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Crisis Management Lessons: the Interchange Between Lawyers and Communications Professionals


Speaker(s): Emil Hill, Preston L. Pugh
Recorded on: Apr. 17, 2020
PLI Program #: 300646

Emil Hill has more than 20  years of  experience in crisis and reputation management, corporate and public affairs, media relations and integrated marketing communications. He has worked on  range of  matters and sectors, including defense, telecommunications, Non-profit, Federal, State and Local government, technology, healthcare, investment finance, banking, education, consumer, litigation, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Currently, Emil serves as senior counsel to the National Education Association, Papa John’s and Vanguard. Emil also has distinct expertise developing communications strategies to reach multi-cultural audiences and building partnerships with leading national influencer organizations. Other notable clients and campaigns have included the U.S. Army’s, “Army of One and Army Strong” integrated campaigns and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s, “American Healing and the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Initiatives”.

Before joining the firm, Emil worked with Manning Selvage & Lee where he directed comprehensive and integrated communications programs for corporate, non-profit and government clients, including Verizon, National Geographic Foundation, the U.S. Army and George Washington University.

Emil earned a BA from Morehouse College. He serves as a national trustee for the Boys and Girls Club of America, National Medical Fellowship and Advisory Board Member for the George Washington University Cisneros Institute. Emil  has also been a frequent lecturer and commentator on communications, marketing and public issues.


Preston Pugh is an experienced trial lawyer and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Recognized by Legal 500 for corporate investigations, and trained as both a federal prosecutor and a labor and employment lawyer, Mr. Pugh works with corporations and large institutions to conduct risk avoidance and mitigation investigations. He also represents clients in multiple stages of crisis management, including detection and initial response, internal investigations, disclosures to the government and other internal and external stakeholders, and post-crisis analysis. Challenges that he has helped clients successfully navigate include alleged executive or key employee misconduct in the workplace, misrepresentations to the federal government in procurement and government programs, misstatements of financials, workplace violence, trade secrets disputes over important data, regulatory inspections incidents, the full range of employment discrimination litigation, and insider threats of terrorism.

Mr. Pugh combines his experience as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, senior compliance investigations counsel at the General Electric Company, and twice-appointed compliance monitor to assist clients operating in competitive and complex markets. He helps clients understand not only whether "noncompliance" occurred, but also the root cause of the concern – not just "putting out fires," but finding an efficient, effective solution that resonates with regulators, eliminates excessive risk in specific areas, and constructs enduring cultural change.

Mr. Pugh was appointed by a federal district court in one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) largest monitorships to date involving racial discrimination and harassment. At the conclusion of the monitorship, the district court observed, "You're that outsider coming in... Not easy to do, but you did it well... I think that everybody chose well when they picked you to do this job." He was also the first monitor appointed by the Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey Harbors, overseeing a stevedore's efforts to root out organized crime. Mr. Pugh currently serves as a deputy monitor in the gaming industry overseeing a company's efforts to prevent, among other things, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Licensed to practice in Washington, DC, New York, and Illinois, Mr. Pugh is a known advocate in both trial and appellate courts. He has successfully tried a wide variety of federal cases, and has argued civil appeals in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits in the United States Courts of Appeals. He has succeeded in two cases of first impression: one in the First Circuit and another, as amicus counsel, in the Illinois Supreme Court.

Immediately prior to joining Miller & Chevalier, Mr. Pugh was a partner at a prominent trial boutique in Chicago. He was recognized as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" from 2011 to 2017 and received multiple Special Service Awards during his time at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. For 10 years, he served as part of the national faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and has been an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.