November 16, 2009

Premier PR Firms Launch First International Communications Network for Litigation and Corporate Crises

Allows Coordinated Communications Strategy Across Continents

(New York), November 16, 2009 – In today’s world, business takes place globally - and so do PR challenges. In recognition, five prominent consulting firms today announced the establishment of an international network to provide clients with seamless crisis and litigation communications support as needed around the globe. The five founding members of the Crisis & Litigation Communicators’ Alliance, each a highly regarded boutique agency specializing in communications strategy in crisis and high-value litigation matters, are based in the U.S. (Hellerman Baretz Communications), U.K. (Bell Yard), Germany (Results: S. Holzinger!), Austria (PreventK) and Switzerland (Roland Binz Kommunikation & Image).

The number of business crises that straddle borders has accelerated in recent years – not just affecting large companies. The arrest of a German hedge fund founder for allegedly defrauding banks on two continents, for instance, or the accusations of a worldwide campaign by Intel to protect its microprocessor monopoly being but two recent examples. As leaders in their field observing this phenomenon, the members of the CLC-Alliance were keen to establish a collection of top-flight consultancies in key jurisdictions, on call to provide expert guidance wherever events are anticipated, or actually unfolding. A similar trend toward cross-border effects in legal matters has been driven by increased co-operation among international regulatory agencies and the rise in prosecutions based on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and analogous statutes. “A corporate crisis doesn’t need a passport,” said Spencer Baretz of Hellerman Baretz Communications, the CLC-Alliance’s founding member in the United States. “As a member of the CLC-Alliance, when a client crisis or litigation occurs internationally, in partnership we can provide overseas expertise of the same caliber we each provide our clients domestically.”

Legal disputes typically increase when economic times are tough, as evidenced by a recent survey (Fulbright Litigation Trends) which found that nearly half of U.S. and U.K. public companies foresee more disputes in 2010, as compared to a third last year. Likewise the High Court in London has seen a 10% rise in cases filed in the past year (source: Reynolds Porter Chamberlain survey, Oct 2009) spanning credit-crunch-related litigation to high-value employment and divorce cases.

“Litigation Communication has never been in greater demand,” commented Stephan Holzinger of Munich- based Results: S. Holzinger!, inaugural chairman of the CLC-Alliance. “What was essentially a U.S.-born discipline is finding increasing application in Europe as the need to better manage communications around litigation grows and parties become more sophisticated, with financial sector litigation being at the forefront in many markets.“ The CLC-Alliance has ambitious plans to expand its geographic footprint in the coming months and is accepting inquiries from crisis and litigation communications consultants in territories not already represented by its founding members. Applicants must share the philosophy and focus of founding members. More details can be found on the new CLC-Alliance website live today. ( Email:

Hellerman Baretz Communications, U.S.: Working with the US’s most prominent law firms and attorneys, Hellerman Baretz Communications specializes in litigation PR in high-stakes, often bet-the- company lawsuits. The agency has managed the PR for many of the nation’s most visible disputes involving financial services, healthcare, intellectual property, among many other issues. The agency’s two partners — John Hellerman and Spencer Baretz — are nationally recognized litigation PR and crisis communications experts: John was dubbed a “PR whiz” and a “top media relations pro” by both Law Practice Management and PR Week magazines; and Spencer Baretz, called a “communications expert” by The American Lawyer Magazine, is also an attorney who practiced at one of New York’s largest law firms after clerking for U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser, one of New York’s most respected Federal Judges.

Bell Yard Communications, U.K.: The only London-based PR firm focused exclusively on litigation PR, Bell Yard’s experience, whether for claimant or defendant, spans financial industry litigation through to celebrity disputes, with employment, intellectual property, personal injury, extradition and fraud cases, to name but a few, in between. Founder Melanie Riley is widely regarded as one of the foremost practitioners of litigation PR in the UK market. Bell Yard has an established and respected reputation in the City of London legal community.

Results: S. Holzinger!: specialises in crisis and litigation communications and executive reputation management. The Munich-based firm, with a representative office in Berlin, successfully represents family offices, entrepreneurs and board members in high-stakes crisis and litigation matters. The firm’s work has been acknowledged by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Handelsblatt, Financial Times (D) and many legal and PR publications. Stephan Holzinger is author of the first German book on litigation communications (“In the Name of the Public”), which was listed among the top 5 business books in getAbstract AG’s 2009 international book award. He is a member of the Reputation Institute in New York, a university lecturer and frequent speaker on crisis and litigation communications.

PreventK: is the only consulting company focusing on crisis prevention, crisis and conflict management and litigation communication in Austria. The Viennese company has a reputation among private enterprises and organizations for navigation management through all kinds of crises and conflicts and turning threats into new opportunities. Both founders personally possess great experience and know how in matters concerning crisis management and litigation communication, including criminal cases, plea bargains, antitrust litigation, natural catastrophes as well as man-made disasters, restructuring processes in small and big companies, downsizing, large scale lay-offs, hostile takeovers, negotiation and conflict solution, and product recalls on an international level.

Roland Binz Kommunikation & Image, Switzerland: Roland Binz is one of the leading and most experienced professionals in crisis communications in Switzerland. He is co-founder and vice president of the Swiss Crisis Communication Association. Following his studies in law at the University of Berne Roland Binz worked for 8 years as a court reporter and political editor for the well-known daily newspaper “Der Bund” in the federal capital. Binz was subsequently nominated Public and Press Officer for the Swiss Army within KFOR after the Kosovo war in the year 2000. From 2001 till mid 2009 Binz garnered broad experience in crisis management, corporate communication and public affairs as the corporate spokesperson and Deputy Head of the Press Office at Swiss Federal Railways. In June 2009 he established his eponymous business consultancy for crisis & litigation communication and reputation management.