a phone number, a lawyer’s name, or something the firm’s proud of and has published, it’s pretty common to grab it with select-copy-paste, and sensible too to select-copy-paste the firm name into the note as well. Yes, I could type McCarthy T├ętrault, but I’m as stingy with my keystrokes as the next person. Ctrl-C/V is the way.

Except that it can be devilish hard, if not impossible, to find a text version of a firm’s name on most websites, firms opting for the formatting that a graphic image of the name allows. Slaw does this too, of course. But I’ve made sure that there’s a text version of the name nearby. It might make sense of law firms to do the same.

What you’ll find much of the time is that the only text version of the name lies in the copyright line at the very bottom of the page in the tiniest type on the page. Your name in lights is all well and good; but your name in the fine print — not so much.

To show you what I mean, here are links to the five largest Canadian firms, only the first of which offers up useful text:

No big deal. But since, as we know, god is in the detail, might not profit be also?


  1. David Scrimshaw

    It’s worth mentioning that putting text information in graphics also makes that text inaccessible to people who cannot see and makes the webpage non-compliant with web accessibility guidelines.

  2. It’s easy, too. Just add an alt=”text” to your img tags. It’s always interesting to have a look at the source code for these kinds of pages. Often, the generic parts will have alt attributes, because the people writing content management systems do know what they’re doing. Usually, it’s the people using these systems who don’t have a clue. And that’s because such systems are typically designed, at least in part, to help them avoid having to learn about such things.

  3. Absolutely true – not just for firms, but for companies as well. I just google the name and copy-pasting from the google results page (rather than going all the way to their homepage).

    An added bonus is that I’ve never had to learn how to type a diacritical.

  4. I encounter this challenge regularly. I’m glad someone else out there shares my pain.