On Monday, Washington-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld announced that current chairman Bruce McLean would step down and would be succeeded by New York litigator Kim Koopersmith from April 1, 2013. Koopersmith has been the U.S. managing partner at Akin Gump since 2008. Koopersmith would be the first woman chairperson of the law firm launched in 1945.
McLean would continue at Akin Gump as senior executive partner after March 31. His stint as chairman for the last 20 years had seen Akin Gump grow from a regional law firm based in Texas to become an international law firm with more than 850 lawyers. The law firm is now well-known internationally with acknowledged expertise in the practice areas of energy, corporate law, legislative and regulatory matters.
In her recent three-month tour of 17 offices of Akin Gump, Koopersmith was able to garner exceptional support with her visions of greater growth both on domestic and international fronts. Koopersmith has suggested spreading the focus of the firm equally across all 17 offices rather than remaining Washington-centric. She said, “I will spend time in all of the offices so that people continue to make sure that I understand what needs to be accomplished.”
A smaller management committee may also grace the firm after Koopersmith takes over. She said, “A smaller committee would have the potential to immerse themselves in the issues with greater intensity as opposed to 20-plus practicing lawyers.”
In 2011, The American Lawyer reported profits per partner at the firm to be about $1.6 million, while gross revenue was about $770 million.
Koopersmith was elected through a 5-month long selection process, where she was unanimously nominated by the firm’s management committee.