Lanny Davis’ law firm flirts with crisis management

WASHINGTON, DC: PR agencies are about to find themselves competing with law firms for crisis-management assignments - that is, if former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis has his way.

WASHINGTON, DC: PR agencies are about to find themselves competing with law firms for crisis-management assignments - that is, if former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis has his way.

WASHINGTON, DC: PR agencies are about to find themselves competing

with law firms for crisis-management assignments - that is, if former

Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis has his way.



Davis’ powerhouse DC law firm, Patton Boggs, has set up a new Legal

Crisis Management practice. It will showcase the new unit by

co-sponsoring a seminar, ’Securities Fraud, Accounting Irregularities

and Legal Crisis Management: What to do After the Crisis Hits,’ this

Thursday in McLean, VA.



Chief among Davis’ priorities is the successful integration of legal and

PR processes during litigation. ’PR people should value having a lawyer

who understands the needs of the media and can translate and argue their

issues to other lawyers involved in the case,’ he said.



Davis knows the difficulty of balancing the interests of both

professions from personal experience. During his tenure at the Clinton

White House, he found himself allied with press secretary Mike McCurry,

who also supported releasing information about the 1996 Clinton/Gore

fund-raising controversy.



Not surprisingly, White House attorneys schooled in the art of saying

’no comment’ disagreed with him.



Davis notes that lawyers usually clam up when confronted with a

microphone; PR people, on the other hand, push for openness. But the

lawyers usually carry the day with the CEO, even though the lack of

response often leads to a stock or sales decline.



While most companies involved in major litigation employ both a PR

agency and a law firm, Davis believes a true crisis requires the two

professions to work hand-in-hand. ’You’ve got to have a place where both

can be done at the same time,’ he explained. ’I’m not asking clients to

fire their PR firm, but to let me be the bridge and translator between

the disciplines.’



While the new practice consists primarily of lawyers, Davis notes that

most of the staffers boast some political experience and thus recognize

the value of being forthcoming.



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