Jon Hanifan Joins Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld In London

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 11:14


Jon Hanifan has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lead its European hedge fund tax advisory team. He joined the firm today from Ernst & Young, where he was a director in the hedge fund tax practice.

Mr. Hanifan will work closely with the investment management practice, which was recently joined by partners Tim Pearce and Ian Meade in London, and with Jonathan Ivinson, tax partner in Akin Gump’s London and Geneva offices.

Mr. Hanifan specializes in the provision of tax advisory services to hedge fund clients, including the tax implications of structuring new businesses, restructurings, international expansion or relocation, and mergers and acquisitions.

Stuart Leblang, co-head of Akin Gump’s tax practice, commented, “Jon has extensive experience advising hedge funds and their investment managers on the full range of tax issues affecting their businesses. With our expanding presence in London, Jon will provide critical tax support to our hedge fund clients in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.”

David Billings, who heads the investment management practice in London, added, “Having a very strong tax advisory practice to add to our strong funds capability in London will benefit our clients both in London and elsewhere. We are pleased to continue to enhance our offering to clients and are delighted that Jon has joined us.”

Jon Hanifan also commented: “Akin Gump’s funds team is highly respected around the world. The opportunity to join the team and to help further expand the growing practice’s capability across the funds sector is a challenge I am hugely looking forward to.”

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Daily Journal has selected two cases litigated by attorneys at Akin Gump among its “Top Verdicts” of 2012.

Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court was named a “Top Appellate Reversal.” In the biggest issue in the case, the California Supreme Court, ruling in favor of Akin Gump client Brinker, one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies, said that employers cannot be held liable if employees decide to work during their breaks. Akin Gump partner Rex Heinke, co-head of the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, argued the appeal before the California Supreme Court.

In Zacadia Financial Limited Partnership v. Klein, which Daily Journal named a “Top Defense Verdict,” Akin Gump partners Edward A. Woods and Susan K. Leader successfully represented the trustees of the estate of the founder of Herbalife International of America in a $380 million breach of contract suit.

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Akin Gump has been selected as a recipient of the 2012 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards, the only global firm to be so honored this year.

Among the pro bono accomplishments cited in the award is Akin Gump’s 2012 per-lawyer average of 89 hours of pro bono service to clients, generously exceeding the firm’s 60 hours per lawyer annual commitment as a charter signatory of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge.

Also cited were the firm’s pro bono litigation success representing seven Somali plaintiffs who brought claims of extrajudicial killing, torture and war crimes against General Muhammad Ali Samantar, the former Somali prime minister and defense minister, as well as Akin Gump’s work on behalf of abused immigrant women and its representation of disabled individuals seeking Social Security benefits.

This award follows the firm’s receipt last year of the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico award, presented each year to law firms and other institutions in the legal profession “that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor.”

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Four of Akin Gump's practice groups have been named Law360 Practice Group of the Year, recognizing the firm’s accomplishments in the categories of Appellate, Bankruptcy, International Trade and Healthcare.

Law360 describes the practice groups chosen as those “that achieved the biggest wins in the most important cases or worked on the biggest deals [of the] year.”

For Akin Gump’s appellate practice, this meant a major victory before the U.S. Supreme Court that gives private individuals who are contracted for government work the same qualified immunity given to government employees. It was one of several major victories the firm secured on behalf of clients, “making 2012 a big year for the appellate practice group.”

The financial restructuring practice at Akin Gump was noted for representing “unsecured creditors in more than 200 major restructurings since 2000.” The group brings together “disparate creditor constituencies … bringing home better-than-expected recoveries in billion-dollar bankruptcies.”

Akin Gump’s health care practice, according to Law360, is one that “touches virtually every corner of the vast health care universe, including civil fraud, compliance, lobbying and antitrust issues.” The firm had success in all of these areas during the past year.

Akin Gump’s international trade group was recognized for several big victories in the past year that “touched on four continents.” Among the successes noted for the group in 2012 are playing a key role in opening up China's auto insurance market to international companies and preventing Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. from facing hundreds of millions of dollars in antidumping duties.