William L. Rosoff has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as an international corporate transactions partner in the firm’s Beijing office. Mr. Rosoff will serve as partner in charge of the office, replacing Spencer Griffith, who will maintain his strong China trade practice from Akin Gump’s Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Rosoff’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, as well as general corporate, infrastructure and China-related matters.
Mr. Rosoff’s arrival in Beijing furthers the growth of Akin Gump’s footprint in Asia, which was significantly bolstered earlier this year with the opening of the firm’s Hong Kong office. He will strengthen the firm’s corporate and M&A practice throughout the region and will lead an office that works very closely with the firm’s Hong Kong office to represent Chinese companies seeking to expand overseas as well as foreign companies entering or expanding their investments or operations in China.
Mr. Rosoff represents clients in the structuring and negotiation of complex mergers, hostile takeovers, cross-border acquisitions and joint ventures. His practice also includes the handling of infrastructure projects and transactions.
In addition to his previous position as partner in the New York offices of a number of top-tier U.S. law firms, Mr. Rosoff also served as senior vice president and general counsel of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. and of RJR Nabisco, Inc.
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On August 28, 2012, a seven-year legal battle that began as a complaint filed in district court in Virginia and wended its way to the U.S. Supreme Court concluded, as a U.S. federal judge awarded $21 million to seven plaintiffs in a case involving claims of torture and murder against Mohamed Ali Samantar, the former vice president, defense minister and prime minister of Somalia.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, in conjunction with the Center for Justice and Accountability, represented the plaintiffs pro bono in a case that was notable, first, for the fact that it is the first time that any Somali government official has been made accountable for the abuses committed under the Siad Barre regime that ruled Somalia from 1969 to 1991.
Further, this case set an important legal precedent, as the U.S. Supreme Court, having accepted the case for review of the Fourth Circuit’s decision rejecting Samantar’s claim of immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, ruled unanimously against his claim, thereby establishing that foreign government officials who commit human rights abuses while in office are not entitled to FSIA immunity in U.S. court.
Steven Schulman, Akin Gump’s pro bono partner, said, “This is a remarkable result for our clients, who faced down one of the most powerful men in their country’s history and forced him to concede liability for his crime. I cannot imagine a better use of our firm’s pro bono resources than to achieve justice for our clients and to honor the many victims of General Samantar’s brutal military.”
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For the sixth year in a row, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has claimed the top spot in The National Law Journal’s “Influence 50,” its annual survey of the 50 highest-grossing lobbying practices. Akin Gump also crossed the $100 million threshold for government affairs revenue, one of two firms ever to have done so.