US Top 50 Firms in London Rank20

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has its roots in Dallas, where it was founded directly after the end of the Second World War in 1945 by two former FBI agents turned lawyers, Robert Strauss and Richard Gump. At the last count the firm has over the past 70 or so years developed an increasingly global platform now headquartered on the US east coast (primarily out of Washington DC) with its New York, London and AsiaPacific offices playing a key part in

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has its roots in Dallas, where it was founded directly after the end of the Second World War in 1945 by two former FBI agents turned lawyers, Robert Strauss and Richard Gump. At the last count the firm has over the past 70 or so years developed an increasingly global platform now headquartered on the US east coast (primarily out of Washington DC) with its New York, London and AsiaPacific offices playing a key part in its success. In 2017 the firm’s total revenue reached $1.039bn off the backs of more than 850 lawyers.

Litigation partner Kim Koopersmith became chair of the firm in April 2013, succeeding Bruce McLean and becoming the first woman to hold that position in the firm’s history. Global expansion was a key part of Koopersmith’s strategy even before her being appointed and the firm’s deal with Bingham McCutchen in 2015 went a long way to achieving that goal. It was also instrumental in securing Akin Gump a berth in the $1bn-plus club.

Three years ago Akin Gump added a total of 22 Bingham McCutchen partners in London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, arguably one of the most transformative developments in the recent history of the firm. The deal saw Bingham’s London managing partner James Roome join Akin Gump as London senior partner, with London head of finance Barry Russell and restructuring partner James Terry also join the firm in leadership positions.

The move also led to Akin Gump’s City turnover rising by 154 per cent in 2015 from $35.8m. It currently stands at just below $100m ($96.2m). Koopersmith recently confirmed that London continues to be right at the centre of the firm’s growth.

Last year Akin Gump’s London office won several notable litigation and corporate mandates, including successfully representing PJSC Tatneft in its appeal in a $380m claim against four Ukrainian oligarchs, advising on the high-profile restructuring of Carillion and picking up new instructions from Carlyle’s energy fund, a relatively new relationship for the firm in London. Further afield Akin Gump’s international corporate practice also advised on several notable deals including VCA’s $9.1bn sale to Mars.

Akin Gump is best known for several core practices such as energy and infrastructure, funds, financial restructuring, dispute resolution and international trade. The firm’s model with its core business lines is to use it to penetrate a market or expand geographically. For example, international trade was originally a DC practice but expanded through its expertise in areas such as sanctions and export controls to London, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Geneva and Singapore.