Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
was founded in Dallas in 1945 by Robert Strauss
and Richard Gump
. The firm now numbers more than 1,000 attorneys and advisers in 14 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Richard Gump and Robert Strauss both left the Federal Bureau of Investigation
to launch a private legal practice. Henry Akin already was a solo practitioner in the same office building and provided helpful advice and suggestions on practice management to the nascent partnership. The firm's first client was the Dallas Transit Company in its privatization. Akin himself joined the firm in 1966. In 1972, Robert Strauss was elected to chair of the Democratic National Committee
; the firm would eventually grow into a political and lobbying powerhouse. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the firm began a period of expansion, opening branches in Washington, D.C.
(1978), San Antonio
(1988) and Brussels
(1989). In 1991, Strauss was appointed Ambassador to the Soviet Union
and his name was removed from the letterhead; he returned to the firm a year later. By then the firm numbered over 400 attorneys and acquired its current name, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.
In the 1990s, the firm expanded nationally and internationally. It launched in New York City (1993), Moscow (1994), Philadelphia (1996), Los Angeles (1997) and London (1997). At this point the center of gravity of the firm had moved to Washington, D.C. which now employed over 300 attorneys and was Akin Gump's largest office. Increasingly the New York office, almost 300 strong, is taking on increased importance in the firm, and a re-aligning of the most favored practice groups is taking place, leading to some dislocations with the firm. However, it is well-poised to continue its dominance in such areas as lobbying, investment funds, and energy.
Yale Law Women, the largest student organization at Yale Law School
, named Akin Gump to its 2007 list of Top 10 Family Friendly Firms. The Minority Corporate Counsel Association presented Akin Gump with the 2007 Thomas L. Sager Award in recognition of the firm's commitment to diversity. (The firm won the award three times previously.) Akin Gump received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign
's 2008 Corporate Equality Index
. The firm is one of only 30 law firms and 195 companies nationwide to receive a 100 percent rating.