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Jones Walker Expands Government Relations Practice in Alabama: Announces Alliances with Christie Strategy Group and CRM, L.L.C.
February 7, 2011

BIRMINGHAM and MONTGOMERY, Ala., Feb. 7, 2011— William H. Hines, Managing Partner of the law firm Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre L.L.P., today announced strategic alliances with two firms, Christie Strategy Group and CRM, L.L.C., both Alabama-based government advocacy consulting businesses, and the addition of Brittney Ingalls to the firm’s Birmingham office.

In making the announcement, Mr. Hines emphasized that the two alliances enhance the firm’s existing state and local government relations practice in Alabama, and provide broader reach throughout the state. The agreements with the two consulting firms were effective January 1, 2011. Earlier this year, Jones Walker announced a similar alliance with The Sullivan Group.

Martin W. Christie, founder and president of Christie Strategy Group, located in Montgomery, represents a large number of influential groups and businesses throughout the state. Prior to founding his own firm, Mr. Christie was Vice President of the Business Council of Alabama. Over a period of several years, he supervised the council’s government relations program, developed a comprehensive grassroots structure involving council members and local chambers of commerce, and coordinated the organization’s political affairs. Working with the Business Council of Alabama’s ProgressPAC, Mr. Christie raised over $2 million on behalf of pro-business candidates in Alabama during a two-year period. 

Before joining the Business Council, Mr. Christie was a senior Public Affairs Officer with Walter Industries, Inc., a Fortune 200 corporation. He also served in Washington, D.C. on the staff of Congressman John H. Buchanan, Jr. as both Press Secretary and Research Assistant. A member of numerous public affairs organizations on the state and national levels, Mr. Christie served as Chairman of the Business Council Governmental Affairs Committee and on the Executive Committee of United for State Action, a group of state business organizations dedicated to enhancing the business community’s influence through direct participation in the political process.

CRM, L.L.C., also of Montgomery, is headed by Charles R. McDonald, a noted legislative and administrative agency advocate at both the state and local levels. As Principal of the firm, Charles McDonald represents exclusively business interests before the Alabama legislative and executive branches. Mr. McDonald served as President of the Alabama Retail Association for over 30 years. He is recognized as one of Alabama’s top lobbyists for his leadership in several successful efforts. In 1985, at the request of the then current Governor, Mr. McDonald founded and served as first Chairman of the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee, the group which was instrumental in passing tort reform in Alabama in 1987 and again in 1998. In 1992, he led Alabamians for Workers’ Compensation Reform, resulting in a successful effort to completely rewrite Alabama’s workers’ compensation laws. In 1999, again at the then current Governor’s request, he formed and chaired the Business Associations' Tax Coalition. This group was charged to find ways to deal with the financial crisis facing the state as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating Alabama's corporate franchise tax. Through negotiations and consensus, BATC developed a replacement tax plan which was approved by the legislature.

Mr. Hines added, “In addition to these new alliances, we have added Brittney Ingalls to our team in Birmingham. Ms. Ingalls is a non-attorney government relations specialist, and her clients include some of Alabama's largest corporations and non-profits that are actively involved in the political and economic affairs of the state. She joins Matt McDonald, Palmer Hamilton, and Bradley Byrne in our government relations practice in Alabama.”

Prior to joining Jones Walker, Ms. Ingalls served as finance director for the statewide gubernatorial campaign of Bradley Byrne. After launching a fundraising firm, she also worked for the campaigns of Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin, Supreme Court Justice Kelli Wise, and Court of Civil Appeals Judge Tommy Bryan, and in several legislative races. She has also worked as Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby in his Washington, D.C. office. 

Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre L.L.P. (www.joneswalker.com), with more than 300 attorneys and government relations professionals, provides a comprehensive range of legal services to a national and international corporate client base in highly regulated industries through offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

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