Akin Gump and Publicis Worldwide Announce Cross-Border Alliance

(Beijing/Paris/Washington/Los Angeles)   Publicis Consultants | Worldwide and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP today announced that the two firms would cooperate in a global Issues Response and Management Team. The first focus market for the new alliance will be China.

Both firms’ professionals have decades of top-level experience around the world in crisis and issues management, communications, law and public policy. The new alliance will assist clients in preparing for, responding to and navigating crises that may negatively affect clients’ businesses, including the public relations, political and legal fallout from those crises.

“We have a pioneering approach to build and protect our clients’ stakeholder relationships as well as to defend their reputations. Today, the impact of a crisis in one country, China for instance, can be felt anywhere in the world,” said Publicis Consultants | Worldwide CEO Eric Giuily in Paris. “Publicis Consultants and Akin Gump’s international assets and agile networks can now be offered together to provide a comprehensive set of services to help clients successfully navigate a crisis with global implications.”

“As commerce becomes increasingly global, businesses find that their ability to compete at home and manage investment abroad is more and more dependent on how successfully they master a tangle of legal, regulatory, political and reputational considerations in several countries at once,” said Eliot Cutler, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Beijing office. “The breadth of skills and depth of experience of the professionals involved in this joint effort will help companies do just that.”

The chief manager on the team for Publicis Consultants | is Charles Winner, head of Publicis Consultants | Worldwide crisis response team and president of Winner & Associates in Los Angeles, a subsidiary of Publicis Consultants | Worldwide. Winner noted that “the world will focus increasingly on China as the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo approach. Multinational clients can anticipate that their activities in China will come under increasing scrutiny in the United States and Europe. Our alliance is ready to help clients deal with and respond effectively to that scrutiny.”

Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican Party and campaign manager for President George W. Bush, is a partner in Akin Gump’s Washington office. He added that “this alliance is a genuine innovation in the business area. For the first time, a team of lawyers and communication specialists will be regularly working together from the same office, delivering a fully integrated service to clients.”

Publicis Consultants | Worldwide and Akin Gump have a long history of success in handling legal, political and communications challenges, both independently and in cooperation with each other. The professionals from Publicis Consultants | Worldwide and Akin Gump who are participating in the alliance will draw on years of experience in managing complex litigation, crisis response and public affairs, as well as implementing comprehensive public relations strategies, including issues management, public opinion analysis, spokesman training and media outreach. Included in their ranks are experienced litigators, former government and legislative officials and journalists from the U.S., Europe and other regions. Their experience enables them to quickly mobilize as necessary to engage with and manage the response to potential legal adversaries, government investigators, NGOs and the media.

Members of the alliance have helped clients deal successfully with numerous high-stakes communications challenges, including the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the Bridgestone-Firestone recall of 6 million tires, the broadcasting of false stories about the food-handling practices of a multinational grocery chain, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, and a costly fallout from a failure in the U.S. electrical grid.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 900 lawyers with offices in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Taipei and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; appellate; banking and finance; capital markets; communications and information technology; corporate and securities; corporate governance; employee benefits; energy; entertainment and media; environmental; financial restructuring; global security; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international trade; investment funds; labor and employment; land use; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; private client services; private equity; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate development and finance; Russia/CIS; tax; and technology.

# # #