Damage Control Niche

Crain’s New York Business:

Montieth Illingworth has advised clients caught up in news scandals including the Bernie Madoff affair, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case and the suit filed against photographer Annie Leibovitz when she defaulted on a restructuring loan. Acting as a combination of spin doctor, psychologist, management consultant and litigation adviser, Mr. Illingworth and his four employees at Montieth & Co., a boutique “special situations” consultancy in Manhattan, have done their job well if no one is aware they have done it at all.

In a previous decade, headline-grabbing business and corporate crises were typically managed by large public relations firms and management advisory consultancies. But in today’s complex media universe, where major stories are broken on Twitter, the specialized expertise and lack of bureaucracy at smaller special-situations firms puts them in hot demand.

“Montieth has a very detailed, integral understanding of litigation—what matters and what doesn’t,” said attorney Josh Epstein, chair of litigation and managing partner in the New York City office of SorinRand, who has hired Mr. Illingworth’s firm numerous times to manage media issues on sensitive finance-related cases. “He’s also very nimble in a way a larger firm couldn’t be.”

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