UK-wide - PR & Communications Advisers - Professional Advisers: Litigation Support - Chambers and Partners
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Professional-Advisers-Litigation-Support Guide

PR & Communications — UK-wide

Band 1

Bell Yard

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Bell Yard are a boutique litigation PR firm and one of the earliest exponents of the craft in the UK. The agency are co-founders and Chair of the Crisis and Litigation Communicators Alliance (CLCA), an international network of independent litigation specialists, giving them additional capability on multi-jurisdictional issues.

Clients say: "I adore Bell Yard. There are fights between law firms to get them on board. Melanie instantly earns the lawyer's and client's trust, and Sarah Peters is extremely diligent. Honestly, it's Bell Yard and then everyone else, they're really far ahead of the game."

Work highlights

They are currently leading all aspects of media strategy for the plaintiff in a USD400 million lawsuit contesting the alleged non-payment of royalties by Vivendi across the UK, the USA and France.

Notable practitioners

Melanie Riley is the Director of Bell Yard, having founded the agency in 2002. She has worked for 23 years in litigation PR, corporate communications and public affairs on a range of issues from commercial disputes to employment litigation. She has additional expertise in directing special campaigns focused on injustice more generally, including a push to highlight imbalances in the extradition agreement between the US and UK.

She is described by peers as "phenomenally discreet and capable," and "incredibly effective," while lawyers say: "If I could have only one speed dial to a PR, it would be to Melanie at Bell Yard."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Brunswick Group

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Brunswick are a global advisory firm specialising in business-critical matters facing international corporate clients. The firm are commended by clients for "recruiting really good people with varied experience," who can "provide a good perspective on complex problems."

Market sources report: "When you have a bigger problem, you use Brunswick. When you need people who understand the way the world works, and can put your problem in the context of the current market with a global view, you use them. When you say you've got Brunswick on board, that's a statement."

Work highlights

Brunswick provided communications advice to Rolls-Royce on the announcement of the company’s settlement agreements with prosecuting authorities in the UK, the US and Brazil in January 2017, and during the preceding investigations which started in 2012.

Notable practitioners

Charlie Potter is co-lead of Brunswick's global litigation communications practice in London, and is also a partner in Brunswick's family business, crisis and cybersecurity practices. Peers say he is "very smart, very informed, and very good," while clients report that "he has a great sense of what's important and what's not - he helped us cut to the chase." Potter was formerly a barrister at leading set Blackstone Chambers, where he focused on broadcasting and media regulation.

His cases in legal practice included the representation of The Guardian in Max Mosley's appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, in which Mosley sought to challenge UK privacy laws on the basis that they contravened Article 8 ECHR.

Jon McLeod is Chairman of corporate, financial and public affairs at Weber Shandwick. He is a former financial and legal journalist, and a former Law Society executive. Clients say McLeod has "a lot of experience, especially in litigation, and is always available." McLeod has advised on a wide range of legal issues including judicial reviews, inquests, corruption allegations and defamation matters.

Since publication, Jon McLeod has moved to Brunswick Group.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Edelman

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Edelman is the world's largest public relations agency. Their specialist litigation and legal affairs practice is staffed by current or former lawyers, while their wider corporate reputation team features experienced senior journalists and sector-specific communications experts. Clients recommend the firm for "complex, international or more controversial matters which require a nuanced understanding of communications." The firm are also praised for being "strong on consumer and digital issues."

Work highlights

Edelman advised Asda's General Counsel and Walmart in relation to a high profile equal value class action brought by staff against the retailer.

Notable practitioners

David Sugden leads Edelman's litigation and legal affairs practice in London, and also acts as a legal counsel for the agency. Before joining Edelman he worked as a transactional corporate M&A lawyer at Freshfields, where he was embedded in the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, advising on the handling of several crises and sensitive issues, including the body's liquidation.

One lawyer says that "he understands the legal nuts and bolts, and he's very calm, very practical and well organised. He knew exactly what the press would and would not be interested in. He's someone who lives and breathes the media."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Portland Communications

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Portland is an international fully-integrated communications consultancy focusing on high-end disputes, particularly those with a complex political or financial dimension. The agency are specifically praised by clients for "top-notch digital and design capability," and "mindblowingly good" work on group litigation cases.

Clients say: "They bring better ideas than you could have imagined and then execute them even better than you expected. They actualise them on time and on budget. Our objective was to get as much publicity as possible: they got us into 315 publications internationally in 24 hours. I was completely blown away."

Work highlights

Portland were instructed by one of two claimants to the leadership of the Libyan Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund valued at over USD67 billion. Portland worked to ensure that his position in the ongoing dispute was fairly and accurately reported in local and international media.

Notable practitioners

Philip Hall leads the dispute practice at Portland Communications. He is admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand, and prior to joining Portland was an associate partner at international financial PR firm Finsbury.

Clients say: "Philip is very straightforward, very clever and extremely professional." One lawyer reports that "initially I was worried that he wouldn't know the PR side because he was so qualified as a lawyer! However, my fears were soon put to bed. It became very clear that he knows both crafts." Hall is experienced in advising on conflict communications with high-profile travel and automotive organisations, and on high-value contentious legal actions across multiple jurisdictions, including the UK and the ECtHR.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Pagefield Global Counsel

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Pagefield Global Counsel are a strategic reputation consultancy headed by a former CEO of Bell Pottinger Global Advisory, Stuart Leach. They specialise in litigation, crisis management and international affairs, with clients recommending the firm for "high-stakes" contentious and multi-jurisdictional matters.

Clients say the firm display "a very good blend of different strengths and different backgrounds," and can "help the client understand what the case will look like publicly at different stages, and how the media situation will play out."

Work highlights

Pagefield were engaged by Vladislav Doronin, the owner of luxury hotel chain Aman Resorts, to balance the media narrative on his behalf in relation to a high-profile shareholders' dispute with Omar Amanat. The agency's work included securing interviews with national newspapers and building a more visible and positive online presence for Mr Doronin.

Notable practitioners

Stuart Leach is a founding partner of Pagefield Global Counsel. He previously worked in advertising for 18 years, serving as CEO to a number of advertising agencies, before becoming a practising barrister at Pump Court Chambers.

One client reports that "Stuart Leach led the charge on the benefits of having good litigation support, and did a great deal of work educating lawyers about its potential." Prior to Pagefield, Leach served as head of litigation support at Bell Pottinger, and was was instrumental in building the Global Advisory team, which he led as CEO for two years. Sources commend the breadth of his abilities, saying: "He's a former barrister and understands the litigation process. More broadly, he's a sound mind and a safe pair of hands. He's very reasonable, rational and level-headed. A good person to have on side who has a good demeanour with the clients."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

PHA Media

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

PHA Media are a London-based PR agency founded by a former editor of the News of the World, Phil Hall. Peers say the firm are in "a different league" for handling media litigation for high-profile individuals, while clients praise them for being "very effective at getting rid of hostile media."

One law firm client says: "They're very reactive. They won't go off on a tangent like some PR firms, they're team players and they work well with us. Committed and very helpful." The agency are recognised across the board for their strong ties to national UK newspapers and broadcasters.

Work highlights

PHA Media represented Sir Cliff Richard during high-profile civil suits against the BBC and South Yorkshire Police, in order to ensure accurate reporting of the cases.

Notable practitioners

Phil Hall is the founder and Chairman of PHA Media. Previously, Hall served as the editor of the News of the World, as editor-in-chief of Hello! magazine, and as editorial director of development for publishing group Trinity Mirror.

One client says: "Phil Hall knows a lot of people in the Murdoch press. I recommend Phil above pretty much anyone else. He can prevent and tone down negative press coverage." He has also held leading positions on the industry regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Slate Campaigns

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Slate Campaigns are a boutique dispute, litigation and crisis agency founded by former journalist Jonathan Hawker. The agency specialises in working with corporate and government organisations facing disputes in a wide variety of areas of law, and draws particular praise from clients for being "particularly good on multi-jurisdictional litigation, complex restructurings and City trader cases."

Lawyers describe Hawker as a "very wise operator," who has "extremely good instincts, especially on cases with activist-type dimensions, or against opponents who get up to no good and behave in a very underhand way."

Work highlights

Slate Campaigns have handled a diverse range of recent matters, including their representation of a party to a headline test case against Google, and the reputation management of an individual under heavy media attention as a result of the release of the Panama Papers.

Notable practitioners

Jonathan Hawker is the founder of Slate Campaigns Limited. He established litigation boutique Partner PR, which was acquired by Financial Dynamics in 2005. He became a senior Managing Director at FTI for ten years following their acquisition of Financial Dynamics, before leaving to create Slate Campaigns in 2014.

Lawyers say: "He's incredibly experienced, so in most situations, he's seen or dealt with it before. He's an ex-journalist so he can predict how a story will play out, and he understands litigation procedure well, which a lot of PRs don't. He's very creative and strategic in how he looks at an issue." Hawker's clients are typically corporate and financial organisations.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Weber Shandwick

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Weber Shandwick are a global communications consultancy. The agency's crisis and issues management practice aims to provide a full strategic service that includes traditional media management, but also alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.

Lawyers remark: "They're very sensible. They provide very good advice and are very experienced in what the media are interested in. A reassuring presence for the client."

Work highlights

The agency advised a leading private school on issues relating to potential historic child abuse, including on messaging strategy and the design of the school's safe-guarding policy.

Notable practitioners

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Hill+Knowlton Strategies are a global public relations agency that serves international corporate clients. The firm's litigation practice is composed of 12 full-time consultants and is incorporated into their wider issues and crisis team. One client praises the agency for providing "really first-rate support on litigation" and for having "a big-firm approach, but a local service in each country."

They also receive praise for their advice on cybersecurity issues, with advisers reporting that "they're familiar with the technical issues, and are good at spotting the issues in advance. I've struggled to find their expertise with any other PR firms. Hill+Knowlton are the only one I would use."

Notable practitioners

Tim Luckett is global crisis lead at Hill+Knowlton, and heads litigation support matters for the agency. He is a former journalist with over 20 years' experience advising corporate clients in a variety of high-profile crisis situations, including product recalls, bankruptcies and accusations of corporate fraud.

Clients describe him as being "calm under pressure and a safe pair of hands," and as "a seasoned campaigner," while lawyers report that "he's got a lot of experience, so he can provide insights into best practice in our industry."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Maltin PR

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Maltin PR are a legal and corporate communications firm based in London. Clients appreciate the firm for being "very passionate about the cases they take on," while a lawyer reports that "we were dealing with an organisation that gets badly beaten up in the press. The only firm we have used who have had any traction with this case are Maltin. Not a lot of the vanilla, large PR agencies could handle it." The agency are also commended for "providing spot-on judgements" on how to engage with activists and agitators surrounding a case.

Work highlights

Maltin PR were engaged by Signature Litigation in relation to the GBP300 million RBS Rights Issue settlement, managing the press office and advising on general reputational concerns.

Notable practitioners

Tim Maltin is the founder and Chief Executive of Maltin PR. He is the former chairman of London PR firm Lehmann Communications, and of international fashion brand Hardy Amies. Clients praise Maltin for being an "extremely proactive and energetic individual, to a degree that's difficult to believe," and "an excellent ideas man." Lawyers attest: "He understands legal and litigation matters, and quickly grasps the agendas involved in a case. I've yet to come across anyone in my 30 years as a litigator who is as focused on and dedicated to litigation PR."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Project Associates

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Project Associates are an international communications agency providing reputation and crisis counsel to corporate, private and government clients. Their international capability is bolstered by a significant European foothold, with teams in Berlin, Paris and Bern in addition to offices in London and Brussels. Lawyers say: "They're creative, engaging, focused, and have a very clear ability to deliver in a consistent way with legal strategy."

One client reports: "They did an unbelievable job. They kept a lot of what we wanted under the radar and handled any exposure there was."

Notable practitioners

Michael Farrant is a director at Project Associates UK, and heads the agency's corporate and private client groups. Lawyers describe Farrant as "very sensible, dynamic and energetic with clients," and as being "very good with HNW individuals." Prior to joining Project Associates, Farrant was Chief Operating Officer of a Bahamas-based international real estate investment and development firm, and Vice President of an international estate and inheritance planning consultancy.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Byfield Consultancy

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Byfield Consultancy are a boutique legal and litigation PR consultancy based in London. The agency provides media litigation support to clients of national and international law firms, as well as global commercial litigation funders.

Clients say: "They worked hard for me. I was impressed by their understanding of legal terms and situations, which made them really stand out compared to a regular PR firm. They understood the dynamics of the legal processes and helped me to understand it too." Gus Sellitto, chairman and managing director of Byfield, is the first chairman of the PRCA's legal and litigation PR group.

Work highlights

Byfield were engaged by Peter Cruddas, the former Treasurer of the UK Conservative Party, in connection with his successful libel action against The Sunday Times for defamatory allegations that Mr Cruddas had accepted payments in order to facilitate meetings with the Prime Minister.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Erudite PR

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Erudite PR is the consultancy of Eben Black, former head of media at DLA Piper and former political editor at the News of the World. Erudite advises on both traditional litigation PR and media strategy, as well as on pre-litigation matters involving UK regulators and strategic advice in relation to Parliamentary inquiries.

Work highlights

Erudite negotiated with the producers of an investigative documentary on behalf of a British company that had been targeted in the programme on legal issues, with the result that the company was not mentioned in the eventual broadcast.

Notable practitioners

Eben Black is the founder of Erudite PR. He is a former political editor at the News of the World newspaper, and prior to starting Erudite PR served as Head of Media at global law firm DLA Piper. Clients say Black is "very effective, highly responsive, and very good value for money," and that he can "quickly grasp complex and unusual situations and offer a range of solutions." Sources attest: "Eben was very good at communicating with the journalists, and making the coverage more balanced. He speaks the media's language and can present a case in a way that's accessible to them. He's good in front of the client and at thinking on his feet."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

FTI Consulting

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

FTI are a global consultancy firm offering strategic communications and reputation management services. The firm are best known for their "very solid contacts in the heavyweight financial and corporate press," and for their experience in handling financial PR work for global corporate financial services clients.

Clients say: "Their key strength is their professionalism. They're a calming and professional influence at times of potential stress." Their senior team includes a former business editor at The Sunday Times, and a former vice president of corporate communications at Morgan Stanley.

Work highlights

Beginning in 2015 and ending in late 2016, FTI advised Soma Oil and Gas on its public response and media engagement following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into allegations by the UN's Somalia & Eritrea Monitoring Group of corruption and bribery.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Infinite Global

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Infinite Global are a US and UK strategic communications agency serving the professional services market, with a strong emphasis on the legal sector. Clients say the firm are "really trusted in the legal business" and laud them for being "very calm and knowledgeable. They'll speak with journalists and target the right publications. I push everything to them, that's how much I trust them. Overall they can make big and complex issues much easier and much simpler."

Work highlights

Infinite Global advised a senior executive of a major retailer on his communications strategy in connection to a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Questor Consulting

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Questor Consulting is a boutique corporate, financial and litigation public relations firm with marked experience in providing PR strategy on a range of high-profile UK group action cases. Lawyers praise founder Desiree Maghoo for being "very hands-on," and for her "unremitting and unrelenting quality, which is very helpful." One client said: "We were behind the curve on using PR before she was involved, and now largely thanks to her we've grown a lot in confidence. We publicise a lot of our cases now." Questor are also experienced in working closely with litigation funders.

Work highlights

Questor Consulting are currently managing PR for law firm Harcus Sinclair on behalf of the claimants in the high-profile Lloyds/HBOS group action litigation, with a potential claim of up to GBP600 million.

^ See whole ranking table

PHA Media

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Phil Hall is the founder and Chairman of PHA Media. Previously, Hall served as the editor of the News of the World, as editor-in-chief of Hello! magazine, and as editorial director of development for publishing group Trinity Mirror.

One client says: "Phil Hall knows a lot of people in the Murdoch press. I recommend Phil above pretty much anyone else. He can prevent and tone down negative press coverage." He has also held leading positions on the industry regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission.

^ See whole ranking table

Slate Campaigns

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Jonathan Hawker is the founder of Slate Campaigns Limited. He established litigation boutique Partner PR, which was acquired by Financial Dynamics in 2005. He became a senior Managing Director at FTI for ten years following their acquisition of Financial Dynamics, before leaving to create Slate Campaigns in 2014.

Lawyers say: "He's incredibly experienced, so in most situations, he's seen or dealt with it before. He's an ex-journalist so he can predict how a story will play out, and he understands litigation procedure well, which a lot of PRs don't. He's very creative and strategic in how he looks at an issue." Hawker's clients are typically corporate and financial organisations.

^ See whole ranking table

Brunswick Group

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Charlie Potter is co-lead of Brunswick's global litigation communications practice in London, and is also a partner in Brunswick's family business, crisis and cybersecurity practices. Peers say he is "very smart, very informed, and very good," while clients report that "he has a great sense of what's important and what's not - he helped us cut to the chase." Potter was formerly a barrister at leading set Blackstone Chambers, where he focused on broadcasting and media regulation.

His cases in legal practice included the representation of The Guardian in Max Mosley's appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, in which Mosley sought to challenge UK privacy laws on the basis that they contravened Article 8 ECHR.

^ See whole ranking table

Bell Yard

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Melanie Riley is the Director of Bell Yard, having founded the agency in 2002. She has worked for 23 years in litigation PR, corporate communications and public affairs on a range of issues from commercial disputes to employment litigation. She has additional expertise in directing special campaigns focused on injustice more generally, including a push to highlight imbalances in the extradition agreement between the US and UK.

She is described by peers as "phenomenally discreet and capable," and "incredibly effective," while lawyers say: "If I could have only one speed dial to a PR, it would be to Melanie at Bell Yard."

^ See whole ranking table

Project Associates

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Michael Farrant is a director at Project Associates UK, and heads the agency's corporate and private client groups. Lawyers describe Farrant as "very sensible, dynamic and energetic with clients," and as being "very good with HNW individuals." Prior to joining Project Associates, Farrant was Chief Operating Officer of a Bahamas-based international real estate investment and development firm, and Vice President of an international estate and inheritance planning consultancy.

^ See whole ranking table

Portland Communications

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Philip Hall leads the dispute practice at Portland Communications. He is admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand, and prior to joining Portland was an associate partner at international financial PR firm Finsbury.

Clients say: "Philip is very straightforward, very clever and extremely professional." One lawyer reports that "initially I was worried that he wouldn't know the PR side because he was so qualified as a lawyer! However, my fears were soon put to bed. It became very clear that he knows both crafts." Hall is experienced in advising on conflict communications with high-profile travel and automotive organisations, and on high-value contentious legal actions across multiple jurisdictions, including the UK and the ECtHR.

^ See whole ranking table

Pagefield Global Counsel

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Stuart Leach is a founding partner of Pagefield Global Counsel. He previously worked in advertising for 18 years, serving as CEO to a number of advertising agencies, before becoming a practising barrister at Pump Court Chambers.

One client reports that "Stuart Leach led the charge on the benefits of having good litigation support, and did a great deal of work educating lawyers about its potential." Prior to Pagefield, Leach served as head of litigation support at Bell Pottinger, and was was instrumental in building the Global Advisory team, which he led as CEO for two years. Sources commend the breadth of his abilities, saying: "He's a former barrister and understands the litigation process. More broadly, he's a sound mind and a safe pair of hands. He's very reasonable, rational and level-headed. A good person to have on side who has a good demeanour with the clients."

^ See whole ranking table

Edelman

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

David Sugden leads Edelman's litigation and legal affairs practice in London, and also acts as a legal counsel for the agency. Before joining Edelman he worked as a transactional corporate M&A lawyer at Freshfields, where he was embedded in the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, advising on the handling of several crises and sensitive issues, including the body's liquidation.

One lawyer says that "he understands the legal nuts and bolts, and he's very calm, very practical and well organised. He knew exactly what the press would and would not be interested in. He's someone who lives and breathes the media."

^ See whole ranking table

Erudite PR

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Eben Black is the founder of Erudite PR. He is a former political editor at the News of the World newspaper, and prior to starting Erudite PR served as Head of Media at global law firm DLA Piper. Clients say Black is "very effective, highly responsive, and very good value for money," and that he can "quickly grasp complex and unusual situations and offer a range of solutions." Sources attest: "Eben was very good at communicating with the journalists, and making the coverage more balanced. He speaks the media's language and can present a case in a way that's accessible to them. He's good in front of the client and at thinking on his feet."

^ See whole ranking table

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Tim Luckett is global crisis lead at Hill+Knowlton, and heads litigation support matters for the agency. He is a former journalist with over 20 years' experience advising corporate clients in a variety of high-profile crisis situations, including product recalls, bankruptcies and accusations of corporate fraud.

Clients describe him as being "calm under pressure and a safe pair of hands," and as "a seasoned campaigner," while lawyers report that "he's got a lot of experience, so he can provide insights into best practice in our industry."

^ See whole ranking table

Maltin PR

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Tim Maltin is the founder and Chief Executive of Maltin PR. He is the former chairman of London PR firm Lehmann Communications, and of international fashion brand Hardy Amies. Clients praise Maltin for being an "extremely proactive and energetic individual, to a degree that's difficult to believe," and "an excellent ideas man." Lawyers attest: "He understands legal and litigation matters, and quickly grasps the agendas involved in a case. I've yet to come across anyone in my 30 years as a litigator who is as focused on and dedicated to litigation PR."

^ See whole ranking table

Brunswick Group

From the Chambers Professional Advisers: Litigation Support guide

Jon McLeod is Chairman of corporate, financial and public affairs at Weber Shandwick. He is a former financial and legal journalist, and a former Law Society executive. Clients say McLeod has "a lot of experience, especially in litigation, and is always available." McLeod has advised on a wide range of legal issues including judicial reviews, inquests, corruption allegations and defamation matters.

^ See whole ranking table