R. Bruce McLean is a senior executive and the former chairman of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Under Mr. McLean’s leadership, the firm grew to rank among the largest law firms in the United States.
Practice & Background
Prior to becoming chairman of the firm, Mr. McLean spent more than 20 years litigating complex business cases in federal court, particularly those involving federal regulatory programs, energy issues, natural resources law and antitrust matters. From 1971 to 1973, prior to entering private practice, he was a lawyer with the Appellate Court Branch of the National Labor Relations Board. While at the Board, Mr. McLean argued more than 30 cases in the federal circuit courts and had primary responsibility for several landmark cases involving the availability of injunctive relief from government action.
Mr. McLean has handled a number of the largest cases ever litigated between American business and the federal government. He was lead counsel for one of the world’s largest petroleum companies in an action that enjoined and overturned the $100 million conclusion of the Crude Oil Entitlements Program implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy. The decision saved the refining industry more than a half-billion dollars. He served as lead counsel and negotiator for the U.S. refining industry in In Re Department of Energy Stripper Well Litigation. The matter concluded with a multibillion-dollar settlement among the U.S. government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and seven classes of petroleum product users. He also separately represented several of the world’s largest oil companies and a number of small refineries in the litigation and settlement of claims of regulatory violations brought by the U.S. Department of Energy. Mr. McLean has also represented numerous Fortune 500 clients in complex litigation and has significant experience in alternative dispute resolution, including minitrials, arbitrations and mediations.
In his role as litigation counsel, Mr. McLean has helped boards of directors analyze the risk of litigation in significant cases requiring board participation in decision-making. He is a frequent speaker on the resolution of complex business disputes.
Mr. McLean chaired the firm’s Washington litigation practice from 1982 to 1994, during which time it grew from eight to more than 60 full-time litigators. He then headed the litigation practice, which grew to 170 lawyers during his tenure. Mr. McLean has been a member of the firm’s management committee since 1979.
Mr. McLean is currently a member of the firm’s diversity committee.
Mr. McLean attended law school on an I.U. School of Law Fellowship, earning membership in Order of the Coif and serving on the Indiana Law Journal.
Mr. McLean has been a member of the board of visitors of the Georgetown University Law Center since 2002 and was honored as the recipient of its inaugural Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2007. Mr. McLean also served in 2006 and 2007 as chairman of the annual Lawyers Have Heart race in Washington, D.C., which raises funds for the American Heart Association’s research and community education programs.
He has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America guide since its inception in 1983.
Mr. McLean has been involved in numerous community, civic and charitable activities, including:
- being a member of the executive committee of the Federal City Council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving Washington, D.C. by helping local and federal government agencies meet community needs
- serving by appointment of the District of Columbia Bar on the board of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program
- serving as vice chairman of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund
- being a member of the board of visitors of the Georgetown University Law Center and the board of visitors of Indiana University.