Provost & Umphrey LLP

In the 1970’s, a farm chemical called DBCP was found to cause sterility among men.  It was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the late 1970s and Dow stopped making the chemical.  Dole Food Company continued to use the pesticide widely in Central America, countries included, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.  As a result, thousands of banana farm workers and others who lived hear the farms became sterile.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys throughout the U.S. agreed to represent victims of Dole’s activities.  To date, there have been more than 7,000 cases taken by Mark Sparks and the Provost Umphrey firm alone.

Rockwood Communications Counsel helped Provost & Umphrey turn the tide through marketing and litigation PR.

Mark Sparks, Attorney - Provost Umphrey Law Firm, L.L.P.

State of California Seismic Safety Commission

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of Northern Sumatra, the Seismic Safety Commission created a Tsunami Safety Committee to evaluate the state of tsunami readiness in California. Crystal Rockwood was asked to participate in creating the final report, The Tsunami Threat to California which would be presented to the California Legislature.

Business Challenge
Leading geologic scientists, state offices, civic commissions, cities and universities—41 separate entities—compiled pages of data regarding the State of California’s geologic vulnerabilities.  This data was complex and technical, and needed to be compiled into a concise report.

Crystal advocated three guidelines for the Ad Hoc Committee:

  1. Make the complex data easily accessible to their audience. It was important that the outcomes of research were not lost in scientific jargon.
  2. The purpose of the data was to alert elected officials of the risks to loss of life, threat to property and infrastructure.  Therefore, any data reflecting the impact and consequences to loss of life and property needed to be moved up front.
  3. Clearly communicate what elected officials needed to know to take necessary steps to protect people and infrastructure.

“Ms. Rockwood participated in the Commission’s Special Tsunami Risk to California Ad Hoc Committee as well as the ongoing Education and Outreach Committee. Her insight and direction brought a much-needed element to the committee’s purpose and principle.”
- Richard J. McCarthy, Executive Director, State of California Seismic Safety Commission, Sacramento, CA

Crystal Rockwood scaled complex scientific information into clear, easy-to-understand content and that informed and instructed elected officials. Complex scientific examples were translated to practical examples that could apply to civic infrastructure.  The clarity and accessibility of this information ensured that good scientific data was not lost.

Keller and Heckman LLP, Attorneys

Keller and Heckman has a broad practice in the areas of regulatory law, litigation, and business transactions, serving both domestic and international clients. They have an in-house scientific staff that works closely with the firm's attorneys on matters of technical complexity.

“Crystal Rockwood’s strategic counsel for our marketing and business development needs has been an asset to our San Francisco office.”
- Daniel Herling, Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP, San Francisco, CA

Business Challenge
Keller and Heckman (KH) needed to maximize impact through the announcement of the new location in San Francisco.

The original request was for RCC to create a press release with the goal of getting 25 people to attend an open house. RCC recognized the opportunity to turn this occasion into a highly attended and successful civic event that would deepen Keller and Heckman’s roots in San Francisco.

Press Releases
RCC created a compelling message: in an era of economic downturn, Keller Heckman, LLP was growing and invested in the city of San Francisco.

Engage Key Elected Officials
RCC contacted the San Francisco Mayor’s office, Senators’ Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, the San Francisco Police and Fire Chiefs and other local dignitaries.

Media Protocol Coaching
RCC coached the host participants  on the protocols with elected officials and developed the speaking agenda for the event.  Each person who spoke addressed a unique aspect about the firm and the community so the presentation was crisp and engaging.

Business Etiquette and Social Navigation Skills
Many of KH’s in-house scientists and and regulatory attorneys were not accustomed to media interaction and as some traveled from foreign offices, they were briefed in in American business etiquette including:

  • How to break the ice with strangers
  • How to make proper introductions
  • What to do when conversations become monopolized or controversial

In addition, to bring the value of these biochemists work to the forefront, each was given “pocket sentences” simple phrases to introduce their role, the benefits of, with simple examples that made their work tangible to the audience.

The firm received special recognition from the city in the form of Certificates of Appreciation. Over 100 people attended the event, including representatives from Feinstein’s office and the media. Every detail of the guest experience, from how the employees engaged guests, to the digital displays and speakers, each highlighted Keller and Heckman’s entrance into the San Francisco landscape.

San Francisco Officials Give Warm Welcome to Keller and Heckman LLP

RCC News

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What People Say

  • "Dealing with the press is not intuitive. For example, how to have off the record discussions can be an important tool." — Partner, mergers and acquisitions “Crystal’s training program is unpretentious, hard hitting and insightful. The training helped me overcome my long-held belief that talking to the media is generally a bad idea; the training provides tools for effectively handling inquiries Read More
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