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Kathleen Ruhlan

Kathleen Ruhland

Global Co-Chair, Corporate
Member, Global Board
Member, Executive Committee
Kathy advises world-leading corporations on transactions in the consumer goods, food and beverage, agricultural and industrial sectors.

Kathy Ruhland is a highly skilled attorney advising clients on complex cross-border transactions—including global M&A, restructuring and joint ventures—in established and emerging markets throughout the world. She advises leading corporations across a variety of sectors, with a particular emphasis on the consumer goods, food and beverage, agricultural and industrial sectors.

Kathy has the experience to advise privately and publicly held companies on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures; joint ventures and strategic alliances; foreign direct investment; international compliance; and global tax planning. She is recognized by third parties for her superior client service.

Kathy holds a number of leadership positions at DLA Piper. She is Global Co-Chair, Corporate; Member of DLA Piper’s governing Executive and Management Committees; Former Co-Chair of DLA Piper's Food & Beverage sub-sector; and Former Chair, Leadership Alliance for Women (LAW).

Bar admissionsMinnesota


Kathy has represented the following companies in acquisitions, divestitures, or other corporate transactions:

  • Lead counsel for Deere & Company 
  • Deere & Company’s acquisition of Harvest Profit, a leading provider of farm profitability software
  • Deere & Company’s acquisition of PLA, manufacturer of sprayers, planters and specialty products for agriculture based in Argentina and Brazil
  • Deere & Company's joint venture with DN2K for technology development in the agriculture industry
  • Deere & Company's joint venture with Hagie Manufacturing, a manufacturer of high-clearance sprayers
  • Deere & Company's divestment of its crop insurance business
  • Ecolab Inc. in the separation of its global Upstream Energy business and the closing of the merger of Ecolab subsidiary, ChampionX with Apergy Corporation
  • Ecolab Inc. in the acquisition and integration of CID Lines, a leading global provider of livestock biosecurity and hygiene solutions
  • Ecolab Inc. in the acquisition and integration of Laboratoires Anios, a hygiene and disinfection products manufacturer for the healthcare market. Transaction value approximately US$800 million
  • Fortune 50 company's strategic investment in Hong Kong company
  • Nike, Inc. in numerous global tax and corporate matters

Kathy has represented large multinational companies in the following global corporate reorganizations:

  • Ecolab Inc. and Champion Technologies Inc.'s post-acquisition integration of operations in North America, Latin America and Europe (involving 30 countries worldwide)
  • Ecolab Inc. and Nalco Holding Company’s post-acquisition integration of operations (involving 99 countries worldwide)
  • Bunge and Loders Croklaan USA, LLC in the global integration following the formation of its global joint venture
  • HB Fuller Company in the global integration of its acquisition of Forbo's industrial adhesives business
  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law
    magna cum laude
  • B.A., University of St. Thomas
    cum laude


Kathy was named a 2022 Leading Dealmaker in America by Lawdragon and was included in The Best Lawyers in America 2020-2023 for her work in International Mergers & Acquisitions. In addition, she was one of 319 lawyers nationwide named to the BTI Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firms in 2017 (based on survey of Fortune 1000 in-house counsel). She was also named to the All-Star Team in 2009.

Pro Bono

  • Course Instructor, Special Economic Zones in Africa and globally, University of Pretoria and University of the Western Cape, September 2014


  • Post-COVID-19: What to expect in the "next normal," 30 April 2020


  • Panelist, "Leadership Perspective on Business and Legal Issues Tied to International Growth," The 40th Annual International Business Law Institute (2016)
  • Panelist, "Global M&A, Hot Issues, Practical Advice and Lessons Learned in Cross-Border Transactions," Chicago Chapter, Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
  • Panelist, "Integration: Strategies to Maximize the Value of Your Investment," 2011 M&A Conference
  • Panelist, "International M&A Transactions," Business Law Institute (2011)
  • Panelist, "Doing Business in Frontier Emerging Markets, Southeast Asia," International Business Law Institute (2011)
  • Moderator, "CEO Panel Discussion" with Ken Powell of General Mills and Hubert Joly of Carlson, Doing Business with France: 2011 Business Symposium, Minnesota International Center
  • "International Markets: Globalization of the Production Food System," Food, Agriculture & Biofuels 2010 National Conference, Minneapolis
  • Opening session moderator, "Creating World-Class Companies in Emerging Markets," Faegre & Benson International Business Briefing (2010)

Media Mentions

  • "DLA Piper Forms New Management Team After Strong 2020," Law360, March 9, 2021

Prior Experience

Before joining DLA Piper, Kathy was co-chair of the international practice at one of the 75 largest law firms headquartered in the US. Previously, she served as in-house counsel for General Mills. 

Additional Accreditations

Kathy is a certified public accountant (inactive) with Big Four firm experience.