Akin Gump’s new head puts London at firm’s core

Akin Gump chairman-elect Kim Koopersmith has pledged to make the development of the firm’s London office one of the core elements of her plans once she succeeds current chairman Bruce McLean on 1 April.

In particular Koopersmith said the building out of Akin’s international platform, specifically in relation to the firm’s energy and funds practices, was a goal.

Koopersmith told The Lawyer she had been spending “considerable time and effort” on Akin’s global platform during the transition period leading up to her taking over the reins from McLean next month.

“Energy and funds are clearly a priority of ours around the firm,” added Koopersmith. “London has been significant in this context and will continue to be. It is the place that brings together all of our key areas including energy, private equity and cross-border deals and links Europe, the US and now Hong Kong.”

Last year Akin opened two offices, in Hong Kong (20 February 2012) and Singapore (24 January 2013). The firm also invested significantly in lateral hires, bringing in a total of 22 new partners.

Firmwide revenue at Akin grew marginally last year by less than 1 per cent to $775m while the cost of the firm’s investment showed in an 8.6 per cent fall in average profit per equity partner to $1.5m. London revenue in Akin’s 14-partner City office was broadly flat at $27m.

New York-based partner Koopersmith, currently Akin’s US managing partner and also a member of the firm’s litigation practice, was elected as chair of the firm last October (16 October 2012). She will be Akin’s first female chair when she takes over next month.

McLean has been chairman of Akin for 20 years. He intends to remain with the firm as senior executive partner.