Akin Gump Expands Litigation Practice

(Houston, Texas) – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has expanded its litigation practice with the addition of partner James R. Wetwiska and associate Leah Thomas Rudnicki in Houston, the firm announced today.

Mr. Wetwiska’s practice focuses on product liability and commercial litigation. Mr. Wetwiska has extensive experience litigating in federal and state courts and before arbitration panels, including in the area of mass tort litigation. His clients include some of the world’s largest oil, oil service, petrochemical and waste management companies.

Mr. Wetwiska has handled both single- and multi-plaintiff cases, including those involving alleged exposure to various chemical products, as well as cases arising out of waste disposal sites throughout the state of Texas. A recognized authority on medical and scientific issues regarding toxic chemicals and asbestos, he currently serves as national coordinating counsel and lead trial counsel for a Fortune 500 company in more than 10,000 asbestos cases throughout the United States. In addition to serving as lead trial counsel in numerous litigation matters, he has handled arbitrations throughout the world, including disputes in Australia, South Korea, South America and West Africa.

Ms. Rudnicki’s practice focuses on product liability litigation, mass and toxic tort litigation, and energy litigation. Both Mr. Wetwiska and Ms. Rudnicki are graduates of the University of Oklahoma and its College of Law.

“I am excited about the opportunity to join the best litigation practice in Texas,” said Mr. Wetwiska.

Richard L. Wyatt Jr., chair of the firm’s advocacy department, added, “Jim’s experience with large national clients in mass tort and commercial litigation augments our recognized litigation capability. Not only are Jim and Leah an important step in building on our litigation presence in Houston, but their practice also supplements our growing national mass torts defense practice.”

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 900 lawyers with offices in Austin, Brussels, Dallas, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, Riverside, Riyadh (affiliate), San Antonio, San Francisco and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; appellate; banking and finance; capital markets; communications and information technology; corporate and securities; corporate governance; employee benefits; energy; entertainment and media; environmental; estate planning, wealth transfer and probate; financial restructuring; global security; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international trade; investment funds; labor and employment; land use; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate development and finance; Russia/CIS; tax; and technology. 

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