Akin Gump LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Akin Gump LLP
EIGHTH FLOOR
TEN BISHOPS SQUARE
LONDON
E1 6EG
England

Finance > Corporate restructuring & insolvency Tier 1

Co-headed by James Roome and ‘doyen of the bankruptcy market’ Barry Russell , the ‘well-established and experienced‘ team at Akin Gump LLP contains a slew of ‘exceptional creditor-side lawyers’, many of whom have advised on some of the most significant cross-border restructurings in the market. Bondholder work is the team’s forte and in this regard it is ‘particularly skilled in looking after the interests of insurance companies and private placement holders’. A core overarching sector strength of the firm as whole, energy-related instructions continue to account for a significant proportion of work for the restructuring group – particularly in light of the recent oil price volatility. Indeed, the firm once again secured a key role on Sea Drill’s recent bankruptcy filing, this time advising an ad hoc group of new secured noteholders (having had a role for the unsecured bondholders on the original Chapter 11 filed in 2017). The ‘commercial and strategic’ James Terry  led on this matter and is also known for his specialism for energy and offshore sector issuers in the Nordic high yield market. The ‘calm and composedEmma Simmonds  ‘works very well with other advisers’ and is a key member of a team that also includes the ‘very hardworking’ Liz Osborne  , who is ‘super smart and a great advocate for her clients’ and the ‘thorough, knowledgeable and responsive’ Tom Bannister. Lois Deasey left for Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP.

Practice head(s):

James Roome; Barry Russell

Other key lawyers:

James Terry; Liz Osborne; Emma Simmonds; Tom Bannister; Hermione Allen; Jakeob Brown; Emma Butler; Caoimhe Kennedy; Jessica Ling; Carone Huang

Testimonials

Exceptional creditor side lawyers, particularly skilled in looking after the interests of insurance companies and private placement holders in complex restructurings.’

Well established and experienced team, great market presence, creative thinking lawyers.’

Barry Russell: the doyen of the bankruptcy market and the ultimate client man and strategist. Straight as an arrow, impeccable judgement and a steadying hand in a crisis. Brings gravitas and experience to very difficult and opaque situations.’

Liz Osborne is very hardworking and full of energy and enthusiasm.’

‘James Terry is probably the most commercial and strategic lawyer in the City.’

Emma Simmonds is calm and composed and works very well with other advisers.’

‘Tom Bannister is always highly thorough, knowledgeable and responsive.’

Key clients

Private placement noteholders of NAC Aviation 29 Designated Activity Company

Ad hoc group of new secured noteholders of Seadrill New Finance Limited

Ad hoc group of Noble Group

Ad hoc group of creditors of the Premier Oil Group

Nordic Trustee AS, as bond trustee on behalf of the DOFSUB07 bondholders

Ad hoc committee of noteholders of Nostrum Oil & Gas Plc

Private placement noteholders of ED&F Man Treasury Management plc

Ad hoc committee of lenders under the US$1.3 billion facility made available to Prosafe SE

The majority holder of the convertible bonds issued by Polarcus Limited

Ad hoc committee of noteholders of Valaris plc

Ad hoc group of guaranteed bondholders of Noble Corporation plc

Ad hoc group of term loan B lenders to PGS ASA

Private placement noteholders of Clarks

Ad hoc committee of convertible bondholders of Hurricane Energy plc

Ad Hoc Committee of noteholders of Metrocentre Finance plc (Intu)

Ad hoc group of senior secured lenders to Desarrolladora Energética S.A. (DESA)

Work highlights

  • Advised the Private Placement Noteholders of Nordic Aviation 29 Designated Activity Company (NAC) in relation to Chapter 11 proceedings which were commenced by the debtor group, with the support of the NAC 29 noteholders and certain other creditors.
  • Acted for an Ad Hoc Group of New Secured Noteholders of Seadrill New Finance Limited which involved the restructuring of approximately $620m of outstanding note liabilities, which had been the new money funding in the prior bankruptcy  and approximately $650m of other liabilities.
  • Advised an ad hoc committee of lenders under a $1.3bn facility made available to Prosafe SE, the leading Norwegian headquartered owner-operator of semi-submersible accommodation vessels, in relation to the financial restructuring of the group’s debt using a Singapore scheme of arrangement and Norwegian reconstruction process.

Corporate and commercial > Private equity: transactions - mid-market deals (up to £250m) Tier 2

Noted for its highly international practice, Akin Gump LLP continues to act on a steady stream of mandates from PE houses and sovereign wealth funds. The team has a particular focus on deals involving African companies and also regularly handles transactions in Asia and Europe. Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey offer specialist expertise in the energy sector, especially oil and gas, while Gavin Weir has broad expertise but has recently been highly active in financial services deals. Weyinmi Popo handles infrastructure PE deals across energy and telecommunications. Stephen Brown joined the firm in November 2021 and has a niche advising on the structuring of  management team incentives and equity arrangements in relation to PE deals.

Practice head(s):

Shaun Lascelles; Gavin Weir; Simon Rootsey

Other key lawyers:

Weyinmi Popo; Sebastian Rice

Testimonials

‘An exceptional all-around team.’

‘Gavin Weir is an exceptional partner, with deep knowledge and understanding of the issues at hand. He has an outstanding way of finding solutions while protecting his clients.’

Key clients

Vitol S.A/ VIP II Blue B.V.

VPI Holding Ltd.

Piraeus Bank

Alpha Bank SA

Mediobanca S.p.A. and Cairn Capital Group Limited

Fortenova Grupa d.d.

Carlyle

Helios Investment Partners LLP

Vitol S.A/ VIP II Blue B.V.

VPI Holding Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising VIP II Blue B.V, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vitol Investment Partnership II Ltd (VIP II), in its $2.3 billion takeover of Vivo Energy Plc. VIP II is an investment vehicle advised by employees of the commodities trader Vitol.
  • Advised Piraeus Bank on the €300 million sale of its Merchant Acquiring Unit to global payments specialist Euronet Worldwide and the formation of a long term strategic partnership between Piraeus Bank and Euronet worldwide.
  • Advising Emerging Capital Partners on its (i) acquisition of a 95.36% stake in Burger King South Africa and 100% of Grand Foods Meat Plant from Grand Parade Investments; and (ii) negotiation of a shareholders’ agreement and renegotiation of company franchise agreements with Burger King Europe.

Investment fund formation and management > Hedge funds Tier 2

Akin Gump LLP is noted for its ‘great legal knowledge relevant to the asset management and hedge fund sector, combined with practical commercial application‘, focusing on US-based products, often working closely with the firm’s New York and Washington DC offices, with a particular specialism in the US and UK regulatory spaces. Jointly leading the team are Tim Pearce  and Ian Meade , both of whom are active for fund launches, as well as advice pertaining to restructurings. Counsel Hamish Annandale is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tim Pearce; Ian Meade

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Great legal knowledge relevant to the asset management and hedge fund sector, combined with practical commercial application’

‘Tim Pearce and Ian Meade have great legal knowledge and experience allied to excellent commercial application.’

Corporate and commercial > EU and competition: trade, WTO anti-dumping and customs Tier 3

Akin Gump LLP‘s London office is well-regarded by a formidable roster of blue-chip multinationals, which turn to the team for assistance with a range of international trade issues. Investigations specialist Chiara Klaui has particular expertise in the offshore construction sector, advising numerous contractors on major, cross-border projects. Jasper Helder is a seasoned trade compliance adviser whose recent engagements include sanctions reviews for major energy multinationals and semiconductor manufacturers. Naboth van den Broek – who joined the practice from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in September 2021 – is noted for the depth of his capabilities in WTO disputes and global trade policy matters.

Practice head(s):

Jasper Helder; Chiara Klaui; Naboth van den Broek

Testimonials

‘Strong team able to manage complicated topics and multiple business stakeholders. Team provides practical, timely advice on specific topics, as well as routinely provides client updates to ensure knowledge development by our team.’

‘Very personable and down-to-earth lawyers, while at the same time top-notch in terms of experience and knowledge. I can trust that what they advise verbally is what they are wiling to put in writing (which is not always the case with other firms). Their advice is timely, practical and they are always willing to consider alternative courses of action and identify pros and cons in a straightforward manner.’

‘The team has good cross-practice collaboration, and has expertise in newer areas of the law, such as UK sanctions as they evolve away from EU sanctions post-Brexit.’

‘Chiara Klaui is very knowledgeable and efficient. She will tell you what is readily known and what requires more research, allowing you to better manage your budget.’

‘Exceptional knowledge of UK, EU and US sanctions and the ability to coordinate all these elements into an easily comprehendible advice.’

‘I have engaged Jasper Helder for many years and he is the go-to attorney for guidance on export controls in the EU. He combines expert knowledge with efficient and timely advice.’

Key clients

ABB

ARM

Booking.com

bp

COFCO

Eastman Chemical Company

Government of Japan

Hankook Tires

Intel Corporation

Johnson & Johnson

Juniper Networks

Life Science Manufacturers Association (LSMA)

Merck KGaA

NIKE, Inc.

Raytheon Technologies Corporation

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX)

Thales NoThe Boeing Company

The Coca Cola Company

United Parcel Service (UPS)

Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors

VEON

Finance > Debt capital markets Tier 3

Akin Gump LLP has 'a deep bench of knowledgeable partners and associates that understand the debt product very well, specifically the private debt product' with one client noting that it is 'easily the go-to firm for private debt and restructurings'. The firm's key areas of focus are the representation of institutional investors in new issuances of debt in cross-border private placements and acting for issuers in emerging markets transactions. Robert Aulsebrook leads the issuer and emerging markets side of the practice, while Tom O’Connor is head of the newly reorganised London finance group and leads on cross-border private placements. O'Connor acted for PGIM on the purchase of €40m in unsecured notes issued by Antares Vision.  Key partners Barry Russell and Michael Gustafson are 'excellent and great to work with - reliable, available and super on-point'.

Practice head(s):

Thomas (Tom) O’Connor; Robert Aulsebrook

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Akin are a team we consistently rely on in the private placement and infrastructure space. What sets them apart is their responsiveness and ability to key into the specific needs of the our business and the industry. We rely on the team heavily for their expertise and keeping us apprised of developing market trends. They remain one of our business team’s preferred legal services providers.’

‘Tom O’Connor is approachable and knowledgeable. He is always responsive and provides us with advice we can trust. Michael Gustafson is also appreciated for his commercial acumen and keen market knowledge.’

‘Akin Gump has extensive knowledge across all private capital products, spanning lending activity across the balance sheet from senior debt through to structured equity. They combine this superior knowledge with a pragmatism and commercialism which is appreciated by their clients and the borrowing entities.’

‘Their partners are always available and combine extreme intelligence with the ability to communicate with all stakeholders in a down-to-earth manner. Their advice comes from a place of total knowledge, but is combined with commercial realism.’

‘A deep bench of knowledgeable partners and associates that understand the debt product very well, specifically the private debt product. Easily the go-to firm for private debt and restructurings. They partner with the buy-side well and know exactly what our key issues are and what we should be focused on.’

‘Tom O’Connor, Barry Russell and Mike Gustafson are excellent and great to work with. Reliable, available and super on-point. I will recommend to anyone.’

Key clients

PGIM Private Capital and its affiliates (“PGIM”)

Various institutional investors

Investment fund formation and management > Private funds Tier 3

Akin Gump LLP has a proven track record in the private equity secondaries space, advising on the establishment of continuation and secondaries-focused funds as well as handling transactions involving fund interests and GP-led restructurings. The team is ‘smart, quick to act and enjoyable to work with’; its work on fund launches extends to advising on the structuring and fundraising of private equity, growth and impact funds, with a notable specialism in emerging markets matters. John Daghlian is hugely experienced in the private equity space, with highly-praised partner Daniel Quinn another name to note in this area; Quinn is also recognised for his work on secondary transactions alongside Mary Lavelle, who ‘adds a tremendous amount of value’. Aleksander Bakic departed the firm in January 2022.

Other key lawyers:

John Daghlian; Daniel Quinn; Mary Lavelle; Chris Jeanes; Simon Ellis; Qasam Mahmood; Felicity Stansfield

Testimonials

‘The funds team at Akin Gump are a great team who gel very well and juggle numerous clients very well as a group ensuring that there is seamless client service. We are quite straightforward in our requirements but there have been complexities along the way which has dragged to process beyond where we would have expected it to be, through no fault of Akin Gump.’

‘This is a team on the cutting edge of Private Equity Secondaries transactions. No one is better placed to shepherd you through a Secondaries deal – they literally wrote the book on the asset class.’

‘Daniel Quinn is as sagacious as Solomon. He is not unnecessarily belligerent but if conflict arises, he will win. Qasam Mahmood brings a sense of poise to transactions – he is one to watch!’

‘Danny Quinn is the smartest person on the call or in the room without the ego that sometimes comes with that. Chris Jeanes is a great associate, a real pleasure to work with. Simon Ellis is super bright and always available. Felicity Stansfield is a star of the future.’

‘We enjoy working with AG’s Private Funds team as they are highly experienced and seamlessly interact with other colleagues of theirs on more complex situations. The team is well linked together and very efficient. The partners make sure they give associates plenty of opportunity to grow.’

‘The Funds team at Akin Gump delivers concise and pragmatic advice that is tailored to our needs as a fund manager. They have an impressive understanding of our LP base, what LPs care about and what their positions are likely to be, which helps to accelerate negotiation and focus in on the terms that really matter.’

‘Mary Lavelle, a partner in the Funds practice, has done an excellent job in leading our engagements. She manages individual relationships with both fund sponsor and investment manager with charm and poise and a keen awareness of sensitive issues between them.’

‘John Daghlian is one of the most experienced funds lawyers anywhere. His approach is very constructive.’

Key clients

Acumen Capital Partners

Adelis Equity Partners

Admaius Capital

Ahren Innovation Capital

Aliph Capital

Aliter Capital

Apollo Global Management

Coller Capital

EchoVC Partners

eEquity AB

Everstone

Expedition Growth Capital

Glendower Capital

Government of Singapore Investment Corporation

Harbour Litigation Funding

Intermediate Capital Group

KawiSafi Ventures

Key Capital

MVOF Management Limited

National Trust of Scotland

Oakfield Capital Partners

Ocean Fund LP

Oriens

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners

RIT Capital

Rubicon Partners

Stratus Group

Sunridge Partners

Turkven Private Equity

Wren House Infrastructure Management Limited

Zetland Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Acted for Adelis on the raising of their third fund, which had a first and final closing by invitation only and raised EUR 932 million.
  • Advised Coller Capital on its participation in the world’s largest private credit secondaries transaction alongside Ping An Overseas Holdings.
  • Continuing to act for renewables manager Quinbrook, having represented them since their inception.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 3

Akin Gump LLP handles corporate M&A in the energy sector and fields a strong disputes practice which advises clients on large international litigation and arbitration. The team is led by Shaun Lascelles, Justin Williams and Simon Rootsey; Lascelles is recommended for cross-border M&A and private equity transactions; Rootsey is experienced in deals on the African continent; and Williams advises clients on complex international disputes. Hamish Lal is another name to note for disputes, particularly those relating to the construction sector.  Julian Nichol left for Watson Farley & Williams LLP in August 2021.

Practice head(s):

Shaun Lascelles; Justin Williams; Simon Rootsey

Other key lawyers:

Weyinmi Popo; Hamish Lal

Testimonials

‘True technical expertise in the oil and gas realm allied to brilliant litigation know-how – a winning combination’.

‘They are very detail oriented and have great expertise’.

‘Justin Williams is a senior partner who gets personally involved in all aspects of the case’.

Key clients

Vitol Group

Helios Investment Partners

Vivo Energy Group

Ad Hoc Group of Creditors of the Premier Oil Group

VPI Holding Limited

LUKOIL Capital DAC

The Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Nostrum Oil & Gas Plc

Africa Capitalworks

Trans-Siberian Gold PLC

The majority holder of the convertible bonds issued by Polarcus Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising VIP II Blue B.V, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vitol Investment Partnership II Ltd (VIP II), in its $2.3bn takeover of Vivo Energy Plc. VIP II is an investment vehicle advised by employees of the commodities trader Vitol.
  • Acting for an Upstream Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Company in disputes arising out of a Production Sharing Agreement in a CIS country.
  • A multidisciplinary team at Akin advised an ad hoc group of senior secured creditors of the Premier Oil Group in connection with the merger, by way of reverse takeover under the UK Listing Rules, of Premier Oil Plc with Chrysaor Holdings Limited and with the restructuring of Premier Oil’s c. $2.7bn of debt.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables) Tier 3

Real estate > Construction: contentious Tier 3

Akin Gump LLP offers advice on complex construction matters in the UK, as well as on large-scale international arbitration matters. Hamish Lal leads the team, and is well-regarded for his expertise in complex delay, disruption and cumulative impact claims. He typically acts for purchaser clients in high-value UK focused matters and is experienced in international construction and engineering disputes and arbitrations. Brendan Casey is an experienced litigator, and has expertise in the renewable and energy sector, which includes offshore wind projects.

Practice head(s):

Hamish Lal

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The focus of the team is a commitment to excellence in delivery. Hamish Lal and his team go out of their way to support their clients (wherever in the globe) and justify their reputation as market leaders.’

‘Hamish Lal stands out for his focus on clients and is a leader in the construction international arbitration market.’

‘Brendan Casey is a rising star in international arbitration.’

‘The construction team lead by Hamish Lal is excellent, totally first rate.’

‘Hamish Lal has a good grasp of the law twinned with an excellent commercially minded approach. He develops very good tactical approaches, especially for construction related disputes.’

‘Hamish Lal is very highly driven, motivated and accessible. He has a rare ability to cut through the legal, factual and technical complexities of very significant disputes and get to the core issues.’

‘Hamish Lal is knowledgeable, very deft in terms of strategic approach, and provides straightforward logical and timely advice. He cross-examines with pin point precision, and is very comfortable handling matters in non-mainstream jurisdictions.’

Key clients

Heerema Marine Contractors

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting for an international construction developer in international arbitration disputes against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
  • Acting for an upstream oil and gas exploration and production company in disputes arising out of a production sharing agreement in a CIS country.
  • Representing an international offshore wind contractor on high value dispute relating to force majeure, changes, delays, changes in legislation, winter working and related issues.

Corporate and commercial > Financial services: contentious Tier 4

Akin Gump LLP caters to investment funds, retail banks, insurance companies and hedge funds, providing representation on a broad variety of FCA and PRA-led proceedings. Practice head Helen Marshall garners distinction through her 25 years’ experience in the field, nine of which were spent as the Head of Enforcement Law and Policy and Head of Forensic Investigation at the FSA; her key areas of expertise including thematic reviews, investigations, enforcements, compliance issues and information requests, among others.

Practice head(s):

Helen Marshall

Other key lawyers:

Joe Hewton

Testimonials

‘Helen Marshall leads a very experienced and impressive team, based on deep familiarity with the regulatory framework. Punchy and will fight your corner.’

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: civil Tier 4

Akin Gump LLP showcases expertise in acting in investment disputes on behalf of investment funds, creditors and private equity investors as well as cases in the energy space. Thanks to its cross-border network, the team regularly acts for international corporates, financial institutions, and high-net-worth individuals; it is well-versed in matters relating to Russia and the Middle East. Practice head Kambiz Larizadeh is considered to be ‘very smart, with real attention to detail‘. Counsel Jenny Arlington often deals with clients from the technology and AI arenas, while counsel Aimee Smart is knowledgeable of misconduct, fraud and money laundering cases.

Practice head(s):

Kambiz Larizadeh

Other key lawyers:

Richard Hornshaw; Justin Williams; Jenny Arlington; Aimee Smart

Testimonials

‘Very strong in civil fraud; sophisticated and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Kambiz Larizadeh is terrific – very smart, with real attention to detail.’

‘Strength in depth. The ability to call on a skilled team of partners and associates to resource any type and size of case.’

‘Aimee Smart is exceptionally bright, astute and persuasive. She will go far.’

‘They have a strong civil fraud team, with experience of dealing with big fraud litigation cases.’

‘Kambiz Larizadeh is an excellent lawyer and very nice person to work with. I would have no hesitation in recommending him for the most complex, high profile disputes.’

Key clients

The administrators of African Minerals Limited

NOC Swiss

Drax Smart Generation HoldCo Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted in the Commercial Court in complex commercial proceedings for one of the world’s largest oil companies.
  • Acting for the joint administrators of African Minerals Limited (AML) against Shandong Iron and Steel Group, AML’s former joint venture partner, regarding a security enforcement sale process.
  • Acting for the director and shareholder of a UAE oil and commodities trading company, NOC Swiss LLC, in High Court proceedings in England brought under a letter of indemnity and s. 423 Insolvency Act 1986 by Greek ship-owners arising out of a time charter.

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 4

Akin Gump LLP‘s banking litigation team stands out for its ‘flexible and creative thinking on complex multijurisdictional disputes’. The team is led by Richard Hornshaw, who focuses on finance and securities law matters, as well as insolvency and restructuring situations. The team has expertise acting for hedge funds and other investment firms on a wide range of international investor disputes, particularly in the distressed debt space and sovereign, and quasi-sovereign debt disputes. Mark Dawkins retired in December 2021.

Practice head(s):

Richard Hornshaw

Testimonials

‘Market leading litigation team. Excellent technical skills and commitment.’

‘Richard Hornshaw is a strong partner who provides invaluable guidance to clients, both from legal/technical and strategic perspective.’

‘Flexible and creative thinking on complex multijurisdictional disputes set the team apart, and that they don’t take a cookie cutter bank-side only approach’

‘Richard Hornshaw is not only a first rate lawyer but takes the time to understand (and adjust for) the specific commercial drivers for the client. 

‘Very involved team with top partner attention’

‘Richard Hornshaw is a cool and collected individual, always able to give practical advice’

Key clients

Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Hurricane Energy

The administrators of African Minerals Limited

Apollo

Ad Hoc Group of Senior Secured Noteholders of Galapagos

Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders to Imtech

Nordic Trustee AS

Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Noble Trading

Work highlights

  • Advising the ad hoc committee of bondholders of US$230 million 7.5 per cent convertible bonds due 2022 (the “AHC”), issued by Hurricane Energy plc, in relation to a proposed restructuring of the Hurricane group under the restructuring plan under Part 26A of the Companies Act 2006.
  • Acting for the joint administrators of African Minerals Limited (AML). AML was an AIM-listed company that went into administration in 2015 with debts of approximately US$1 billion. The administration raised a number of high-value and complex issues, including, the proposal of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Acting for some of the world’s largest hedge funds and asset managers in their capacity as holders of Senior Secured Notes issued by Galapagos SA, a German manufacturing business, which went through a highly complex and contentious restructuring in 2019.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 4

Akin Gump LLP‘s London practice houses international arbitration specialists that consistently leverage the firm’s sector expertise in energy, technology and construction. Spearheading the firm’s worldwide international arbitration practice from London, Justin Williams acts in commercial and treaty disputes; Richard Hornshaw is a financial services disputes specialist; Hamish Lal‘s practice covers international disputes and arbitrations; and Kambiz Larizadeh has a broad commercial disputes practice. Counsel Jenny Arlington acts in disputes involving CIS, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Justin Williams

Testimonials

‘A firm with the ability to go the extra mile in terms of legal analysis and case energy – quite superb.’

‘The lawyers are very detail oriented and have great expertise.’

Akin Gump shows no limitation in terms of: resources deployment; brilliance of diverse minds addressing multi-factorial legal issues; and the ability to attend to clients’ needs as they evolve.

‘Its performance is at all times stellar, yet intellectually humble and open to questioning and refinement. One of the best intellectually-diverse teams around.’

‘Justin Williams brings a brilliant, yet subtle, touch to his understanding of any complex oil and gas arbitration. He always stands out for the finesse of his questions, and for his constant curiosity to get to the bottom of minute details’.

‘Justin Williams understands the lie of the land in LATAM when speaking about arbitrators.’

‘Justin Williams is a top-drawer practitioner.’

‘Justin Williams is a senior partner who gets personally involved in all aspects of a case. He is really great.’

Key clients

Dommo Energia

Carlyle

Bridgestone Licensing Services

Bridgestone Americas

Vitol Group

Apollo

Afren

Seadrill

Active Capital

Neste Oil

Work highlights

  • Acting for a US oil company in a $3bn UNCITRAL arbitration, which relates to a series of disputes arising out of a CIS production sharing contract and related work.
  • Acting for a South American oil company in a $1.5bn ICC arbitration concerning a disputed farm out.
  • Acting for tyre manufacturer Bridgestone in a high-profile ICSID arbitration against Panama (concerning IP investments).

Industry focus > Emerging markets Tier 4

Corporate and commercial > EU and competition Tier 5

Akin Gump LLP‘s London competition team advises many large multinationals, investment funds and top financial institutions in behavioural, state aid, merger control and complex litigation cases. Head of the team Davina Garrod ‘knows the competitive dynamics and regulatory overlay in her clients’ markets inside-out’. She is supported by antitrust specialist Scott Pettifor, who was promoted to partner in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Davina Garrod

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team offers innovative client solutions, and diversity is an important driver of creativity. The London team is also very international, covering all the major languages, and they work seamlessly with their colleagues in other offices as well as with partner law firms in the Middle East, and LatAm.’

‘The team is led by Davina Garrod who knows the competitive dynamics and regulatory overlay in her clients’ markets inside-out. She is an excellent competition lawyer and highly commercial (a combination that clients particularly value). Scott Pettifor was recently promoted to partner, which is great for the team and very well deserved. The associates are all first-rate, and are given a lot of client exposure which accelerates their development.’

‘Incredibly responsive, massive bench of areas outside of competition to provide a holistic view when issues expand. Great practical experience as opposed to just theoretical. Willing to express views and not just reiterate the black letter law. Exceptional judgement’

‘Davina Garrod understands client service, efficiency and working to provide the right answer in a timely manner.’

‘My experience with the team is that they are technically excellent, collaborative and work well with local counsel across all jurisdictions, ensuring the best client service and practical advice. They’re also cost-sensitive.’

‘Scott Akin is a fantastic adviser, who is dedicated to his clients. He provides practical and strategic advice. He’s easy to work with.’

‘Great team of responsive and knowledgeable experts’

‘Davina’s advice is efficient, responsive and commercially-minded. She is great with the intricate technical details, as well as providing strategic advice. Over the past 12 months Davina and her team have advised me on the competition law and foreign investment implications of various high-value transactions in public and private markets.’

Key clients

Singapore Airlines

Bank of America

Dropbox Inc.

Kingston Technology

GIC Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund

Vitol Group

Baker Hughes

PIMCO Inc. (part of the Allianz Group)

Macquarie Bank

UBS

Work highlights

  • Representing Vitol in its ongoing $2.3 billion public takeover of Vivo Energy, a transaction that requires merger control approvals in 12 jurisdictions.
  • Advising a global tech company in the European Commission’s ongoing behavioural competition investigations into Apple Inc., including the music streaming and app store cases.
  • Representing a strategic investor, UBS, in the $52 billion merger between Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a transaction that required merger control approvals in 18 Jurisdictions.

Corporate and commercial > Financial services: non-contentious/regulatory Tier 5

Akin Gump LLP is famed for advising investment managers in respect of regulatory commitments and requirements, including the full spectrum of applicable EU and UK legislation. Ezra Zahabi fronts the offering, demonstrating a tenacity for compliance, market abuse and market conduct, fund structuring, distribution and marketing mandates.

Practice head(s):

Ezra Zahabi

Other key lawyers:

Joe Hewton

Testimonials

‘The firm’s practice culture is particularly impressive. We have frequently found Akin Gump are able to mobilise a highly-skilled team of cross-specialism advisers to grapple with various unforeseen and particularly knotted issues, often under exigent circumstances. Akin Gump also partner well with our other advisers and they have demonstrated a flare for galvanising and providing leadership across large transaction groups, even where party interests are sharply divergent.’

‘From a regulatory perspective, our key stakeholder and point of contact has been Joe Hewton. Across a very complicated and challenging restructuring transaction, Joe has provided leadership and stewardship to a large and internationalised group of internal stakeholders and our other local legal advisers in connection with a variety of complex deliverables. Joe has shown significant determination and resolve in bringing a fraught and difficult restructuring process to an effective close, for which we are very grateful.’

Key clients

Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders of Valaris plc

Ad Hoc Committee of Convertible Bondholders of Hurricane Energy plc

Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Nostrum plc

Royalty Pharma Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised the Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders of Valaris Plc in relation to the financial regulatory aspects of the financial restructuring of UK offshore drilling contractor Valaris plc and its outstanding debt liabilities of approximately $7.1bn.
  • Acted for the Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Nostrum Oil & Gas Plc in relation to the financial restructuring of Nostrum and its outstanding debt liabilities.
  • Advised Royalty Pharma, a US-based biopharmaceutical company, on regulatory considerations in connection with the launch and IPO of a new pharmaceutical royalties undertaking incorporated in the UK and listed on Nasdaq.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £500m+ Tier 5

Akin Gump LLP is well regarded by a stellar mix of investment funds, financial institutions and corporates for its capabilities in international, private equity-driven corporate transactions. Practice co-chair Shaun Lascelles is a highly experienced cross-border advisor who specialises in energy sector deals involving emerging markets – most notably in the oil and gas space. Fellow co-chair Gavin Weir is highly rated for his broad public and private M&A expertise, encompassing financial services, technology, and life sciences. Public takeover expert Harry Keegan works with a strong mix of financial sponsors on numerous emerging market deals, whereas Weyinmi Popo focuses on Africa-focused private equity sponsors, family offices, and other strategic investors. Simon Rootsey is active across both African and Latin American jurisdictions, working regularly on hydrocarbon and life sciences deals. In December 2021, the team was bolstered by the arrival of buyout specialist Stephen Brown from Icon Law.

Practice head(s):

Shaun Lascelles; Gavin Weir

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team has an excellent ability to master all commercial and legal aspects and to protect our commercial interest in circumstances we would not foresee ourselves. Clear pragmatic approach to resolve conflicts between parties, and an ability to provide the resources to get the job done even when the other party is not doing their part.’

‘Gavin Weir is a very clever, attentive, and problem-solving partner, with remarkable availability to ensure our commercial requirements were protected.’

‘Innovative thinking, very experienced, all-around team.’

‘Gavin Weir has provided outstanding legal support throughout a very complicated transaction. His deep understanding of the issues at hand, his business-oriented approach, and exceptional problem-solving attitude has been instrumental in the successful completion of the transaction.’

Key clients

Vitol

VPI Holding Ltd.

Emerging Capital Partners

Africa Capitalworks

Piraeus Bank

Alpha Bank SA

Mediobanca S.p.A. and Cairn Capital Group Limited

Fortenova Grupa d.d.

CIIG Merger Corp.

Helios Investment Partners LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising VIP II Blue B.V, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vitol Investment Partnership II Ltd (VIP II), in its $2.3bn takeover of Vivo Energy Plc.
  • Represented the CIIG Merger Corp. SPAC in the $5.4bn merger with Arrival to form the NASDAQ-listed company, ARVL.
  • Advising Cairn Capital, together with Mediobanca as its majority shareholder, on the terms of a strategic partnership in which Cairn Capital acquired and merged with Bybrook Capital LLP, a specialist distressed credit manager based in London.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: premium Tier 5

Akin Gump LLP has the 'strength and depth to turn any case to the client's advantage'. Energy, financial services, and technology disputes are particular areas of expertise; the team's strength in the last of these areas is illustrated by its involvement with an £80m cryptocurrency-related claim. Practice head Richard Hornshaw is singled out by one client as 'the complete package'.

Practice head(s):

Richard Hornshaw

Other key lawyers:

Kambiz Larizadeh; Jenny Arlington; Justin Williams

Testimonials

‘The Akin team have a deeply experienced partner bench for international commercial litigation and cross-border insolvency and restructuring work. They are adept at leveraging different expertise in their team as and when required by the case, and although very-much “partner-led”, our experience is that they are supported by a talented and impressive group of associates.’

‘Richard Hornshaw is the complete package for commercial litigation – excellent technically, a great sense of the right strategy, and able to handle demanding clients with a naturally relaxed manner which is simple and to the point, while remaining sensitive to their needs and concerns.He is extremely user-friendly, good fun to work with, and very responsive and proactive in moving matters along. Richard’s someone you feel you can always pick up the phone to, to discuss ideas and strategy. We could not recommend him more highly.’

‘The strength and depth to turn any case to the client’s advantage.’

‘Justin Williams is a standout performer: all round package of great lawyer, great strategist and superb client handler.’

‘Good understanding of business and technology in particular. Proactive and practical advising. Flexible invoicing.’

‘Hands on and highly available. Provide constructive advice.’

‘Strength in depth. Many capable lawyers and the ability to handle disputes across the full spectrum of commercial litigation.’

‘Kambiz Larizadeh is bright, hardworking and has great judgement.’

Key clients

Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Hurricane Energy

The administrators of African Minerals Limited

Apollo

Dommo Energia S.A.

Holders of notes issued by Travelport Limited

NOC Swiss and Arash Naghdi-Esfastani

Nordic Trustee AS

Endava PLC

Work highlights

  • Representing Nordic Trustee AS, as holder of secured bonds issued by G3 Exploration, in various cases of insolvency litigation.
  • Acting for the joint administrators of African Minerals, an AIM-listed company that went into administration in 2015 with debts of approximately $1bn; at around the same time as this occured, Shandong Iron and Steel Group – the client’s former joint venture partner – effected a security enforcement sale process through which the mine and associated infrastructure was sold to a Shandong affiliate for nominal consideration.
  • Bringing claims worth £80m on behalf of three high-net-worth purchasers against an issuer of cryptocurrency and the provider of a cryptocurrency platform.

Finance > Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans Tier 5

Akin Gump LLP‘s eight-partner multi-disciplinary finance team has established significant traction among non-bank lenders, including institutional investors, both in relation to new money financings and special situations mandates. US-qualified team head Tom O’Connor has been at the forefront of the cross-border institutional private placement market for a number of years, work which has included an increasing volume of green and sustainability-linked matters of late. Robert Aulsebrook has a focus on emerging markets work.

Practice head(s):

Thomas O’Connor

Other key lawyers:

Robert Aulsebrook; Stephen Peppiatt; Michael Gustafson; Mark Mansell; Amy Kennedy; Inderveer Hothi

Key clients

PGIM Private Capital

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 6

Akin Gump LLP‘s tax practice focuses on the financial services sector, and primarily advises on restructurings and cross-border transactions. Stephen Brown was appointed department head in 2022, after joining from Latham & Watkins in 2021. Serena Lee, who made partner in 2022, advises on all aspects of corporate tax. Counsel Matthew Durward-Thomas is also noted for his work on both domestic and international tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Brown

Testimonials

‘Matthew Durward-Thomas – encyclopaedic knowledge and ability to distill significant tax concepts into non-tax language make him a ‘go to’ for all English tax queries.’

‘Akin Gump’s tax advice is practical and based on a thorough understanding of the facts and what the client is seeking to achieve commercially’

‘The individuals in the tax department work closely with their corporate law colleagues, and so the advice is properly joined up.’

‘Superb cross functional support and collaboration between tax and other work streams within Akin Gump. Being able to use their immense experience from past projects to propose best solution fitting our needs.’

‘Matthew was highly responsive and easy to work with. He was able to make complex English law tax specificities more easy to understand.’

‘The team balances both an in-depth knowledge of corporate tax law and practice, with a really practical approach that is focussed on solving problems. They really get what clients are looking for, to an extent which lawyers seldom do.’

‘Serena Lee’s experience, including time working for HMRC and in China, gives her a really rounded insight and an ability to attack problems from all sides. Serena’s recent promotion to partner was very well-deserved and reflects her value to clients.’

Key clients

Royalty Pharma

The private placement noteholders of NAC Aviation 29 DAC

Tyrus Capital Management

The Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Valaris plc

Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders intu Metrocentre Finance plc

Fortenova Grupa d. d.

Ad Hoc Committee of Seadrill Noteholders

Ad Hoc Group of Creditors of Premier Oil Group

VPI Holding Ltd (Subsidiary of Vitol)

Coller Capital

Work highlights

    Projects, energy and natural resources > Mining and minerals

    Projects, energy and natural resources > Infrastructure

    India > Foreign firms Tier 5

    Akin Gump LLP‘s India-related work is led by Prakash Mehta in Washington DC and the ‘excellent’ Thomas John Holton in London. Its focus is on funds matters; ‘with excellent capabilities on all facets of fund formation, including regulatory, tax and compliance‘. It acts for major, often global private equity, venture capital, real estate and credit funds in their fund raisings in India and also assists India-based funds to expand overseas or set up a base in countries such as the USA, when they would also be assisted in navigating regulatory and licensing issues. There are specialists in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, London and Abu Dhabi, including Divya Thakur and Juliana Widjaja in Singapore.

    Other key lawyers:

    Testimonials

    It’s a full service firm with excellent capabilities on all facets of fund formation, including regulatory, tax and compliance. Further, with the team spread across key geographies, such as Singapore, London and US-West coast, they are able to work seamlessly across time zones. With respect to any complex matter requiring expert opinions, the firm is able to pull in resources from various backgrounds who give very timely and sound legal advice.’

    ‘Thomas John Holton: Always available and an excellent funds lawyer – gives very practical advice which is balanced from a regulatory and market perspective.

    Key clients

    Carpediem Capital

    Work highlights

    • Advised Carpediem Capital in connection with the launch of their fund and marketing efforts around the world.

    Latin America: International firms > Capital markets

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s Latin America capital markets practice is largely driven by private placements by institutional investors, especially US-based insurance companies. Thomas O’Connor in London, along with Margaret Parker-Yavuz in Washington DC, have a history of representing the US insurance market in cross-border offerings, including Latin America transactions.

    Practice head(s):

    Thomas O’Connor

    Partner in Charge: Sebastian Rice

    Senior Partner: James Roome

    Number of Partners: 49

    Number of Other Fee-earners: 94

    THE FIRM Akin Gump is a global law firm with more than 900 lawyers and advisors who pride themselves on dedication to their clients and their communities. With 18 offices worldwide, they are renowned for numerous market-leading practices; their strengths are in complex transactions, financings and restructurings, high-stakes litigation, and public policy and regulatory matters; and the unyielding pro bono commitment. The firm partners with clients from both established industries and cutting-edge markets to deliver creative solutions to business-critical issues, helping them seize opportunities and anticipate challenges. Driven by a forward-thinking leadership, Akin Gump has built a strong culture of innovation and collaboration as well as a talented and diverse workforce committed to the success of clients and each other. Fostering a workplace focused on diversity and inclusion, all employees are supported and given the tools to succeed. The organisation is focused on recruiting and nurturing the next generation of exceptional legal talent and is proud that its recruitment and professional development efforts are recognised as among the best in the industry. Akin Gump’s London office is the hub of the firm’s international practice.

    PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK The firm’s strategy is to grow practices that complement its core strengths internationally. This has resulted in the growth of the London office with particular depth in the practice areas noted above. The fully integrated nature of the office within the broader firm means that the firm’s London lawyers work closely with their counterparts around the globe. Akin Gump’s London office clients include investment funds, insurance companies and market-leading energy, telecommunications and technology companies.

    INTERNATIONAL With more than a third of its offices outside the United States, Akin Gump has a global reach and its lawyers are fluent in over 40 languages. The firm has offices in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Fort Worth , Geneva, Hartford, Hong Kong, Houston, Irvine, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Singapore and Washington, DC.

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is the practising name of Akin Gump LLP. Akin Gump LLP is a New York limited liability partnership and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 267321

    DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
    Partner in Charge Sebastian Rice
    Senior partner James Roome
    Capital markets Barry Russell (debt)
    Capital markets Robert Aulsebrook (debt)
    Capital markets Vance Chapman (equity)
    Capital markets Harry Keegan (equity)
    Construction (arbitration) Hamish Lal
    Corporate/M&A Sebastian Rice
    Corporate/M&A Gavin Weir
    Debt finance Tom O'Connor
    EU/UK competition Davina Garrod
    Finance Robert Aulsebrook
    Finance Barry Russell
    Financial restructuring James Roome
    Financial restructuring Barry Russell
    Financial restructuring James Terry
    Financial restructuring Liz Osborne
    Financial services Helen Marshall (contentious)
    Financial services Ezra Zahabi (non-contentious)
    International Trade Jasper Helder
    International Trade Chiara Klaui
    Investment management (Hedge funds) Ian Meade
    Investment management (Hedge funds) Tim Pearce
    Investment management (Private Equity funds) John Daghlian
    Investment management (Private Equity funds) John Holton
    Leveraged finance Amy Kennedy
    Private equity transactions Shaun Lascelles
    Private equity transactions Sebastian Rice
    Private equity transactions, including Africa Weyinmi Popo
    Litigation/International arbitration Justin Williams
    Commercial litigation/banking litigation Mark Dawkins
    Commercial litigation/banking litigation Richard Hornshaw
    US securities Daniel Walsh
    PhotoNamePositionProfile
    Hamish Annandale photoMr Hamish AnnandaleHamish Annandale is a counsel in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. He…
    Jenny Arlington photoMs Jenny ArlingtonJenny Arlington has more than 10 years’ experience in representing a wide…
    Robert Aulsebrook photoMr Robert AulsebrookRobert Aulsebrook’s practice focuses on international debt finance, project finance, capital markets…
    Aleksander Bakic photoMr Aleksander BakicAleksander Bakic is a partner in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. He…
    Tom Bannister photoMr Tom BannisterTom Bannister is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial restructuring group. He…
    Vance Chapman photoMr Vance ChapmanVance Chapman focuses his practice on special situations, equity offerings and equity…
    John Daghlian photoMr John DaghlianJohn Daghlian is a partner in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. He…
    Mark Dawkins photoMr Mark DawkinsMark Dawkins is a partner in Akin Gump’s litigation group. He has…
    Lois Deasey photoMs Lois DeaseyLois Deasey is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial restructuring group. She…
    Sophie Donnithorne-Tait photoMs Sophie Donnithorne-TaitSophie Donnithorne-Tait is a partner in Akin Gump’s tax group. She advises…
    Matthew Durward-Thomas photoMr Matthew Durward-ThomasMatthew Durward-Thomas represents investment funds as well as private and multinational public…
    Artem Faekov photoMr Artem FaekovArtem Faekov represents public and private entities in international project finance and…
    Davina Garrod photoMs Davina GarrodDavina Garrod leads Akin Gump’s EU/UK competition group. She advises multinationals, corporates…
    Alaric Green photoMr Alaric GreenAlaric Green is counsel in Akin Gump’s EU/UK competition group. He advises…
    Michael Gustafson photoMr Michael GustafsonMichael Gustafson is a finance lawyer with significant experience leading complex debt…
    Jasper Helder photoMr Jasper HelderJasper Helder’s practice focuses on international trade and corporate compliance matters addressing…
    Joe Hewton photoMr Joe HewtonJoe Hewton is counsel in Akin Gump’s financial regulatory group. He advises…
    John Holton photoMr John HoltonJohn Holton represents asset managers on the launch and restructuring of private…
    Richard Hornshaw photoMr Richard HornshawRichard Hornshaw leads Akin Gump’s London litigation group and the Firm’s International…
    Inderveer Hothi photoMiss Inderveer HothiInderveer Hothi’s practice focuses on finance and corporate transactions covering a wide…
    Sophie Jermine photoMs Sophie JermineSophie Jermine is a partner in Akin Gump’s corporate group. For nearly…
    Harry Keegan photoMr Harry KeeganHarry Keegan’s practice focuses on international mergers and acquisitions and equity capital…
    Chiara Klaui photoMs Chiara KlauiChiara Klaui is known for her pragmatic and to the point advice…
    Hamish Lal photoMr Hamish LalDr. Hamish Lal represents clients in a range of high-value, highly technical,…
    Kambiz Larizadeh photoMr Kambiz LarizadehKambiz Larizadeh is a partner in Akin Gump’s litigation group. He focuses…
    Shaun Lascelles photoMr Shaun LascellesShaun Lascelles has more than 20 years of experience advising on cross-border…
    Mary Lavelle photoMs Mary LavelleMary Lavelle is a partner in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. She…
    Serena Lee photoMs Serena LeeSerena Lee is a counsel in Akin Gump’s tax group. She advises…
    Mark Mansell photoMr Mark MansellMark Mansell has represented noteholders, bondholders and other investors in numerous cross-border…
    Helen Marshall photoMs Helen MarshallHelen Marshall is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial regulatory group. She…
    Ian Meade photoMr Ian MeadeIan Meade is a partner in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. He…
    Thomas O'Connor photoMr Thomas O'ConnorTom O’Connor is a partner in Akin Gump’s finance group. He represents…
    Liz Osborne photoMs Liz OsborneLiz Osborne is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial restructuring group. She…
    Tim Pearce photoMr Tim PearceTim Pearce is a partner in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. He…
    Stephen Peppiatt photoMr Stephen Peppiatt
    Scott Pettifor photoMr Scott PettiforScott Pettifor advises on merger cases (at an EU, U.K. and multijurisdictional…
    Weyinmi Popo photoMr Weyinmi PopoWeyinmi Popo, a cross-border corporate finance lawyer, advises various Africa-focused private equity…
    Daniel Quinn photoMr Daniel QuinnDaniel Quinn is a partner in Akin Gump’s investment funds group. He…
    Sebastian Rice photoMr Sebastian RiceSebastian Rice is the partner in charge of Akin Gump’s London and…
    James Roome photoMr James RoomeJames Roome is the senior partner of the London office and a…
    Simon Rootsey photoMr Simon RootseySimon Rootsey works with private equity firms, infrastructure investors and corporates on…
    Barry Russell photoMr Barry RussellBarry Russell is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial restructuring group. Representing…
    David Sewell photoMr David SewellDavid Sewell is an English lawyer who concentrates on cross-border corporate transactions.…
    Emma Simmonds photoMs Emma SimmondsEmma Simmonds is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial restructuring group. She…
    Aimee Smart photoMs Aimee SmartAimee Smart is counsel in Akin Gump’s litigation group. She has experience…
    James Terry photoMr James TerryJames Terry is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial restructuring group. He…
    Daniel G. Walsh photoMr Daniel G. WalshDaniel Walsh represents both acquirors/investors and their targets/investees in acquisitions and investments…
    Gavin Weir photoMr Gavin WeirGavin Weir leads domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and corporate transactions under…
    Justin Williams photoMr Justin WilliamsJustin Williams is an English qualified solicitor with 25 years’ experience of…
    Ezra Zahabi photoMs Ezra ZahabiEzra Zahabi is a partner in Akin Gump’s financial regulatory group. She…
    Firmwide lawyers and advisers : 900+
    London lawyers : 137

    At Akin Gump, we believe the various perspectives and experiences of our lawyers and staff help us achieve exceptional results for our clients and bring important insights into all aspects of the firm.

    Firmwide Resource Group

    Our firm sponsors eleven firmwide resource groups (FRGs) for lawyers and business services staff. We currently have FRGs for women, working parents and caregivers, people with disabilities, first generation lawyers, veterans and those who identify as, Black, Latinx, Asian, MENA, Native American/American Indian and/or LGBTQ+, and their allies. These FRGs complement the firm’s efforts related to recruiting, professional development and fostering inclusive workplaces. They are voluntary and open to all lawyers and business services staff.

    Local Diversity and Inclusion Councils

    Akin Gump has a firm-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council to guide the execution of the firm’s DEI strategy. We also have local DEI councils in each U.S. office, London and Asia. DEI councils offer lawyers and business services staff a chance to communicate ideas to firm management and to recommend additional initiatives to enhance DEI at the firm.

    Family Friendly Policies

    At Akin Gump, we support lawyers through policies and programmes that enable them to effectively manage and integrate work, family, and other responsibilities. The firm has a Reduced Work Schedule Policy, which allows lawyers to work reduced schedules and remain on partnership track. In particular, we have a significant track record of promotions of women who have availed themselves of the policy.

    We also have an Agile Work Programme that recognises that agile work arrangements play an important role in providing excellent client service at the highest levels, while also providing flexibility for our lawyers.

    The firm works with Bright Horizon’s Family Solutions to offer our employees care for children and dependent adults.

    Pro bono

    Our lawyers defend human rights by representing asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and the NGOs that assist them. Our pro bono matters include public interest litigation, legislative counselling, poverty law and transactions, in each of Akin Gump’s offices. The firm is also focused on leveraging our tremendous pro bono commitment to address injustice and pursue equality throughout our communities.

    London

    The London office of Akin Gump is committed to a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment where all members of the Akin Gump community can thrive and grow. We maintain a culture that sees differences as strengths. The London office currently has resource groups that focus on women, working parents & caregivers, supporting people with disabilities, social mobility inclusion and those that identify as BAME and/or LGBTQ+ and each group welcomes allies.

    We partner with Bright Network and Aspiring Solicitors on student outreach and participate in their careers fairs to ensure we reach a broad range of candidates. During our trainee recruiting process we remove any minimum A-Level requirement and utilise blind screening, by removing the name and gender from student applications, to reduce opportunities for unconscious bias. Applicants take an assessment to help us ensure more candidates have the opportunity to be considered for interview and the selection process.

    We maintain strategic external partnerships with a number of professional, social and cultural organisations to foster DEI. These include a Bridge Builder programme with leading youth and education charity City Year, an internship programme and a mentoring initiative with the Social Mobility Foundation, sponsorship of the AS Foundation, which seeks to reduce financial barriers to entry to the legal professional and are a signatory to the Social Mobility Pledge. We are also a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, partner with Lexxic, the UK’s first neurodiverse workplace consultancy and are one of the ‘foundation law firm participants’ of the UK Model Diversity Survey, a diversity collection exercise, aimed at increasing openness, transparency and accountability around DEI in the UK legal profession.

    We support a return to school backpack project for the families division of homeless charity Shelter and work with leading women’s charitable organisations including Refuge and Solace Women’s Aid.