‘Such a vibrant light’ – renowned crisis management specialist Richard Levick dies at 65

Levick Strategic Communications' founder was one of the legal profession's best-known advisers

The legal community has been paying tribute to public relations and crisis communications specialist Richard Levick, who died on Tuesday aged 65.

Levick – founder, chairman and CEO of Washington DC-based Levick Strategic Communications – was suffering from cancer, according to an obituary in the Washington Post.

He and his firm, which has the tagline Fixing the Impossible, have a national reputation in the US for their work representing governments, businesses and individuals facing crises.

Levick was a prolific speaker on the US and international legal conference circuit and hosted the In House Warrior podcast, the last edition of which was on 3 February, when he addressed the internationalisation of disputes. 

Paying tribute in a LinkedIn post, Roy Sexton, president of the Legal Marketing Association’s international board, wrote: 'Richard Levick was (and always WILL be) a wonderful soul. 

‘I had the distinct privilege of getting to know him more the last year and a half. I will miss him and our interactions. Such a vibrant light who gave so much to our community. And the world.’

Barbara Kaplan, founder and CEO of BSK Strategies, described him as ‘kind, quick-witted and warm, and a gifted teacher’.

Levick was known for taking on unpopular causes, including, the Washington Post noted, agreeing to represent a dozen Kuwaitis detained as suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba following the terrorist 9/11 attacks.

A theme he regularly returned to were the dangers associated with law firms refusing to take on unpopular causes.

"In an age when law firms are increasingly criticised for the work of their clients, global law firms face an extraordinary challenge,” he told GLP in October 2021.

He was commenting on Mayer Brown’s decision to stop advising the University of Hong Kong on the removal of a statue commemorating pro-democracy protesters killed during the Tiananmen Square massacre following criticism from international human rights groups.

He said: "While critics may praise Mayer Brown’s University of Hong Kong reversal, what of the hundreds of other law firms shuddering with the realisation that they are next to be publicly criticised for whom they represent? Already there is no shortage of boycotts and demands from both the left and right. At risk is not the instant issue but, ultimately, access to counsel.”

In a LinkedIn post his company, which is planning to host a celebration of his life, described him as ‘a trailblazer in the field of crisis communications’ whose, ‘contributions to the industry cannot be overstated’.

In a statement, the firm's leadership team, said: "We have lost a great man, an inspiring mentor, a pioneering leader, and a true friend to many of us in this business. We will miss Richard deeply, but his legacy will live on through the work that we do every day, the people who were made better for having known him, and the countless reputations that were saved because of him." 

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