Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
The firm’s DC office continues to maintain a robust anti-corruption defence practice, with particular experience in the energy industry.
The “Strauss” in Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is the late Bob Strauss, a Washington, DC, power broker who once chaired the Democratic National Committee. As the first US ambassador to the Russian Federation after the fall of the Soviet Union, Strauss, who died in 2014, helped cement the firm’s ties to the new Russia. Washington, DC, partner Mark MacDougall is one of the firm’s rainmakers, and controversially worked with the pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, who fled the country in 2014 following widespread street protests over his blocking of closer ties with the European Union.
MacDougall's FCPA practice gained press attention when he refused to testify about the firm’s assistance to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in its investigation of London-based businessman Victor Dahdaleh for alleged foreign bribery. MacDougall represented a Bahrain state-owned aluminum smelter that alleged it had paid higher prices for raw materials as a result of bribes paid by Dahdaleh on behalf of his American client, aluminum manufacturer Alcoa. MacDougall’s refusal to testify helped lead to the collapse at trial of the case against Dahdaleh, who was acquitted. While finding that MacDougal had been discourteous to the court, a judge in the High Court for England and Wales found that he had acted in the best interests of his client, placing the blame for the trial's collapse on the SFO.
Also in the anti-corruption practice are Akin Gump partners Paul Butler and Shiva Aminian, who work on many export controls and sanctions matters as well. Other notable partners include Leslie Kiernan, who was deputy White House counsel under President Barack Obama, and Stanley Brand, who was general counsel to the US House of Representatives in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many of Akin Gump’s clients are energy corporations, while defence and intelligence companies also comprise much of the firm’s client base.
Other partners of note include Jonathan Poling, Tom McCarthy, Ed Rubinoff, Wynn Segall, and Charles Connolly.