Mark Weaver is an attorney and crisis communications specialist whose experience working with police, prosecutors, higher education leaders, and community groups makes him one of the most sought-after consultants in the public sector. When he helped the City of Charlotte, NC handle a racially-sensitive case in which a white police officer shot and killed a young African American male, the NBC TV affiliate in Charlotte called Mr. Weaver “one of the nation's foremost experts in crisis communications.”
Mark Weaver first learned about community relations in his family’s living room. His mother spent three decades as Chairperson of the local Human Relations Commission. Her work focused on easing racial and religious tensions flaring between police and community members. The mediation meetings between angry neighbors sometimes took place in the Weaver living room.
A native of Abington, Pennsylvania, Mark Weaver started his career as the Public Information Director for the Abington police. He served in that capacity while attending graduate and professional school at night, eventually earning a Masters degree in Public Administration and a Juris Doctorate.
Also early in his career, Mr. Weaver served as a Communications Director with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Later, he was appointed Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the United States Department of Justice. In that role, he was spokesman and a key member of the prosecution team for the Civil Rights Division. Much of his work involved briefing national reporters about the federal prosecution of police brutality cases. He also served as spokesman for the department’s Community Relations Service, the federal government's premier conflict resolution experts. CRS is often called into tense community situations to help calm citizen anger and work for positive change.
Following his work at the Department of Justice, Mr. Weaver worked for a communications firm in the Washington area, advising public officials in several states. In 1995, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General of Ohio. In his nearly five years in that position, he managed all crisis communications for a state Attorney General’s office with 1,400 employees and 50,000 cases. He also served as a key policy advisor and primary spokesman for the Attorney General. Additionally, he represented numerous Ohio state universities in high-profile and legally challenging cases. On one significant occasion, he represented The Ohio State University in a landmark Ohio Supreme Court case involving trade secrets.
In 1999, Mr. Weaver founded Communications Counsel, Inc., a national communications firm that advises major corporations, universities, non-profit organizations, and state and local government leaders on matters of crisis communications, social media, and reputation defense. His past and present clients include the national Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, and a wide range of law enforcement organizations. He has also advised and worked closely with several Ohio prosecuting attorneys.
He teaches Crisis Communications at the Ohio Public Safety Leadership Academy a collaboration between the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The 11 week program, modeled after the internationally renowned FBI National Academy, trains law enforcement leaders in advanced leadership and management skills. Mr. Weaver was also the graduation speaker for the inaugural class of the program.
For two decades, Mr. Weaver was an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University College of Law, where he taught a class that examined the legal and ethical limits of what lawyers, government officials, and law enforcement officials may publicly say during investigations and litigation. He now teaches at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In that role, he regularly lectures on crisis communications and best practices in government media relations to audiences that include North Carolina city managers, county commissioners, and police chiefs.
In addition to his crisis communications practice, Mr. Weaver is a part-time felony level prosecutor in Adams County in Southwest Ohio. He has also served as a Special Prosecutor in nine Ohio counties. He has prosecuted numerous violent criminals, including rapists and child molesters. He prosecuted a serial killer and helped obtain the death penalty. The killer is now on death row. He also regularly argues prosecution and First Amendment cases in appellate courts.
His op-ed writing has been featured in major U.S. newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Cincinnati Enquirer and he has been interviewed by every major national media outlet including 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, NPR, BBC, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, and Reuters.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper interviewed Mr. Weaver for his expertise on how a city embroiled in a racial shooting case ought to engage with the public. The article is available at http://tinyurl.com/ClevelandPoliceIssue.
One Ohio newspaper editorialized about the value Mr. Weaver and his firm brought to one school district faced with a devastating scandal and a grave reputation risk. That editorial is available at www.CommunicationsCounsel.com/good-idea.
When practicing law, Mr. Weaver works with the Columbus law firm Isaac, Wiles, Burkholder & Teetor, where he is a partner. That firm has a wide range of experience defending government agencies and universities in high profile litigation matters.