Akin Gump Ranked Among Nation's Top 25 Corporate Law Firms

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 01:00

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP was ranked among the nation's top 25 corporate law firms in a recent study conducted by Corporate Board Member magazine and FTI Consulting, Inc.

The 11th annual America's Best Corporate Law Firms study, which surveyed corporate directors of publicly traded companies across the country, ranked the firm 17th in its list of go-to law firms. A separate survey of general counsel also placed Akin Gump among the nation's top 25 corporate law firms. The firm was ranked among the top three firms in the Dallas area.

According to the survey, firms selected for inclusion reflect those that "[maintain] a sharp focus on results with an impeccable reputation for integrity" and that possess "savvy intelligence for boards looking for legal firepower when the going gets rough."

Julia Sullivan has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a partner in the energy regulatory practice.

Ms. Sullivan brings over 23 years of experience in the energy arena. Her practice encompasses an array of regulatory issues in the electric utility and natural gas pipeline industries, including rate regulation, trading and hedging practices, and transactions involving utility infrastructure.

Ms. Sullivan has represented energy companies in significant matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state public utility commissions. She is an experienced hearing room attorney. In addition to her litigation experience, Ms. Sullivan advises energy companies regarding regulatory compliance, provides regulatory support for transactions involving energy companies, and represents energy companies in rulemakings and other policy matters.

Varun Gupta has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a U.S. partner and head of the Russian capital markets practice. He joins the firm from Allen & Overy LLP where he had been a U.S. partner in Moscow since 2007.

Mr. Gupta's practice focuses on international capital markets transactions, cross-border M&A transactions and general corporate matters. He provides both debt and equity capital markets advice, and regularly represents issuers and underwriters in public and private offerings of equity and debt securities. Based in Moscow since 2003, Mr. Gupta has played a leading role in the development of the Russian equity capital markets through his work on a number of landmark IPOs, including listings of Russian companies on the London and New York Stock Exchanges.

Mr. Gupta's Russian IPO transactions have included the flotations of AFK Sistema, Novatek, Comstar, United TeleSystems, Sistema-Hals, Sitronics and Federal Grid Company on the London Stock Exchange, Mechel on the New York Stock Exchange and M.video and Bank Saint Petersburg on the Russian stock exchanges.

Mr. Gupta is ranked in the first tier of independent legal guide Chambers Global 2011 for capital markets work in Russia, where he is described as working at the "top of the market."

Akin Gump is expanding its global Project Finance and Renewable Energy practice in California with the addition of four partners in Los Angeles. Joining Akin Gump are Edward W. Zaelke, Adam S. Umanoff, Lloyd MacNeil and Thomas I. Dupuis, all of whom previously practiced as partners at Chadbourne & Parke LLP. The firm currently has an office in Century City and will be opening a new office in downtown Los Angeles where the team will practice. Adam Umanoff and Ed Zaelke will serve as co-chairs of the practice.

Mr. Zaelke is recognized as one of the country's leading renewable energy lawyers. He focuses his practice on project development and finance, with a particular emphasis on representing companies engaged in the development, finance and operation of wind power, solar power and other alternative energy projects. He served as president of the American Wind Energy Association in 2006-07 and has served on the board of directors of AWEA since 2002. In 2009 and 2010, he was named one of California's Top 100 Lawyers and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals.

Mr. Umanoff, who is also widely recognized in the renewable energy industry, has a practice concentrated on the development, financing, operation, disposition and acquisition of renewable energy projects and renewable energy companies. Prior to returning to private practice in 2004, he served as CEO of the country's largest wind energy developer and turbine manufacturer. Over the past year, he has served as lead counsel on the three largest renewable energy projects in the world. In 2010, the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals also recognized him as one of California's Top 100 Lawyers and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers. He is also recognized by Chambers and Partners and other publications as one of the leading lawyers in the renewable energy industry.

Mr. Dupuis focuses his practice on the development, acquisition, sale and financing of commercial real estate and conventional and renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and geothermal energy projects. He represents owners, sponsors, developers, lenders and other participants in a broad range of transactions.

Mr. MacNeil's practice has an emphasis on project development, project financing and mergers and acquisitions in the energy and infrastructure sector, with a key focus on renewable energy. His clients include developers, sponsors, lenders and investors on a variety of renewable and nonrenewable energy project developments, financings and acquisitions.