Cari Brunelle

Partner | Charlotte, NC

What do Anna Nicole Smith, JonBenét Ramsey, and the lovelorn astronaut who drove across the country have in common? Hellerman Baretz Communications Partner Cari Brunelle, who led PR efforts for matters related to their legal cases. Having worked with the nation's premier attorneys on many of their most high-profile lawsuits, Cari provides counsel to firms of all sizes on how to prepare for, generate, and manage news coverage. She frequently works with law firm management and CEOs at corporations and organizations facing bet-the-company situations, including mergers, departures, and government investigations.

However, the majority of Cari's clients are more likely to appear in the The Wall Street Journal or The American Lawyer than People magazine. Named one of the "100 Legal Consultants You Need to Know" by Lawdragon, Cari works hand-in-hand with her clients and their in-house PR staff on a daily basis to manage the news and develop PR and communications strategies that incorporate classic PR with 2.0 tools. For more than 10 years, she has created innovative and comprehensive media campaigns that have enhanced the public reputations of attorneys, practice areas and firms, and helped drive new business. She focuses on developing news pitches with her clients that support their key messages and goals and has landed resulting stories in the leading national and international media. Whether her clients seek strategic PR for business development or counsel in a crisis, Cari is a go-to adviser for law firm management, marketers, and law firms' corporate clients.

An Emmy-nominated producer for her work on a PBS documentary, Cari started her career as a broadcast news anchor, reporter, and producer. She also served as the public information officer for Virginia's Department of Juvenile Justice, and handled national PR and crisis communications matters for Virginia Commonwealth University and its teaching hospital.

Cari has spoken at regional and national conferences on topics ranging from media training to Web 2.0, and has written numerous articles as well as a book chapter on crisis communications for PR News. She is a member of the Legal Marketing Association and the Public Relations Society of America, and holds a degree in journalism from the University of Virginia.