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Owning or managing a public relations business and creating and delivering world-class services requires an exacting mix of skills – strategic know-how, economic finesse and skilled professionals. Davis & Gilbert combines a thorough understanding of the public relations industry with a broad spectrum of legal services, thus enabling our clients to achieve their business objectives. We act as trusted business advisors to our public relations clients, guiding them through new regulations and trends and helping them implement strategies to enhance the profitability, growth and strategic positioning of their firms.

We have served as advocates and thought leaders to the public relations industry for decades and are privileged to count numerous small boutiques and mid-size independent firms, as well as subsidiaries of global holding companies, among our clients. The excellence, integrity and efficiency our firm is known for extends to all of our clients – regardless of size. For this reason, we are frequently called on to collaborate with the leading industry trade associations, including the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America, the Brand Activation Association (formerly Promotion Marketing Association) and the Social Media Society. We have also served as general counsel to the PR Council since its formation in 1998.

THE DAVIS & GILBERT ADVANTAGE
The cumulative success of our practice has been due, in large part, to:

  • Years of dedicated service to companies in the public relations, marketing, communications, and media sectors, as well as the trade organizations that support them.
  • Our ability to confront challenging situations with experience, foresight and an interdisciplinary approach. We draw on employment, corporate, intellectual property and litigation professionals with an invaluable depth of experience and resources from which our public relations clients benefit.

Whether advocating on behalf of the industry in court or collaborating to develop industry-governing agreements, the firm's attorneys are skilled counselors, litigators, negotiators and strategic advisors. We have spearheaded the development of industry models and best practices in the areas of: 

  • Agency/client agreements
  • Employee confidentiality, codes of conduct and protective covenants
  • Non-disclosure agreements for use in connection with vendors, joint ventures and potential mergers and acquisitions
  • Guidelines for handling client conflicts at public relations firms
  • Incentive compensation agreements for key employees
  • Equity participation agreements

These model guidelines have been implemented by many agencies and customized to meet the objectives of specific client relationships.

Attorneys in the firm regularly serve as faculty on leading industry conferences, are frequently quoted in the press, and also author legal columns and articles on a wide variety of industry and legal topics.

OUR PRACTICE
The Davis & Gilbert Public Relations Law Practice Group provides a comprehensive range of services to clients from the negotiation and documentation of complex employment and compensation agreements, practical advice in dispute avoidance and litigation, and handling all aspects of a firm's acquisition or sale to advising on advertising and marketing issues and negotiating agency/client contracts.

OUR SPECIFIC AREAS OF EXPERIENCE:

  • Marketing, Promotions & Communications Law
  • Digital Media & Data Privacy
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Corporate
  • Labor & Employment
  • Benefits & Compensation
  • Litigation

MARKETING, PROMOTIONS & COMMUNICATIONS LAW
Up until the late 1980s, the approach to public relations communications was, essentially, "anything goes;" – the First Amendment was considered to protect all forms of marketing communications. Based on how the courts have interpreted cases since then, savvy agency executives now realize that "anything goes" no longer applies. "Messenger liability" for false or misleading statements, copyright and trademark issues, the blurring of the lines between advertising and editorial, all pose risk factors that agencies confront today.

Davis & Gilbert is widely known for its preeminence in the areas of marketing, promotions and communications law. The firm’s attorneys are regularly called upon to review concepts, content, and the traditional and online ways in which messages are disseminated and promoted. Our knowledge extends to such cutting-edge areas as the FTC guidelines promulgated in October 2009 for marketers dealing with bloggers and celebrity endorsements, with a particular focus on endorsement and testimonial issues in the social media arena. We also assist clients with digital rights, product placement, behavioral and interactive advertising and mobile marketing. In addition, Davis & Gilbert has substantial experience on all kinds of promotional activities, including sweepstakes, skill contests, user generated content, sponsorships, charitable promotions (including commercial co-venturer arrangements), tie-ins and cutting-edge marketing techniques such as mobile, social media, word-of-mouth, and guerilla. Davis & Gilbert is also well-versed in more traditional types of promotional offerings, including premiums, BOGOs, coupons, rebates and “free” offers.

In addition, we have vast experience dealing with the full spectrum of intellectual property and related issues that affect public relations agencies and their clients’ communications in traditional, digital and social media. These issues include copyright (what copyright covers and protects, who owns a copyright, and what does and does not constitute copyright infringement); trademark (the protection of names, logos and slogans, what does and does not constitute trademark infringement, and how to refer to competitors’ marks and products in communications materials without infringing); and the law relating to personal rights of publicity and privacy (how individuals can protect their name, image, voice and likeness).

DIGITAL MEDIA & DATA PRIVACY
The impact of social media on the public relations industry has been tremendous, and our new media attorneys are at the forefront of developments in this area. We work closely with our public relations and digital agency clients to provide advice, protocols and contracts that implicate new and social media, especially the application of marketing laws to online activities (such as virtual marketing, blogs and mobile apps) and use of electronic devices (such as tablets and smart phones). We frequently advise public relations clients on all aspects of advertising and marketing on social media, including on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. We also assist clients in developing their social media pages and applications, and in structuring promotions on social media. Davis & Gilbert has also been helping its clients ensure they are making clear and conspicuous disclosures on mobile and social media platforms to comply with the FTC’s recently updated online advertising disclosure guidelines (the Dot Com Disclosures). We also work with many clients on preparing social media guidelines that respect intellectual property, confidentiality and accuracy of the content being disseminated.

In addition, our attorneys have developed specific experience in technology, digital media and privacy law as these issues now permeate all aspects of businesses – both online and offline. We advise clients on privacy laws and issues that include COPPA, GLB, HIPAA, ECPA, security breach notification laws, consumer disclosures, transborder data transfers, internal security practices and any other risks or threats that involve security concerns.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
No other law firm has handled more M&A transactions in the public relations industry than Davis & Gilbert. We have extensive transactional experience in the marketing and public relations services industries and are acutely accustomed to the style and manner in which these deals are structured. In particular, we are able to advise clients with respect to the following: 

  • The current pricing and multiples paid in the industry
  • The most advantageous financial and tax structures for the transactions, combining legal, tax and business knowledge
  • The benefits of purchasing and integrating strategic smaller firms before an ultimate sale

We also have a unique understanding of the critical interplay between the acquisition of a business and the employment of the selling principals during the earn-out period and can assist in protecting the asset being sold in the most efficient and advantageous manner.

Agencies regularly call upon us to assist in planning "next chapter" strategies, whether by a sale to key employees, a merger of equals, ESOP or an outright sale to a third party.

CORPORATE
Davis & Gilbert's corporate attorneys make sure to know not just the law – but our clients’ businesses as well. Our understanding of the business intricacies and strategic needs of our public relations clients enables us to provide effective, efficient and value-added advice with respect to the wide range of transactional, entrepreneurial and corporate matters that affect our clients. Through our close client relationships, we are able to anticipate and avoid potential issues before they materialize, containing costs and helping clients achieve a seamless progression toward meeting their business goals. Davis & Gilbert’s corporate attorneys have experience in such matters as:

  • Mergers of equals
  • Stock for stock tax-free exchanges
  • Management buy-outs
  • Joint ventures with minority voting rights
  • LLC operating agreements and shareholders agreements
  • Employee stock option and restricted stock plans
  • Employee deferred compensation and equity participation plans
  • Confidentiality and non-competition agreements

For many of the entrepreneurial and emerging companies we represent, we engage in “corporate coaching,” essentially helping to groom these companies for their eventual merger or sale. We have developed Davis & Gilbert’s Value Enhancement Program, which is a systematic way for us to advise companies to assess their business organization, legal arrangements and operational controls. Once that is done, this program is designed to help these firms transform into more valuable organizations and thus more attractive prospects for future investment or sale.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Advice and Counsel
Because employee relations play an increasingly vital role in the performance of any business, Davis & Gilbert provides complete counseling services in virtually every workplace-related area. Our ongoing work for public relations firms includes assisting in their compliance with varied regulations on a full range of issues. Some of the most common employment issues on which we advise our public relations firm clients are the following:

  • Ensuring that they are using up-to-date protective covenants with their employees
  • Adhering to the federal and state laws pertaining to payment of overtime for “non-exempt” employees including account coordinators
  • The use of independent contractors
  • Employment law issues relating to leaves of absence due to pregnancy, disability or pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act and similar state and local leave laws
  • Analysis of employee compensation to evaluate potential pay equity and related issues, practically in light of new federal reporting obligations
  • Ensuring compliance with state and local laws in the jurisdictions in which our clients operate

Employment Agreements
The legal provisions contained in an employment agreement touch on many areas of the law – employment, corporate, intellectual property, marketing and dispute resolution. Our multi-disciplinary approach effectively considers various critical aspects, which include:

  • Structuring the offer letter, job description and compensation arrangement
  • Advising on performance bonuses, equity compensation and severance arrangements
  • Assessing consequences of a change in control
  • Structuring intellectual property protection
  • Advising on terminations, severance arrangements and releases to reduce the risk of litigation

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION
Our full-service Benefits and Compensation practice group affords clients the additional advantage of the firm's deep, longstanding penetration into talent-driven service industries. Because we know these businesses so well, we have unique insight when it comes to structuring and dealing with benefit plans and executive compensation packages. We work with clients to establish policies and guidelines that help ensure compliance with complex tax and securities laws, accounting rules and other regulations.  Our attorneys have knowledge on a broad array of matters, including:

  • Design, establishment, qualification, administration, funding, investment, termination and drafting of pension and benefit plans
  • Executive compensation arrangements and negotiations
  • ERISA obligations of employers and other fiduciaries
  • Compliance with the Affordable Care Act and health care reform

LITIGATION
When disputes arise in public relations, they tend to involve employees (or former employees), client (or former client) relationships, or commercial business disputes between and among business owners and third parties. Litigation can have a significant impact on any company's ability to achieve its business objectives, and we work closely with clients to assess their options and make decisions consistent with their goals. Our team of experienced litigators handles a wide variety of lawsuits and other disputes in court and other tribunals across the country. In each case, we work to achieve the best possible result for our client, whether by victory in court, obtaining a favorable settlement or reaching an amicable resolution.  Our litigation attorneys are former prosecutors, law clerks for judges and many have been appointed by judges to serve as special masters and mediators in recognition of their reputations and accomplishments.

For additional information on Davis & Gilbert's Public Relations Law Practice and to receive updates in the areas of public relations, marketing and business law, please contact:

Michael C. Lasky
212.468.4849
mlasky@dglaw.com


Attorney Advertising :: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


MARKETING, PROMOTIONS & COMMUNICATIONS LAW
Up until the late 1980s, the approach to public relations communications was, essentially, "anything goes;" – the First Amendment was considered to protect all forms of marketing communications. Based on how the courts have interpreted cases since then, savvy agency executives now realize that "anything goes" no longer applies. "Messenger liability" for false or misleading statements, copyright and trademark issues, the blurring of the lines between advertising and editorial, all pose risk factors that agencies confront today.

Davis & Gilbert is widely known for its preeminence in the areas of marketing, promotions and communications law. The firm’s attorneys are regularly called upon to review concepts, content, and the traditional and online ways in which messages are disseminated and promoted. Our knowledge extends to such cutting-edge areas as the FTC guidelines promulgated in October 2009 for marketers dealing with bloggers and celebrity endorsements, with a particular focus on endorsement and testimonial issues in the social media arena. We also assist clients with digital rights, product placement, behavioral and interactive advertising and mobile marketing. In addition, Davis & Gilbert has substantial experience on all kinds of promotional activities, including sweepstakes, skill contests, user generated content, sponsorships, charitable promotions (including commercial co-venturer arrangements), tie-ins and cutting-edge marketing techniques such as mobile, social media, word-of-mouth, and guerilla. Davis & Gilbert is also well-versed in more traditional types of promotional offerings, including premiums, BOGOs, coupons, rebates and “free” offers.

In addition, we have vast experience dealing with the full spectrum of intellectual property and related issues that affect public relations agencies and their clients’ communications in traditional, digital and social media. These issues include copyright (what copyright covers and protects, who owns a copyright, and what does and does not constitute copyright infringement); trademark (the protection of names, logos and slogans, what does and does not constitute trademark infringement, and how to refer to competitors’ marks and products in communications materials without infringing); and the law relating to personal rights of publicity and privacy (how individuals can protect their name, image, voice and likeness).

DIGITAL MEDIA & DATA PRIVACY
The impact of social media on the public relations industry has been tremendous, and our new media attorneys are at the forefront of developments in this area. We work closely with our public relations and digital agency clients to provide advice, protocols and contracts that implicate new and social media, especially the application of marketing laws to online activities (such as virtual marketing, blogs and mobile apps) and use of electronic devices (such as tablets and smart phones). We frequently advise public relations clients on all aspects of advertising and marketing on social media, including on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. We also assist clients in developing their social media pages and applications, and in structuring promotions on social media. Davis & Gilbert has also been helping its clients ensure they are making clear and conspicuous disclosures on mobile and social media platforms to comply with the FTC’s recently updated online advertising disclosure guidelines (the Dot Com Disclosures). We also work with many clients on preparing social media guidelines that respect intellectual property, confidentiality and accuracy of the content being disseminated.

In addition, our attorneys have developed specific experience in technology, digital media and privacy law as these issues now permeate all aspects of businesses – both online and offline. We advise clients on privacy laws and issues that include COPPA, GLB, HIPAA, ECPA, security breach notification laws, consumer disclosures, transborder data transfers, internal security practices and any other risks or threats that involve security concerns.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
No other law firm has handled more M&A transactions in the public relations industry than Davis & Gilbert. We have extensive transactional experience in the marketing and public relations services industries and are acutely accustomed to the style and manner in which these deals are structured. In particular, we are able to advise clients with respect to the following: 

  • The current pricing and multiples paid in the industry
  • The most advantageous financial and tax structures for the transactions, combining legal, tax and business knowledge
  • The benefits of purchasing and integrating strategic smaller firms before an ultimate sale

We also have a unique understanding of the critical interplay between the acquisition of a business and the employment of the selling principals during the earn-out period and can assist in protecting the asset being sold in the most efficient and advantageous manner.

Agencies regularly call upon us to assist in planning "next chapter" strategies, whether by a sale to key employees, a merger of equals, ESOP or an outright sale to a third party.

CORPORATE
Davis & Gilbert's corporate attorneys make sure to know not just the law – but our clients’ businesses as well. Our understanding of the business intricacies and strategic needs of our public relations clients enables us to provide effective, efficient and value-added advice with respect to the wide range of transactional, entrepreneurial and corporate matters that affect our clients. Through our close client relationships, we are able to anticipate and avoid potential issues before they materialize, containing costs and helping clients achieve a seamless progression toward meeting their business goals. Davis & Gilbert’s corporate attorneys have experience in such matters as:

  • Mergers of equals
  • Stock for stock tax-free exchanges
  • Management buy-outs
  • Joint ventures with minority voting rights
  • LLC operating agreements and shareholders agreements
  • Employee stock option and restricted stock plans
  • Employee deferred compensation and equity participation plans
  • Confidentiality and non-competition agreements

For many of the entrepreneurial and emerging companies we represent, we engage in “corporate coaching,” essentially helping to groom these companies for their eventual merger or sale. We have developed Davis & Gilbert’s Value Enhancement Program, which is a systematic way for us to advise companies to assess their business organization, legal arrangements and operational controls. Once that is done, this program is designed to help these firms transform into more valuable organizations and thus more attractive prospects for future investment or sale.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Advice and Counsel
Because employee relations play an increasingly vital role in the performance of any business, Davis & Gilbert provides complete counseling services in virtually every workplace-related area. Our ongoing work for public relations firms includes assisting in their compliance with varied regulations on a full range of issues. Some of the most common employment issues on which we advise our public relations firm clients are the following:

  • Ensuring that they are using up-to-date protective covenants with their employees
  • Adhering to the federal and state laws pertaining to payment of overtime for “non-exempt” employees including account coordinators
  • The use of independent contractors
  • Employment law issues relating to leaves of absence due to pregnancy, disability or pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act and similar state and local leave laws
  • Analysis of employee compensation to evaluate potential pay equity and related issues, practically in light of new federal reporting obligations
  • Ensuring compliance with state and local laws in the jurisdictions in which our clients operate

Employment Agreements
The legal provisions contained in an employment agreement touch on many areas of the law – employment, corporate, intellectual property, marketing and dispute resolution. Our multi-disciplinary approach effectively considers various critical aspects, which include:

  • Structuring the offer letter, job description and compensation arrangement
  • Advising on performance bonuses, equity compensation and severance arrangements
  • Assessing consequences of a change in control
  • Structuring intellectual property protection
  • Advising on terminations, severance arrangements and releases to reduce the risk of litigation

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION
Our full-service Benefits and Compensation practice group affords clients the additional advantage of the firm's deep, longstanding penetration into talent-driven service industries. Because we know these businesses so well, we have unique insight when it comes to structuring and dealing with benefit plans and executive compensation packages. We work with clients to establish policies and guidelines that help ensure compliance with complex tax and securities laws, accounting rules and other regulations.  Our attorneys have knowledge on a broad array of matters, including:

  • Design, establishment, qualification, administration, funding, investment, termination and drafting of pension and benefit plans
  • Executive compensation arrangements and negotiations
  • ERISA obligations of employers and other fiduciaries
  • Compliance with the Affordable Care Act and health care reform

LITIGATION
When disputes arise in public relations, they tend to involve employees (or former employees), client (or former client) relationships, or commercial business disputes between and among business owners and third parties. Litigation can have a significant impact on any company's ability to achieve its business objectives, and we work closely with clients to assess their options and make decisions consistent with their goals. Our team of experienced litigators handles a wide variety of lawsuits and other disputes in court and other tribunals across the country. In each case, we work to achieve the best possible result for our client, whether by victory in court, obtaining a favorable settlement or reaching an amicable resolution.  Our litigation attorneys are former prosecutors, law clerks for judges and many have been appointed by judges to serve as special masters and mediators in recognition of their reputations and accomplishments.

For additional information on Davis & Gilbert's Public Relations Law Practice and to receive updates in the areas of public relations, marketing and business law, please contact:

Michael C. Lasky
212.468.4849
mlasky@dglaw.com


Attorney Advertising :: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.