Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Appeal of Amanda Knox

There is much discussion today concerning the role of public relations in the overturning of Amanda Knox's conviction for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. Shortly after Ms. Knox was arrested in 2007, her family hired Gogerty Marriott, a Seattle public relations agency to deal with the initial barrage of media inquiries. Over the past four years the agency, along with friends of Ms. Knox and her family, conducted a public relations campaign on her behalf. Ms Knox's supporters contend that the media campaign was necessary to counter the negative image of Ms. Knox presented in the British and Italian press. Not surprisingly, the Italian prosecutors contend that those acting on Ms. Knox's behalf used the media to interfere in the case. Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal published articles today examining the controversy:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Litigation Does Not Take Place in a Vacuum

James F. Haggerty, author of In The Court of Public Opinion: Winning Strategies For Litigation Communications (American Bar Association Publishing 2009) has written an article examining the effect of public opinion in the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, and the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency's lawsuit against seventeen banks over mortgage securities bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Haggerty points out that both cases demonstrate the importance of effective communication in legal matters where public perception plays a role:
There is a valuable lesson in these cases for all companies facing the prospect of major litigation. High-profile lawsuits don't occur in a vacuum, and the relative strength or weakness of the parties can be greatly affected by the public response to a lawsuit's announcement. In this modern media age, communicating publicly about major litigation needs to be handled with the same seriousness as any other aspect of the case. Sometimes, the impact of this public communication can actually be greater than anything that happens within the courthouse walls.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Did Bank of America's Aggressive PR Posture Hurt or Help?

In this article, James F. Haggerty, the author of In The Court of Public Opinion: Winning Strategies For Litigation Communications, examines whether Bank of America's litigation communications strategy in response to the lawsuit filed by institutional mortgage investors led to a loss of shareholder confidence in the bank.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sued This Way

It will be interesting to see how Lady Gaga's relentless publicity machine counters the negative media arising from a lawsuit alleging that she defrauded the "Little Monsters" who responded to her call for donations to help Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims.

Lady Gaga sued over proceeds from earthquake relief wristbands

A Michigan-based law firm has filed a purported racketeering class action against Lady Gaga and several entertainment companies, claiming they made false representations that all proceeds from sales of a wristband would go to victims of Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Full Court Press

Lawyers for Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban are trying to turn the Mavs win over the Miami Heat on the basketball court into wins in the court of public opinion and the court of law. This "full court press" is in response to a 2009 lawsuit by Hillwood Investment Properties, a company controlled by H. Ross Perot, Jr., son of the former presidential candidate, against Dallas Basketball Limited, the company controlled by Mr. Cuban that operates the Mavs. Hillwood is a minority owner of the Mavs, having retained a 5 percent share of the team after Mr. Perot sold Mr. Cuban a controlling interest in 2000 for $285 million. The suit seeks the appointment of a receiver to manage the team's affairs, claiming that Mr. Cuban's mismanagement has pushed the team to the brink of insolvency and that the Mavs are $200 million in debt.

Mr. Cuban's legal team, Thomas Melsheimer and H. Brett Johnson of Fish & Richardson, contend that winning the NBA championship amounts to a slam dunk in Mr. Cuban's favor and have filed a summary judgment motion seeking the dismissal of Hillwood's lawsuit. The four page motion, which you can read here, is dominated by a large color photograph showing the Mavs celebrating, Mr. Cuban being interviewed, and Dirk Nowitzki hoisting the championship trophy. The motion is also remarkable in that it cites no cases in support of its terse argument:
On June 11, 2011 the World Champion Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat to claim the franchise's first NBA championship. . . . Under Hillwood's ownership, the team was deemed the 'worst franchise' in all of professional sports. Under Cuban's stewardship the Mavericks have become one of the league's most successful teams and are now NBA champions. Accordingly, there can be no genuine question that Hillwood's claims of mismanagement lack merit and Hillwood's claims should be disposed of on summary judgment.
When asked by to comment on the filing, Mr. Melsheimer offered the following embellishment:
You don't have that many cases when you're watching television and a game ends, and you think, 'wow this is really great for my lawsuit.' . . . It's a humorous twist, but it has legal force. It makes a serious point that allegations of mismanagement are ridiculous. A substantial part of our defense is that the Mavericks are successful, and what more obvious success for an NBA team than an NBA championship?
It is doubtful that the summary judgment motion will result in the dismissal of the lawsuit, but it has certainly garnered positive media attention for Mr. Cuban.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The SEC: Where Fun Goes To Die

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, whose employees were exposed for watching and downloading pornography at their desks during the financial crisis, is now clamping down on all fun and games. The Commission sued two advertising executives who started the website "," hoping to raise $300 million to buy Pabst Brewing Co. The putative beer barons also created a Facebook page and Twitter feed to attract would be investors, promising them "a certificate of ownership as well as beer of a value equal to the amount invested," according to the SEC press release. The two men consented to the entry of an administrative cease and desist order, for the moment ending their dream of owning a brewery.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Breaches of Madison County

In an earlier post, "Maintaining Privileges," I examined whether discussions with a litigation communications consultant are protected by the attorney-client and work-product privileges, and provided links to two articles that outline the steps that should be taken in order to maximize privilege claims. The Sunday, May 20, 2011 Chicago Tribune contains an article written by Ameet Sachdev, the Tribune's legal reporter, describing the fallout when a judge rejected assertions of privilege and ordered the production of a plan written by a litigation communications consultant. It is a cautionary tale that is well worth reading. "PR executive sets off firestorm with proposal to discredit Madison Count court system."

The backstory is as follows: In 2004 a lawsuit was filed in Madison County, Illinois by the Holiday Shores Sanitary District against Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., the maker of the weedkiller atrazine. The suit alleges that atrazine runs off farm fields into drinking water supplies that water providers such as Holiday Shores must then remediate. Holiday Shores sought to lead a class action on behalf of all Illinois water providers.

Madison County has the reputation of being a favorable venue for plaintiff class actions. For years the courts in Madison County were on the American Tort Reform Association's annual list of "judicial hellholes."

In the summer of 2005, Syngenta contacted Jayne Thompson & Associates ("JTA"), a public relations firm owned by the wife of former Illinois Governor James Thompson, seeking communications counsel concerning the litigation. In October JTA provided a 13-page proposal to Syngenta on how the firm could support the company during the litigation, including, in the third part of the proposal, a plan for a negative media campaign against the Madison County courts. The proposal became the subject of a discovery dispute, and after reviewing it in chambers, Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge ordered Syngenta to produce the JTA proposal to the plaintiffs, ruling the proposal was not privileged because it had "nothing to do with trial strategy or the preparation of this case for trial ... but much to do with fostering a negative public perception of our judicial system." Judge Mudge characterized the JTA proposal as follows:
In a nutshell a major element of the October 2005 JTA proposal outlines a plan to tie the defense of this action into a negative public relations campaign that castigates the Madison County judicial system as a 'judicial hellhole' and a source of 'jackpot justice,' and, in part, to undertake efforts to enhance the public's perception of Syngenta and the herbicide it manufactures at the expense of the Madison County judicial system. ... Although the document utilizes the term 'litigation support' on a couple of occasions, the proposal actually outlines an aggressive public relations strategy to build upon or create a hostile attitude toward the Madison County judicial system.
You can read Judge Mudge's decision here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dominic Strauss-Kahn PRs Up

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Dominic Strauss-Kahn's legal team is consulting with Washington, DC firm TD International for public relations advice. "Strauss-Kahn's team consults ex-CIA officers' firm." This event has lead to some unfortunate, though not surprising, speculation concerning how Mr. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are planning to defend him. "DSK public relations strategy kicks into high gear."

Lance Plays Hardball

Update: On February 3, 2012, the United States Attorney's office in Los Angeles announced that it had closed the investigation into Lance Armstrong's alleged use of performance enhancing substances. Justice Department Puts Brakes on Lance Armstrong Investigation. The US Attorney for Los Angeles, Andre Birotte Jr., took the highly unusual step of issuing a press release announcing the investigation had been closed, saying the release "was warranted by numerous reports about the investigation in media outlets around the world."

In September 2010 I blogged that Lance Armstrong had added legal and communications consultant Mark "master of disaster" Fabiani to his team in order to try to limit the damage to Mr. Armstrong's reputation caused by the federal government's performance enhancing substance investigation. "Lance Armstrong Hires Litigation Communications Consultant." In the wake of a recent "60 Minutes" story wherein Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate, alleged that Mr. Armstrong used banned substances, you can see evidence of Mr. Fabiani's aggressive style of litigation communications at a new website, "Facts 4 Lance." For example, Mr. Fabiani posted the following statement in regards to Mr. Hamilton:
Tyler Hamilton is a confessed liar in search of a book deal – and he managed to dupe 60 Minutes, the CBS Evening News, and new anchor Scott Pelley. Most people, though, will see this for exactly what it is: More washed-up cyclists talking trash for cash.
In addition, Mr. Armstrong has supplemented his legal team by retaining Robert Luskin of the Washington, DC firm Patton Boggs. Among others, Mr. Luskin is known for having represented Karl Rove during the Valerie Plame investigation. "Patton Boggs' Luskin Takes On Armstrong Accusers."

Finally, with the goal of adding some balance to this post, here's an interview with Mr. Hamilton's lawyer explaining why his client agreed to appear on "60 Minutes." "Q&A: Cyclist Tyler Hamilton's Lawyer On Why His Client Came Clean."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taco Bell's Victory Lap

In an earlier post, "Where's The Beef?", I discussed how Taco Bell started off slowly, but eventually developed an effective public relations response to a class-action lawsuit claiming that there was little beef in the restaurant's tacos. With the announcement earlier this week that the lawsuit had been voluntarily withdrawn, today Taco Bell really put the hammer down, demanding an apology in full page ads in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. "Taco Bell demands apology after lawsuit withdrawn."

The dismissal of the lawsuit is a victory for Taco Bell, and the ad is very effective at conveying that point. However, I continue to have problems with Taco Bell's assertion, repeated in this ad, that "[W]e've ALWAYS used 100% USDA-inspected premium beef." First, the issue in the lawsuit was not so much what Taco Bell started with, but what ended up in the tacos. In this regard, Taco Bell itself asserted that its tacos contained 88 percent beef and 12 percent seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients. Second, the term "100% USDA-inspected" is largely meaningless because United States Department of Agriculture inspection of beef is mandatory. In fact, a USDA official has to be on-site whenever a meat processing plant is operating. Therefore all beef is USDA inspected, not just Taco Bell's. Third, the use of the term "premium beef" can also be misleading, because beef can also contain minor amounts of bone, blood vessels, cartilage and nerves, according to the USDA, and ground beef, in particular, is often made from the less-desirable parts of the steer.

Perhaps my quibbles will be seen as minor compared to the overall strength of Taco Bell's eventual response to this litigation. However, given the totality of its litigation and public relations victories, there was no need for it to take a chance and leave open the possibility of criticism.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Be Kind To Lawyers Day

Today is National Be Kind To Lawyers Day. Please feel free to leave me a comment telling me how you will be observing the day.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Litigation Madness, Part Two

As March rolled on, so did the negotiations between the National Football League owners and the players union over a new collective bargaining agreement. On Friday, March 11, 2011, the negotiations broke off. The owners locked out the players, and the players decertified their union so that individual players could file an antitrust complaint against the league. The plaintiffs named in the 52 page complaint include some of the league's most famous players, such as quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. Because the complaint names the players in alphabetical order, the case will be known as Brady v. N.F.L. Here is a New York Times article discussing the breakdown in the negotiations and the filing of the lawsuit, and an article analyzing why the case was filed in federal district court in Minneapolis.

The NFL had revenues of $9.3 billion last year, and the players and the owners have been unable to decide how to divide this staggering amount of money. In "Everything You Need to Know About the NFL Antitrust Lawsuit," the Wall Street Journal asked Michael McCann, a sports law professor at Vermont Law School, a series of questions about the issues dividing the players and owners, including whether either side deserved any sympathy. "It's hard to be overly sympathetic with either," said McCann. "We're talking about millionaires arguing with billionaires." The first court date is April 6, and it will be interesting to see how each side presents its case in the court of public opinion.

As March was drawing to a close, the perjury trial of home run king Barry Bonds was beginning in federal court in San Francisco. Mr. Bonds was indicted in 2007 on charges that he lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he testified that he had never knowing used performance enhancing drugs. This is a case where Mr. Bonds needs a win in both the court of law and the court of public opinion, since the outcome will determine his legacy as baseball's home run king and whether he loses his freedom.

The trial, now in its second week, has already produced its share of notable moments, including the testimony and cross-examination of Mr. Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell. Here is a New York Times article profiling Mr. Bonds' defense team, and one from reporting on the cross-examination of Ms. Bell.

Lastly, there are the two sexual harassment suits filed in March by former American Apparel sales associates against Dov Charney, the company's founder and chief executive officer. One case was filed in state court in Brooklyn, New York by Irene Morales, who alleges that Mr. Charney forced her to engage in sexual acts for eight months. The second lawsuit was filed in state court in Los Angeles, California by four former sales associates, one of whom, Kimbra Lo, alleged that Mr. Charney tried to have sex with her when she went to his house to discuss a job. Here is a New York Times article reporting on the lawsuits. American Apparel has launched a vigorous defense of Mr. Charney in the media. The company claims that the four women in the California lawsuit are friends who are trying to shake down Mr. Charney and the company. As reported in an article in the Los Angeles Times:
"At the company's downtown headquarters Thursday, Charney and his advisors showed Times reporters sexually explicit emails, photos and text messages from some of the women who sued the company this month. The photos showed some of the women posing nude in suggestive positions, in one case with Charney. In many of the texts and emails provided during the meeting, the women asked Charney to pay for airfares and provide them with money."
One of the problems Mr. Charney faces from a litigation communications standpoint is that he seems to like to live on the edge. As reported in the New York Times article, Mr. Charney has been sued at least four times since the mid-2000s, "accused of creating what some women said was a sexually charged, hostile environment."
"Mr. Charney has said he often holds meetings in his bedroom. In a 2010 American Apparel ad, he was depicted in bed alongside two female employees. Employees regularly stay at his home in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles when they are in town on business. And Mr. Charney has spoken openly about having sexual relationships with some of his workers."
It will be interesting to see how these lawsuits develop.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Litigation Madness, Part One

"March Madness" usually refers to the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments, both of which will be settled on the court over the next few days. However, the month of March also saw a spate of high profile trials and lawsuits, in which both sides jostled for position in the court of public opinion.

First was the insider trading trial of Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, which began with jury selection on March 8, 2011. Mr. Rajaratnam, a one-time billionaire and a native of Sri Lanka, has been charged with five different conspiracies to commit securities fraud and nine substantive counts of securities fraud for alleged insider trading on the stock of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and other entities. The New York Law Journal had an excellent summary of the charges and the defense strategy in an article published on the eve of trial. Reuters has a website, Galleon Insider Trading Trial, which contains an accounting of each court session.

Then, on March 10, came the $100 million lawsuit filed by Charlie Sheen against WB Studio Enterprises Inc. and Chuck Lorre Productions Inc. over his firing from the Warner Bros. sitcom "Two and a Half Men." Mr. Sheen's eccentric behavior over the past few months has been well-chronicled, and his lawsuit contains an interesting twist as well. In his complaint, Mr. Sheen purports to sue on behalf of the cast and crew of "Two and a Half Men" under a provision of California Labor Code 2699 that allows him to assert claims on behalf of others as a "private attorney general." A lawyer quoted in the National Law Journal speculated that by invoking the Labor Code, it makes the dispute more than about Charlie Sheen and perhaps makes him more sympathetic: "What he's purporting to do is say there's been a Labor Code violation here as to everybody who works on this show because they improperly terminated the show. Everybody who is supposed to be working on the show has a claim for their lost wages and benefits." You can read the entire article here.

More "March Litigation Madness" tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Is Getting Nutty

In my last post, "Where's The Beef?" I chronicled how, after an initially tepid response, Taco Bell eventually presented a strong and effective response to a lawsuit alleging that there is very little beef in the fast food chain's tacos, and therefore it should be prohibited from advertising the tacos as containing "seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef."

Lawsuits claiming a consumer product is falsely advertised threaten damage to the brand and its reputation. This is even more true when the lawsuit involves a food product, as many consumers have become more discerning of the ingredients in the products they eat. I believe that a company's response to such lawsuits cannot await the litigation process; instead the company is best served if it responds swiftly and directly in the court of public opinion.

A number of companies have taken a "wait and see" attitude towards these lawsuits, seeking to calibrate their response to the amount of publicity. However, as I have previously noted in "Reputation Management in the Digital Age," hoping a controversy will quiet down can lead to disastrous results.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it does appear that Ferrero USA Inc., the company that produces Ferrero Chocolates and Tic-Tac breath mints, has initially weathered the publicity concerning a lawsuit over the ingredients in its hazelnut spread, Nutella. Earlier this month, a San Diego solo practitioner filed a consumer class action in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleging that Ferrero USA is in violation of California consumer protection laws by representing that Nutella is a healthy, nutritious and balanced breakfast for children. The lawsuit alleges that the name plaintiff, Athena Hohenberg, the mother of a four-year-old child, bought Nutella after she saw advertisements showing mothers serving their children the product and declaring that the spread was a healthy and nutritious breakfast. According to the complaint: "Nutella, however, contains 70% saturated fat and processed sugar by weight. Both of these ingredients significantly contribute to America's alarming increases in childhood obesity, which can lead to life-long health problems." The complaint alleges that Ms. Hohenberg was "shocked" when she learned that Nutella was not healthy and "was the next best thing to a candy bar."

Ferrero USA's first official response to the lawsuit was exceedingly tepid. According to a story on AFP, when asked for comment, Elise Titan, a spokesperson for Ferrero USA, said the company stands by the wholesomeness of its product:

"What we can say right now is that we stand behind the quality of ingredients in Nutella hazelnut spread and advertising for our product," she said.

"It's really early in the case and we are really not in position to discuss the case any further," she said.

Fortunately for Ferrero USA, numerous bloggers have ridiculed the lawsuit, likening it more to the mother who sued McDonald's over its Happy Meal than to the lawsuit concerning the amount of beef in a Taco Bell taco. However, there may be some merit in the lawsuit. As reported in the Washington Post, ads touting Nutella as part of a healthful breakfast were challenged on similar grounds and withdrawn in the United Kingdom in 2008. Therefore, Ferrero USA may not be totally out of the woods yet, and further proceedings in the lawsuit may put more pressure on the company to defend its product and its advertising in the court of public opinion.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where's The Beef?

Last year, in a post entitled "Reputation Management In The Digital Age," I presented some examples on how a slow response to a crisis can do serious damage to a company's brand and reputation. For much of the past week I thought history was repeating itself as I observed Taco Bell's evolving response to the "Where's the Beef" lawsuit. It took multiple attempts, but Taco Bell eventually presented a strong and effective response to a lawsuit's allegations that there's very little beef in the fast food chain's tacos, and therefore it should be prohibited from advertising the tacos as containing "seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef."

The class action lawsuit was filed January 19, 2011 in federal court in California by Montgomery, Alabama attorney W. Daniel "Dee" Miles. The lead plaintiff is Amanda Obney of California. The suit alleges that the meat mixture in Taco Bell's burritos and tacos contain binders and extenders and does not meet requirements set by the USDA to be labeled beef. Specifically, the suit alleges that the taco filling is made of components such as water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, sodium phosphate, as well as some beef and seasonings. When contacted for a comment on the lawsuit, attorney Miles said that just 35 percent of the taco filling was a solid, and just 15 percent overall was protein. "You can't call it beef by definition," Miles said. "It's junk. I wouldn't eat it."

When Taco Bell was asked for its comment on Monday, January 24, I do not think that it handled it well. It told Alabama television station, WSFA, in a prepared statement that: "Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We're happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree. We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit."

In my opinion, the statement fails because while Taco Bell is "vigorously defend[ing] the suit," its customers are asking "What's in the tacos?"

I suspect that Taco Bell realized the weakness of its initial response and the danger to its brand presented by the lawsuit and the attendant publicity, because the next day,Tuesday, January 25, it tried again. The following statement from Taco Bell's president, Greg Creed, appeared on Taco Bell's website and was released to the media:
"At Taco, Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket, like Tyson Foods. We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture. We are proud of the quality of our beef and identify all the seasoning and spice ingredients on our website. Unfortunately the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later -- and got their "facts" absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food."
Although this statement began to address the primary issue of "What's in the tacos?" it erred in mentioning the lawsuit and discussing Taco Bell's contemplated legal response. When the media reported the statement, the lead was not Creed's defense of the product, but that Taco Bell was going to sue. For example, Reuters lead was "Taco Bell Plans Countersuit Over Ground Beef" and Creed's statement that Taco Bell uses "100 percent USDA-inspected beef" did not appear until the fifth paragraph of the story. Another problem with the statement was the second sentence: "We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef." The issue isn't what Taco Bell "starts" with, since the lawsuit acknowledges there is meat in the taco, just not enough to be labeled "beef." The issue is what is in the "end" product the consumer purchases and eats.

On Wednesday, January 26, Taco Bell put another statement on its website and released it to the media, "Statement Regarding Class Action Lawsuit." This is a much stronger and detailed statement that finally tells the consumer everything that is in the taco, with the approximate percentage of each ingredient. However at this point, three days into the crisis, Taco Bell was probably advised that releasing statements is not sufficient to address the issue or the potential damage to its brand. Therefore, this statement was followed-up on Thursday, January 27, with a YouTube video entitled, "Of Course We Use Real Beef!" and featuring Taco Bell president Creed. Although the content is similar to the January 26th statement, Creed makes no reference to the lawsuit or any Taco Bell legal action. Instead he addresses the issue head-on in a very convincing manner:

In addition, today, Taco Bell launched an advertising campaign about the taco filling, placing full-page print ads in the New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. The print ads say, in huge letters, "Thank you for suing us. Here's the truth about our seasoned beef." Here's a link to the ad. Although I think "Thank you for suing us" is inappropriate, the ad, in conjunction with the YouTube video, is a very strong defense that addresses the real issue. Time well tell whether Taco Bell's evolving response has been successful in protecting its brand and reputation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Foretelling the Tragedy in Arizona?

I was trying to clean up some old emails today, and was looking at this one dated December 27, 2010 from the National Law Journal titled The Year in Review. There was one article, “They Said It”, which is a slide show of "memorable remarks" for 2010. I do not know what made me stop and look at it, but I almost fell off my chair when I got to the eighteenth slide. It has to be seen to be believed.

UPDATE: The New York Times leads with Giffords in article published today. "In Tucson, Guns Have a Broad Constituency."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Covington & Burling Starts Crisis Management Practice

Covington & Burling is joining the ranks of law firms that have initiated a crisis management practice. Former D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, who was a Covington partner before joining the administration of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, will chair the new crisis management practice.

In addition to Nickles, the crisis management team assembles some of the firm’s most high-profile attorneys, including former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; Stuart Eizenstat, who served as President Clinton’s ambassador to the European Union; former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; and Thomas Williamson, former U.S. solicitor of labor.

Covington Brings Back Former DC AG Nickles, Launches Crisis Management Practice