Akin Gump Opens Los Angeles Office

(Los Angeles) -- Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. today announced the opening of its Los Angeles office. The office will expand Akin Gump’s core practices to the West Coast, including corporate, litigation, labor and real estate. The partners in residence are David C. Allen, Gary Apfel, Hushmand Sohaili, Channing D. Johnson and John A. Karaczynski.

Robert S. Strauss, founder of the firm, said, “The opening of our Los Angeles office is a significant milestone in Akin Gump’s continuing development as a major international law firm. Southern California presents a great opportunity for us to enhance our services to existing clients as well as to take advantage of opportunities that are unique to the Los Angeles area, particularly in the hi-tech and entertainment industries. We are extremely pleased with the proven quality and success of the lawyers we have been able to attract, and we hope to build on that success now that we are open.”

David C. Allen, who has moved from Akin Gump’s Washington office to become the Managing Partner in Los Angeles, said, “We are very pleased not only to extend Akin Gump’s strengths into California, but at the same time to add Gary Apfel, Hushmand Sohaili and Channing Johnson, three corporate and real estate transaction partners from Kaye, Scholer’s Los Angeles office, and John Karaczynski, a commercial litigation partner from Rogers & Wells’ Los Angeles office. Their combined expertise and long-established practices in Southern California are wonderful assets to our firm.”

The three former Kaye, Scholer partners bring substantial corporate and real estate transactional experience to the firm. Gary Apfel concentrates on domestic and international corporate and corporate finance transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, and public securities offerings. His clients include major multinational corporations and investment banks. Fluent in German, Mr. Apfel has a sophisticated practice representing a number of German and Swiss industrial companies in their international transactions. In 1996, he took a major German company public on the New York Stock Exchange. The transaction was particularly noteworthy because it was the first time a company was divested via an IPO, pursuant to a Federal Trade Commission divestiture order. Also in 1996, Mr. Apfel was named IPO Counsel of the Year by the Corporate Finance Institute. He received his J.D. (Kent Scholar) from Columbia Law School in 1976 and his B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from New York University in 1973.

When asked about the move, Mr. Apfel commented, “We were drawn to Akin Gump because of its outstanding reputation for high quality legal work, its dynamic leadership and exciting vision for the future, and its strong international presence. Our clients will benefit greatly by Akin Gump’s well-established offices in the United States and internationally in London, Moscow and Brussels. We are now ideally positioned to assist them to compete successfully in the increasingly globalized marketplace.”

Hushmand Sohaili concentrates on domestic and international real estate matters, including acquisitions, sales, joint ventures, financing and development. Recently, a significant focus of his practice has been in the hotel industry, where he has handled the acquisitions, financing, management and development of some of the most high-profile hotels in the world. He has also handled transactions for both institutional and non-institutional investors, including developers, lenders and real estate investment trusts. Mr. Sohaili received his J.D. (Order of the Coif) from the University of Southern California in 1979 and his B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Southern Illinois in 1975.

Channing D. Johnson concentrates on corporate and securities law transactions and the entertainment industry. He is also experienced in franchising, media, redevelopment law and venture capital financing. Many of his clients are in the entertainment industry and include several prominent companies in the African-American business community, such as Black Entertainment Television, Motown Record Co., Rush Communications, Terry Manufacturing and Surface Protection Industries. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1975 and his B.A. from Stanford University in 1972.

John A. Karaczynski, formerly Managing Partner at Rogers & Wells’ Los Angeles office, has developed a complex civil litigation practice, with an emphasis on antitrust and unfair trade practices, securities, insurance, and First Amendment and media litigation. Mr. Karaczynski has represented preeminent national news organizations and media entities on First Amendment issues in high profile civil cases and criminal prosecutions. He received his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School in 1977 and his B.A. magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1974.

David C. Allen’s litigation practice involves the defense of corporations in the chemical, petrochemical and other manufacturing industries in toxic tort and product liability claims, including cases involving complex engineering, scientific and medical questions. He has represented a national manufacturing company and a major petrochemical company in litigation in California. He received his J.D. from George Washington University in 1984 and his B.A. cum laude from Providence College in 1981.

“Los Angeles is a key part of our firm’s global strategy and vision. We anticipate growth and expect to add additional attorneys at all levels, particularly with corporate, entertainment, real estate, intellectual property, employment and commercial litigation backgrounds,” commented R. Bruce McLean, Chairman of Akin Gump.

Founded in 1945, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., a leading international law firm, numbers 625 lawyers with offices in Washington, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Brussels, Moscow, London -- and now Los Angeles. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; banking and financial institutions; bankruptcy, reorganization and creditors’ rights; capital markets; communications; corporate and securities; employee benefits; energy; entertainment; environmental; food and drug; government contracts; health care; insurance; intellectual property; international; labor and employment; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; privatization; project finance; public law and policy; real estate; and taxation.