WASHINGTON: Former counsel to President Bill Clinton Lanny Davis is moving his unique brand of crisis communications from lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs over to lesser-known law firm Orrick, Herington & Sutcliffe.
Davis rose to prominence in the late 1990s as both attorney and so-called "spinmeister" for Clinton during the Lewinsky saga. He later institutionalized that package offering at Patton, where he and a small team of lawyers/PR pros represented clients such as diet-pill company Metabolife and embattled healthcare company HealthSouth, both in the courtroom and in the press. It's an offering that Davis and others say is hard to come by elsewhere.
"We are lawyers with a commitment to getting the facts into the media and moving in a direction of transparency consistent with legal constraints," Davis told PRWeek. "I take the attorney-client privilege beyond the courtroom and into strategic communications."
Larry Haas, also a former Clinton spokesman and now head of public affairs for MS&L, said that unlike many firms that now offer litigation PR services, Davis "can fight with lawyers on their terms, and at the same time push a communications agenda. It's a powerful combination."
Sources close to the move said Davis' entire staff at Patton would be offered jobs at Orrick. It is unclear whether his clients would be free to follow as well.
Davis also serves as informal strategist for politicians such as Trent Lott, who was reported to have sought his counsel following criticism for his praise last year of now-deceased senator and former segregationist Strom Thurmond.