Am Law Quotes Jonathan Poling on Growth of Sanctions Work in Law Firms

Akin Gump international trade partner Jonathan Poling was quoted by The American Lawyer in the article “International Trade Lawyers Make Hay as Sanctions Shine.” The article reports that international trade lawyers who work on sanctions matters are seeing an uptick in work volume as U.S. sanctions mount against other countries.

According to Am Law, one big challenge amid all of the sanctions being imposed is identifying to whom a given sanction actually applies. Regulators, the article says, will not indicate which entities are in the clear and which aren’t, which is leading to greater uncertainty.

“I think that with the regulatory agencies, the side of their house that is issuing changes to the sanctions is quite active, but the side of the house that is involved in interpreting them is trying to play catch up like the rest of us these days,” said Poling.

That uncertainty is adding up to a busy time for sanctions attorneys, Poling noted. Looking around Washington, he said, “there was always some senior partner that started out in this practice at every firm—they were sort of solo practitioners. Occasionally there were two or so.”

“What you’ve seen even before the Trump administration is an explosion in the numbers,” he added. “Complexity and enforcement has significantly ramped up, and clients take [sanctions] as more of a significant risk, more like anti-corruption measures.”