Justin Williams Offers In-Depth View of Akin Gump’s London Disputes Practice to CDR

In an extensive interview conducted by Commercial Dispute Resolution, Akin Gump partner and London disputes practice head Justin Williams discussed a wide variety of topics related to the practice’s work and the state of the industry.

Among the topics Williams discussed:

  • The practice’s work: “Maybe 40 percent of what we do is Russian-related, but where the work comes from is very diverse…Almost all of what we do involves parties that are not UK entities, but happen to come under English law or a London seated arbitration, or a contractual nexus to the UK. Our focus is outside the UK and most of the work we do is outside of Europe.”
  • Working with more than 100 current Akin Gump clients every year since 2010: “That’s a function of our integration becoming more bedded down and people throughout the law firm becoming more familiar with us and how there might be opportunities to work together.”
  • Litigation or arbitration?: “If you’ve got EU parties or parties with assets in the EU, English litigation often makes sense, but if you’ve got parties elsewhere, with assets elsewhere, then international arbitration can be the only game in town, because while English litigation has certain advantages, if you can’t enforce the judgment, it’s not worth a great deal.”
  • How litigation practices influence arbitration: “It becomes less flexible, there can be a tendency to lose a focus on what really turns a case, for a ‘no stone unturned’ approach which produces an equivalent expense and duration to English litigation.”
  • The advantages of Akin Gump’s management style: “At Magic Circle firms the direction of the law firm is controlled in quite a robust manner from the centre. At Akin Gump, there is a rather more entrepreneurial feel for partners, who are able to identify for themselves where the opportunities are, what would make sense for their practice and to go and do it.”

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