|JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WR|
Unlike a normal court, Hill hearings pose a web of problems for the defense, drug, energy, and financial firms now under the microscope. "Nobody wins," says Ty Cobb of Hogan & Hartson. "The goal is survival." A slip-up by a CEO, and the stock could plummet, business dry up, and jittery workers leave. PR agencies are brought in to help save a company's image. "Headlines happen to a lot of people," says Dale Leibach, head of Prism Public Affairs, a PR firm, "but most of our best work never appears." Being Washington, connections count. Lowell, who has worked for Democrats and defended shamed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, says "you can't substitute for knowing people."