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Morgan Stanley’s Legal Chief Takes Top Pay Spot on Wall Street

May 4, 2020, 11:02 AM

Morgan Stanley chief legal officer Eric Grossman took a pay cut and still bested his banking industry peers to be the top compensated in-house lawyer last year.

Total Package: Grossman received nearly $11 million in total compensation, according to a 2019 proxy statement filed by the financial services giant. The pay package was more than the $9.6 million that Wells Fargo & Co.’s former general counsel C. Allen Parker Jr. received last year, as well as the $8.4 million earned by The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s legal chief Karen Seymour.

Industry Standards: JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Stacey Friedman and Citigroup Inc.’s Rohan Weerasinghe were not listed as among their respective financial services titans’ highest-paid executives last year, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis of proxy statements filed by both companies. Nor were other top banking industry lawyers like Bank of America Corp.’s David Leitch, Capital One Financial Corp.’s Matthew Cooper, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.’s Gregory Jordan, The Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s Kevin McCarthy, and U.S. Bancorp’s James Chosy. Brian Baxter has the story.

CORONAVIRUS -- WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Reopening Businesses Face State Virus Workplace-Safety Orders
Governors’ offices and state agencies are rolling out a patchwork of workplace-safety orders for employers as they reopen businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic—providing potentially helpful guidance but also another layer of uncertainty over liability risk.

Contact Tracing Poses ‘Pandora’s Box’ for Reopening Businesses
Businesses looking at smartphone-based tools to track their workers’ contact with people infected with coronavirus will have to walk a delicate tightrope between reopening safely and protecting employee privacy.

Exiting Billion-Dollar Deals Over Virus Spurs Court Battles
A deal is a deal, except for a growing number of companies that agreed to buy assets before the Covid-19 pandemic sent markets plunging.

Republican Leaders, Hospital Groups Eye New Liability Shields
Republican congressional leaders say they’ll pursue creating stronger protections from lawsuits for health-care workers after a flurry of industry pressure for new liability shields.

Justice Department Sees Early Fraud Signs in SBA Loan Flurry
The Justice Department has begun a preliminary inquiry into how taxpayer money was lent out under the Paycheck Protection Program and has already found possible fraud among businesses seeking relief, a top official said.

Corporate Boards Slammed by Coronavirus Rethink Risk Planning
More remote work and better crisis communications. Less dependence on a single supplier and fewer in-person board meetings.

‘Motherhood Penalty’ May Fuel Workplace Lawsuits in Pandemic
The “motherhood penalty” has been oft-used to describe persistent gender disparities that working mothers can encounter. Lawyers and academics say it could lead to more discrimination and family leave lawsuits by caregivers during the pandemic.

Trade Secret Risks Lurk, Even in Baby Monitors, During Telework
Companies face an increased threat of trade secret theft as the coronavirus pandemic keeps more employees at home and drives layoffs.

ANALYSIS: CFIUS Can Review Investments in DPA Title III Entities
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is more prepared for the pandemic and economic downturn than you may have realized. Under its new regulations, CFIUS has jurisdiction over investments in companies operating facilities that have received funding within the prior 60 months under Title III of the Defense Protection Act. This is just one small component of the Committee’s newly broadened jurisdiction that may come into play during the crisis.

ANALYSIS: DOJ Uses Price-Gouging Law to Bring Felony Charge
In a case that provides telling information about how the Justice Department intends to deal with violations of the Defense Production Act, the DOJ arrested two men for conspiring to obtain scarce N95-quality medical masks and resell them through a commission scheme at exorbitant prices, according to a criminal complaint filed in a New York federal district court.

INSIGHT: GCs Need to Organize Contracts to Address Tsunami Post Virus
The coronavirus pandemic is revealing many of the problems and fault lines in companies’ contracting systems and practices, Mark Harris, CEO of contracts data management company Knowable. He discusses the risks associated with poor contract management and gives tips for GCs on improving it.

INSIGHT: Business Immunity Will Prevent Covid-19 Litigation Crisis
Companies reopening during the pandemic do so at great risk from litigation arising from Covid-19-related claims. Hughes Hubbard & Reed attorneys and Imerys’s general counsel for North America say that companies who are working to comply with government guidelines need immunity from such litigation and explore the statutory precedent for providing it.

INSIGHT: Litigation Risks Related to the Defense Production Act
A direction from the government to manufacture or distribute a product will not necessarily shield a company from lawsuits. Crowell & Moring attorneys examine the Defense Production Act and say it’s imperative that manufacturers pivoting to produce FDA-regulated products manage liability now and think strategically about future litigation defenses.

Illustration: Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Read more

COMPLIANCE

Warren Urges SEC to Require Climate Change Disclosures
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is urging the SEC to require public companies to discuss the impact and risk of climate change as the regulator considers overhauling its rules for management disclosures.

Musk Takes Over Board’s Legal Coverage From Pricey Insurers
Elon Musk tapped more of his shares in Tesla Inc. last year to unlock some of his wealth and also entered into an unusual arrangement to provide liability coverage for fellow members of the electric-car maker’s board.

SEC Tipster Gets $18 Million for Helping Investors Recoup Losses
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission awarded $18 million to a whistle-blower whose information helped the agency bring an enforcement action that enabled harmed investors to recoup millions of dollars in losses.

BUSINESS & PRACTICE

Legal Operations Roles Sign of Established Law Departments
Nearly three quarters of “best in class” corporate law departments have at least one legal operations professional, according to a new report from the Association of Corporate Counsel and Wolters Kluwer NV.

Deutsche Bank Searching for New Global Law Department Leader
Deutsche Bank AG’s group general counsel Florian Drinhausen is stepping down next month after more than two years in the role.

Ex-Amazon Lawyer Among Bed Beth & Beyond Executive Hires
Beth Bath & Beyond Inc. is bringing on a new top lawyer with experience in e-commerce, more than four months after parting ways with its longtime general counsel.

Alzheimer’s Drug Company Co-Founder Departs With New Legal Hire
Cortexyme Inc. has recruited a new chief legal officer as the clinical stage pharmaceutical company pushes forward on treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Xcel Energy, Baker Hughes Tap New In-House Legal Chiefs
Scott Wilenksy will step down June 1 after an almost decade-long run as leader of Xcel Energy Inc.’s law department and make way for successor Amanda Rome, the company said.

Cannabis Firm Curaleaf Taps Ex-FINRA Official to Lead Compliance
Curaleaf Holdings Inc., one of the most valuable U.S. cannabis companies, has hired a new chief compliance officer following the departure of two former top in-house lawyers.

LEGAL NEWS

Oracle Women Score Major Win in Court Battle Over Equal Pay
Three female employees at Oracle Corp. scored a major victory in court, gaining the right to represent thousands of others in a gender-discrimination lawsuit over pay, a legal milestone that has eluded women at other tech titans.

Walmart’s $14 Million Deal With Pregnant Workers Gets Approval
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $14 million to nearly 4,000 workers who say they were denied accommodations while pregnant, after an Illinois federal court gave final OK for the class action settlement in a case that sheds light on policies that can exclude expecting mothers.

Delaware Justices Uphold Ultragenyx Board Win Over Demand Letter
An Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. shareholder’s “harmless letter” telling the drug company’s board it was overpaying itself counts as a rejected demand for an internal investigation, which dooms his lawsuit, Delaware’s top court ruled.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

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To contact the reporter on this story: John Nancarrow in Washington at jnancarrow@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com