Almost three decades after they became friends as Fordham Law 1Ls, alumni Brandy Bergman, Hugh Burns, and Paul Caminiti, all Class of 1992, teamed up this fall to launch Reevemark LLC, a New York-based strategic communications advisory firm.
Bergman, Burns, and Caminiti bring to Reevemark 20-plus years of experience counseling public and private institutions on value-determinative issues such as shareholder activism, M&A, and litigation, as well as positioning and reputational issues. They are joined by fellow founding partners Delia Cannan and Renée Soto.
Reevemark will develop and implement tailored public and investor relations programs utilizing traditional media relations, digital and social media, and shareholder and employee communications. The firm’s five practice areas include litigation support and regulatory matters, crisis preparedness and management, governance and shareholder activism, transactions, and media and investor relations.
“There is a clear need for engaged, savvy senior advisors working directly with clients to address complex communications issues that affect reputation and valuation,” Bergman said upon announcing Reevemark’s launch on Sept. 24. “From our years of in-the-trenches experience, we’ve found that ethical, candid, and results-oriented strategic counsel and execution is highly valued. I couldn’t be more thrilled to launch Reevemark with this extraordinary team.”
“We’re building what we hope is the best team in the business,” Burns added, emphasizing Reevemark will be a truly collaborative outfit geared toward delivering the best possible results for clients.
The enduring friendship of Bergman, Burns, and Caminiti blossomed after the alphabetic proximity of their surnames resulted in them being placed in the same 1L section at Fordham Law. From there, they bonded over a shared sense of humor, their mutual enjoyment of popular grunge bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and a willingness to assert their opinions in class.
After graduation, the trio’s professional careers took separate paths: Bergman rose to senior assistant district attorney in Kings County (Brooklyn), Burns worked at both Latham & Watkins and Sullivan & Cromwell, and Caminiti practiced at a Manhattan litigation boutique.
In 1995, Caminiti became the first of the trio to transition from the law to strategic communications at Sard Verbinnen—work that required a similar emphasis on concise writing, facts, and strong advocacy. Two years later, he reached out to Bergman.
“Paul was one of the few people whom I had gone to law school with who loved his job,” observed Bergman, who enjoyed being a prosecutor but after five years was looking for a change. Contrary to his early appellate work’s “meandering pace,” strategic communications appealed to Caminiti because it provided opportunities to quickly advance his client’s argument in a public manner that could have substantial positive impact on its value.
Burns subsequently joined Sard Verbinnen with “a high level of confidence” knowing his two classmates had already experienced success there. All three Fordham Law alumni held the title of managing director at Sard Verbinnen before leaving to start Reevemark.
“Our grounding in the law allowed us to be successful advocates and to craft a better communications message,” Caminiti said. Their legal background also proved a major selling point in their work, where they continued to interact with lawyers on a daily basis. Lawyers are at ease knowing Reevemark’s partners won’t say something that could derail their legal strategy, Bergman noted.
The trio credited Fordham Law for teaching them how to apply substantive ideas to any situation, a necessity in strategic communications. In particular, they celebrated the late Fordham Law Professor Edward Yorio for teaching them the Socratic method and how to view the same situation from different perspectives in his Contracts Law course.
Fordham also laid a strong ethical foundation for the three grads. To this day, Bergman wonders whether students who choose Fordham already possess an upstanding moral compass or if Fordham furthers that ethical direction.
“We’re honest and direct with clients about issues they face so they can make smart decisions,” Bergman said. “We provide thoughtful, candid counsel and know clients appreciate that.”