3M Hires Ex-Deutsche Bank Lawyer Amid $33 Billion Court Battles – Bloomberg Law

April 7, 2022 by No Comments

3M Co., a conglomerate coping with an estimated $33 billion in potential legal liabilities, has hired former Deutsche Bank AG executive Steven Reich as chief counsel for enterprise risk management.

Reich confirmed via email that he joined 3M this month after stepping down in December as CEO of Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas, which operates the U.S. unit of the German financial services giant. Reich previously served as Deutsche Bank’s Americas general counsel and head of strategy and governance initiatives.

The former federal prosecutor, played a key role in helping Deutsche Bank navigate a series of legal and compliance challenges during roughly six years as its top U.S. lawyer. The Justice Department accused the bank last month of violating a deferred prosecution agreement.

3M is facing a similar slate of legal obstacles, including roughly $33 billion in potential liability stemming from court fights over earplugs and chemical compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The latter, which has been found in drinking water in various municipalities, is now one of the largest multidistrict litigations in U.S. history.

The Maplewood, Minn.-based company makes everything from car parts to Post-It notes and roadway signs. 3M saw interest soar in its N95 medical masks and ventilators as Covid-19 took hold, but demand has since slipped.

Reich now reports to chief legal affairs officer Kevin Rhodes, a former Kirkland & Ellis partner who has spent the past 20 years at the company. Rhodes earlier this year replaced Ivan Fong, who left after a decade as 3M’s top lawyer to become the new general counsel for medical device maker Medtronic PLC.

Reich said via email he’ll remain based in New York but be a “frequent visitor” to 3M’s headquarters near Saint Paul, Minn. He added in a statement posted to his LinkedIn profile that his primary responsibilities will involve advising 3M’s senior leadership and its board on “enterprise-level” matters.

“I’m proud to join this venerable institution and be part of its commitment to creating technology and products to improve the daily lives of people around the world,” said Reich, who also thanked Rhodes and 3M’s CEO Michael Roman for “asking me to take on this new assignment.”

Legal & Lobbying

Reich previously spent time as a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. 3M has turned to Big Law withing the past year to recruit several other lawyers.

Former Dinsmore & Shohl patent associate Bryan Walker came aboard in January as an intellectual property counsel.

3M hired former Kirkland litigation partner Kate Warner in September as a director and assistant general counsel for litigation. The company also brought on former Womble Bond Dickinson corporate partner Matar Diouf last year as senior counsel for mergers and acquisitions, integration, and divestitures.

Kirkland has had a role on roughly 5% of cases involving 3M in federal courts over the last five years, according to Bloomberg Law data. Minneapolis-based Greene Espel appeared the most often for 3M during that time, at more than 41%, followed by Mayer Brown at more than 10% and Indianapolis-based Ice Miller at about 5%.

Dechert, a firm that saw two of its lawyers sanctioned last year in a battle over allegedly defective combat earplugs, handled about 2% of 3M’s caseload.

3M has also tangled with its former outside counsel.

The company—in a long-running dispute that drew the attention of many law …….

Source: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/3m-hires-ex-deutsche-bank-lawyer-amid-33-billion-court-battles

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