New York, NY
It was an exciting summer back in 1998. Throngs of media packed the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn to hear opening arguments by famed civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby, there to sue notorious mob hit-man Sammy “the Bull” Gravano on behalf of family members whose husbands had been “expired” by Gravano. The families sought rights to any proceeds generated by Gravano’s controversial book, Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia.
It was also Spencer Baretz’s first week on the job serving as a law clerk to one of New York’s most respected federal judges, the Honorable I. Leo Glasser, who was presiding over the trial. Sitting in that charged courtroom, awakened to the crossroads of the law and PR, Spencer saw his future.
Following his clerkship, Spencer practiced corporate law at Rosenman & Colin, which later merged into AmLaw 100 firm Katten Muchin Rosenman. On behalf of clients such as PR Newswire, Sony, and a preeminent venture capital firm, he worked on a broad range of complex matters, including equity-based private placements, IPOs, and a variety of SEC-related issues for public companies. As a practicing lawyer, Spencer grew attuned to the vital roles PR and marketing played for his clients and for the firm itself. At the same time, a sea of change in his very industry was happening around him; the world of legal marketing was just starting to explode. Lawyers and the firms for which they worked had begun to understand and appreciate the value of marketing their legal services in a strategic way.
An entrepreneur at heart, Spencer seized this incredible business opportunity to marry his passions for the law and PR with a marketplace hungry for growth and attention. With partner John Hellerman, they launched Hellerman Baretz Communications (HBC), a PR boutique dedicated to creating strategic communications campaigns for the world’s leading law firms and their clients. In the years since its founding, HBC has grown into a multi-million dollar international firm, with high double-digit growth each year, earning it a coveted spot on Inc. Magazine’s “Fastest Growing Companies” in 2008, 2009, and 2010, among other accolades and industry awards.
Dubbed a “communications expert” by The American Lawyer magazine and recently complimented by world-famous political consultant James Carville (President Bill Clinton’s campaign manager) as someone who’s “damn good at what he does,” Spencer’s client list is a veritable “who’s who” of legal excellence. From the world’s top bankruptcy lawyer and President Bush’s deputy at the Department of Justice, to the attorney who has argued more cases before the US Supreme Court than any other, Spencer counsels the world’s most prominent attorneys and their clients on the most pressing legal issues of the day. His efforts have resulted in media coverage in nearly every major US news publication and television network.
A frequent author and speaker to the industry at large, Spencer’s articles have appeared in The New York Law Journal, Marketing the Law Firm, Hofstra Law Review, Directorship Magazine, and The Journal of Investment Compliance, among others. He is a member of the Law Firm Media Professionals Group, the Publicity Club of New York, and the Legal Marketing Association.
Spencer is admitted to the bars of New York and Connecticut and is a graduate, cum laude, of Boston University and Hofstra University School of Law.