Michelle Reed’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation matters, with an emphasis on securities and consumer class actions and internal investigations. Ms. Reed is co-leader of the firm’s cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection practice, specializing in advising clients on data breach investigations, notifications, and subsequent litigation. Ms. Reed assists clients with conducting comprehensive privacy and security risk assessments as well as developing policies and procedures to mitigate and remediate cybersecurity threats.
Practice & Background
A Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US, International Association of Privacy Professionals), Ms. Reed counsels corporations in data breach investigations and notifications, SEC cybersecurity compliance and regulatory issues, privacy and data protection compliance and cloud computing advice. She also handles a variety of complex civil litigation matters, including derivative suits, securities class actions, M&A litigation and adversary proceedings.
Ms. Reed received her B.A. with honors in economics and political science in 1999 and her J.D. summa cum laude in 2003 from Brigham Young University, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and the executive editor of the BYU Law Review.
Ms. Reed is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, and its Litigation Section (Class Actions and Derivative Suits and Securities Litigation Committees), and the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. She currently serves as co-chair of the Derivative Suits Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee. She also serves as Panel Counsel for the Directors and Officers Securities Claims and Investigation EdgeSM Panels of the American International Group (AIG).
Ms. Reed’s recent cybersecurity engagements include:
- representing online retailer in data breach affecting 50 different states and 16 countries, assisting with identification of the nature and scope of the intrusion, working with the IT team and experts to restore normal system operation, providing customer notification and call center management, state regulatory negotiations, discussions with PCI-DSS council and payment card issuers, and public relations communications
- representing multi-state hospital system in data breach by third-party vendor affecting nearly 4 million patients nationwide, advising on notification obligations to patients and regulators and multi-district litigation
- representing retailer with over a half a billion dollars in annual sales in all phases of an unauthorized intrusion into its network, interfacing with the FBI and identifying internal control improvements
- representing a California-based company in assessing privacy and data security requirements across 50 U.S. states and Canada
- conducting risk assessment and developing cybersecurity policies, procedures, and incident response plan for $20+ billion investment fund
- performing cybersecurity due diligence assessment in $2.2 billion acquisition of renewable energy provider, analyzing data privacy and cybersecurity risk factors of acquired company
- developing and analyzing third-party vendor audit assessment for multi-national company, analyzing reasonableness of due diligence under federal regulatory guidance, Cloud Security Alliance, National Institute of Standards & Technology, and ISO 27002 frameworks
Ms. Reed’s recent class action and derivative litigation engagements include:
- representing guardrail manufacturer in two consumer class actions in the Western District of Wisconsin and Southern District of Illinois alleging fraud, breach of warranty and contract unjust enrichment, and violations of the deceptive trade practices act
- obtaining dismissal of alleged claims of breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment pending against directors of a publically traded energy company in a derivative suit pending in Delaware Chancery Court in In re Sanchez Deriv. Lit. Consol. C.A. No. 9132—VCG, 2014 WL 6673895 (Del. Ch. Nov. 25, 2014)
- obtaining a complete dismissal of fiduciary duty claims alleged against directors of a publically traded company in federal court in Texas
- representing a large financial services firm in merger litigation related to the advisory services our client provided to the Special Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of an oil and gas company in connection to its acquisition of two MLPs
- representing one of the largest clearing firms in the nation in securities class action and shareholder derivative actions pending in Texas federal court and Texas state court
- representing mine exploration company in securities class action pending in Florida federal court
- obtaining and confirming favorable arbitration award for oil and gas exploration company in purchase and sale agreement dispute
- representing the CFO of a large mid-stream oil and gas services company in multiple securities fraud class actions, bankruptcy adversary proceedings, and parallel SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigations in New York, Oklahoma, and Delaware
- defending an Ohio-based manufacturing company in a securities class action alleging accounting and disclosure violations, resulting in a complete dismissal of all claims
- representing investment funds and their manager in SEC investigations regarding trading practices and suitability analysis
- successfully defending the former CEO of a software company accused of self-dealing and a breach of fiduciary duty in connection with a multi-million dollar merger
- obtaining a fee advancement in an expedited Delaware proceeding and successfully defending a securities class action, derivative suit and SEC enforcement action against the former President and CEO of a technology company that arose from multi-year restatement of financials
- representing a senior executive of an energy infrastructure services company in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation by the SEC
- representing a young e-commerce company and successfully opposed class certification on grounds that the stock did not trade in an efficient market, and, therefore, plaintiff could not invoke the fraud-on-the market presumption of reliance. Although the company traded on the NASDAQ, the 5th Circuit affirmed this novel argument against class certification.
- representing a computer storage device company and its officers and directors in a case alleging that the company improperly accounted for inventory reserves and which sought over $800 million in damages. The district court granted our motion for summary judgment and the 5th Circuit affirmed.
- representing the independent directors of a 1940 Act company in a securities class action, obtaining dismissal of the class action with prejudice
- representing an investment management firm in an internal investigation related to forecasting, accounting, and investments into a medical supply company.
Ms. Reed’s community, civic and charitable activities include being a:
- founder of the Children’s Education Rights Project (CHERP) and the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children/Dallas at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, which focuses on special education rights of children with serious medical conditions
- member, American Bar Association Commission on Immigration
- liaison for the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), a national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the United States government
- member, State Bar of Texas Standing Committee on Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters.
- member, Texas Bar Association Pro Bono College
- member, J. Reuben Clark Law Society
- former board member of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association
- co-founder of the Austin Young Lawyers Association Domestic Violence Project, which has been awarded best statewide public service project by the Texas Bar Association
- member and volunteer of the Women’s Advocacy Project, a statewide nonprofit that promotes access to justice for Texas women and children who are victims of domestic violence and child abuse
- alumnus of the Texas State Bar Association Leadership Conference
- former Co-Chair of the Best Practices Subcommittee of Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Committee.
Awards & Accolades
- Recognized in a peer-review survey as a “Texas Rising Star” in securities litigation by Texas Monthly in 2006, 2010-2013, 2015
- Received the Frank Scurlock Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service from the State Bar of Texas
- Certified as a Certified Information Privacy Professional / United States (CIPP/US), International Association of Privacy Professionals (since 2013)
- “Tackling Cybersecurity in the Boardroom,” Akin Gump panel discussion, New York, NY, November 12, 2015
- “Tackling Cybersecurity,” Akin Gump’s Annual New York Private Investment Funds Conference, October 13, 2015
- “Map the Privacy Frontier,” Bloomberg BNA Privacy & Data Security Breakfast Panel Discussion, September 16, 2015 (panelist)
- “Cybersecurity – What Fund Managers and Investors Need to Know,” Akin Gump Dallas Quarterly Roundtable, September 10, 2015 (panelist)
- “Cybersecurity Risk Management, Due Diligence and Breach Response,” Akin Gump’s seminar on The Cybersecurity Pandemic, April 28, 2015 (Dallas) and April 29, 2015 (Houston)
- “Cybersecurity: Risks and Best Practices for Medical Device Makers,” MDMA Webcast, March 25, 2015 (panelist)
- “Cybersecurity Risk Management and Due Diligence,” Akin Gump’s seminar on The Cybersecurity Pandemic, November 5, 2014 (panelist)
- “Fraud-on-the-Market Theory: Significant Issues and Updates for 2014 and Beyond,” The Knowledge Congress Live Webcast, August 7, 2014 (panelist)
- “Five Cybersecurity Mistakes that Could Result in Prosecution,” Akin Gump In-House Counsel CLE, October 17, 2013 (Houston), September 10, 2013 (Dallas)
- “Developing or Refreshing a Pro Bono Program for Volunteer Attorneys in the Private Bar" moderated by Texas Supreme Court Justice Hecht, Texas Poverty Law Conference, April 3, 2013 (panelist)
- “Doing Well by Doing Good: Careers and Pro Bono Opportunities in Immigration Law,” ABA Midyear Meeting, February 7, 2013 (panelist)
- “Strict Liability? D&O Risk Assessment Post-Dodd Frank,” Akin Gump In-House Counsel CLE, September 21, 2011
- “To Secure the Blessings of Liberty: In-House Counsel for Non-Profits,” J. Reuben Clark Society National Conference, February 18, 2011 (moderator)
- “MLP and Pro Bono: A Team Perspective,” National Medical-Legal Partnership Conference, March 26, 2012 (panelist).