Akin Gump Launches Global Climate Change Practice

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has formed a climate change practice to help clients control the risks and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the shift to a carbon-constrained economy, the firm announced today. The multidisciplinary practice draws upon Akin Gump’s project finance, emerging markets, and private equity and investment funds groups, as well as its public policy, environmental and energy litigation groups.

In helping clients address issues related to climate change, Akin Gump’s practitioners advise on issues related to climate-related disclosures, the standards and criteria for emission offsets for project developers, risk analysis for the investment community, and global, regional and national regulatory structures for climate change mitigation under consideration.

The multidisciplinary practice is led in Washington by Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and a partner in the firm’s policy practice, and Paul Gutermann, head of Akin Gump’s environment practice. Mark Barth, who has over 30 years’ experience in transnational investment management, leads the practice in New York. Partners in the climate change practice include the former U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, former senior EPA and DOJ enforcement officials, a former acting administrator in the Federal Energy Administration, a senior State Department official responsible for managing climate change issues during the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, and a former counsel in the World Bank Legal Department.

“Over the next decade, how we handle climate change will be the biggest issue at the nexus of business and public policy,” said Mr. Mehlman. “Our mission is simple: help smart businesses understand that they can do good and also do well on climate change. From the legislative process to administrative regulation to business transaction, we will help clients manage risks and seize opportunities around climate change.”

A notable recent addition to the group is senior counsel Kenneth Markowitz, who has worked with governments on a national and international basis to develop best practices on effective monitoring, reporting and verification to ensure environmental integrity and confidence in both regulatory and voluntary carbon markets. Prior to joining Akin Gump, Mr. Markowitz was the president and founder of Earthpace LLC, a global advisory firm that provides legal and policy strategies for climate markets, emerging technologies and regulatory systems.

“Ken’s experience with both the public and private sectors gives him insight into the strategies necessary to get things done. Climate change regulation has the potential to impact every U.S. economic sector, and in a carbon-constrained market, developing and implementing those strategies will separate successful businesses from those left behind,” said Mr. Gutermann, who added that the firm is currently helping numerous clients across a wide variety of industries navigate the regulatory landscape and anticipate potential compliance and litigation issues.

Akin Gump’s climate change clients include purchasers and originators of project-based greenhouse gas emissions credits as well as brokers, traders, investment banks, hedge funds, compliance purchasers and others seeking to evaluate and manage risk. The firm’s lawyers provide intelligence on domestic and international regulatory, policy and litigation events that impact such crucial matters as supply and demand for carbon assets in the compliance and voluntary greenhouse gas markets, emission offset projects and renewable energy portfolios.

Recognizing the need for timely and objective information about how these rapidly evolving legal and regulatory processes are developing, Akin Gump has developed ClimateIntel.com, a new blog for financial institutions, regulated businesses and other stakeholders that will need objective insight into legal and policy developments in a carbon-constrained economy.

Well-positioned to provide strategic advice concerning the evolving regulatory structures, associated compliance and enforcement issues, and policy developments, Akin Gump’s climate change practice provides a multidisciplinary approach to address climate change. Lawyers in the practice advise clients in the development of comprehensive strategic and tactical plans to respond to new and emerging processes at the U.S. and international levels. The practice utilizes tools such as direct advocacy with government decision-makers and formation and coordination of professional teams to advance client objectives, and provides intelligence on the regulatory drivers of investment in greenhouse gas intensity-reduction technologies.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 1,000 lawyers with offices in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Taipei 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; financial restructuring; global security; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international trade; investment funds; labor and employment; land use; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; private client services; private equity; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate development and finance; Russia/CIS; tax; and technology. For additional information, please visit our Web site at akingump.com.

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