Mayer Brown’s Enterprise Risk & Crisis Management practice is well-positioned to address the full spectrum of risks companies face and to manage the combined impact of those risks as an interrelated risk portfolio. Drawing on capabilities from across the firm, we help clients navigate the immediate issues and develop long-term solutions and exit strategies to complex, multi-faceted legal challenges. In short, we partner with our clients to integrate legal strategy into the wider framework of their business objectives.
Our lawyers understand that companies can face many difficult issues on numerous front—government investigations, consumer litigation, internal investigations, and public relations crises, to name just a few. We are here to advise companies and their boards in order to avoid interruption to business operations.
Our approach is client-centric and holistic. We offer a complementary range of services tailored to our clients’ needs. In a sensitive and robust manner, we help many of the world’s largest organizations carry out risk assessments and implement risk-based compliance measures. Because prevention is better than cure.
Our experience includes:
- Risk Mitigation: Litigation is costly and disruptive, and often takes place on multiple fronts, including class actions and MDLs, government investigations, securities claims and investor relations issues, and can be accompanied by intense media scrutiny. And the fallout from such events may be significant in financial, brand and reputational terms. Our highly experienced teams work with individual companies to provide meaningful and customized risk identification, analysis and mitigation, leveraging litigation experience across multiple industries. This will also fortify the defense of any potential litigation, should it ensue. We also work closely with companies to formulate and implement effective crisis management plans.
- Complex Litigation: Our experience with complex multijurisdictional disputes, coupled with our approach of developing a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses, helps us deliver a speedy and efficient dispute resolution service. We recognize the importance of a rapid response for our clients in cross-border cases where assets and value are often at immediate risk.
- Cross-Border Investigations & Enforcement: Our clients face an often conflicting web of foreign and domestic legal and regulatory requirements. At the same time, regulators around the world are closely scrutinizing organizations that operate in multiple jurisdictions and increasingly are pursuing coordinated investigatory and enforcement actions against them. We fully understand compliance requirements in jurisdictions around the globe.
- Strategic Crisis Management: Clients facing crisis situations need not only excellent courtroom advocates but also savvy and experienced advisers who know how to manage the political, regulatory and media issues that can arise in these situations. Our team helps clients navigate through the challenging intersection of law, media and politics when litigation, government relations, internal or government investigation, cybersecurity or other crisis situations arise.
Examples of Matters:
- Secured a preliminary injunction on behalf of 3M against a New Jersey-based company that allegedly violated federal trademark and false advertising law by suggesting an affiliation with 3M while attempting to sell 3M-branded N95 masks at drastically increased prices to New York City officials amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, the court held that the defendant’s use of 3M’s trademark in conjunction with price-gouging threatened 3M with irreparable harm to its reputation and goodwill. This is a major win for 3M in one of its closely watched trademark suits that aim to fight price-gouging during the pandemic.
- Representing Veolia, a French transnational company, and its US subsidiary in connection with the Flint water crisis—one of the highest-profile cases in the United States. Veolia was hired by the city to assist with issues—other than the lead levels—associated with the water supply. Even though governmental investigations into the cause of the crisis have identified governmental actors—not Veolia—as the source of the problem, plaintiffs have targeted Veolia. We represent Veolia against these unwarranted allegations of wrongdoing amid a volatile political environment.
- Representing the players of the US Women’s soccer team in their appeal of an adverse summary judgment ruling on pay equity. The women’s national team is the most successful team in women’s soccer history. Yet the United States Soccer Federation, the organization that governs soccer in the United States, will not pay the players on the women’s team as much as it pays the players on the men’s team. The players on the women’s team sued US Soccer for pay discrimination in violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The district court ruled against the players on the women’s team, and Mayer Brown was hired to help them get that ruling overturned on appeal.
- Representing the Big Ten Conference in several pending putative class actions seeking recovery on behalf of classes of former US college football players for alleged concussion-related injuries. This is a multidistrict litigation involving claims against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and numerous institutions. We were appointed by the court to serve as lead counsel for the various athletic conferences named in the litigation (now numbering nearly 100 putative class actions).
- Representing numerous companies and boards of directors in responding to the wave of #MeToo sexual harassment allegations that have arisen since the movement began in 2017. Clients include multinational companies based in Japan, the United States and Europe. In some cases, the #MeToo allegations are combined with other claims such as whistleblower and regulatory claims. We have been retained as advisors in managing these crises—i.e., investigating the matters, recommending strategic and appropriate responses and defending against litigation.
- Represented some of the world’s largest manufacturers in their most critical moments, such as when their products are alleged to be defective or unsafe. In this role, Mayer Brown has regularly engaged with a variety of US regulatory bodies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission. Under-standing that consumer safety issues can spill over into congressional investigations, we have built our team to handle parallel investigations by regulatory agencies and Congress. Over the past decade, our firm has handled some of the most significant consumer safety issues in the automotive, chemical and medical device industries.
- Represented several prominent food companies whose products were alleged to have caused foodborne illnesses. We developed a successful litigation strategy, engaged with US federal regulators and provided advice on the companies’ public relations strategies. We also identified, and coordinated with, relevant experts to counter and dispute the inaccurate allegations, demonstrating the flawed scientific assumptions underlying them and heading off an industry-wide crisis.
- Represented a security contractor in connection with the US federal inquiry into the fatal shooting incident. Mayer Brown helped the contractor respond to document requests and parallel investigations by the FBI, the Secretary of the Navy and Congress.
- Represented a private military company in a series of matters arising from the firefight that arose in the Middle East.
- Represented a large industrial manufacturer of nuclear power facilities in connection with US regulatory and congressional inquiries in the wake of issues at the plant in Fukushima, Japan, and the closing of the their US plant.
- Represented one of the government contractors responsible for the design and creation of the US Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) website in connection with Congress’s investigation into the website’s stalled launch. Specifically, Mayer Brown helped craft responses to congressional subpoena and document requests from a House committee, helping the client plot a course through this politically fraught issue.
- Helping financial services clients track and comply with the new laws and regulations that have arisen out of the 2008 financial crisis. Our firm has represented several banking clients before US congressional committees and sub-committees as well as before Treasury, the FDIC and the SEC. In conjunction with the firm’s Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practice, we advise clients on emerging legal trends, regulatory compliance, potential enforcement proceedings, legislative initiatives and other areas of strategic risk. Our firm has even helped shape the legislative landscape: we were integrally involved in the development and implementation of the Basel Committee capital standards, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and sanctions/embargo legislation. More recently, we have helped shape initiatives targeted to the regulation of private equity and hedge funds, sub-prime mortgage lenders and international transactions such as “cover” payments.
- Represented several Major League Baseball All-Star baseball players in connection with the US Congress’s investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. Among other things, Mayer Brown prepared and represented several players in connection with their hearing testimony before the House Government Reform Committee and successfully persuaded the committee not to pursue perjury charges related to certain players’ testimony.