Bell Pottinger wins first Clifford Chance PA task

Clifford Chance, the world’s biggest law firm, has awarded Bell Pottinger Public Affairs its first ever public affairs contract after a keenly contested pitch.

According to Clifford Chance global head of PR Anne Groves, the agency will initially support the company's public policy needs in the UK. However, the brief could potentially expand to involve advising the law firm's own clients on policy issues pertinent to them.

BPPA is understood to have triumphed over APCO, Edelman, LLM Communications and Weber Shandwick to land the account. Pitches took place last week with the decision finalised on Tuesday (14 February).

The agency will report to company partner Michael Smyth, who runs the firm's public policy unit.

Clifford Chance first began sounding out PA consultancies seven months ago (PRWeek, 8 July 2005). Edelman continues to handle its global PR account.

The company operates 28 offices across 19 countries that together turn over close to £1bn. Like other magic circle law firms, it has benefited from the increase in demand for legal advice triggered by a recent surge in mergers and acquisitions.

Earlier this month it tied up one of the largest ever finance deals conducted under Islamic law, advising Dubai Ports Authority on a £1.96bn convertible bonds issue.

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