Kim Koopersmith Speaks to Legal Week on Akin Gump’s Strategic Growth in Asia

For its article “Thinking global: A new era for Akin Gump in Asia,” Legal Week interview Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith on the firm’s philosophy of growth in Asia and elsewhere.

Koopersmith noted, “We wanted to go into Asia in a smart way,” adding that the 2014 arrival of a group of lawyers from Bingham McCutchen to several offices, including Hong Kong, was as ideal, from the standpoint of location and areas of practice, “as if you had written a script.”

She stressed the importance of a growth strategy that looks beyond the United States, stating, “[W]e needed to look beyond the U.S. and recognize the importance of other markets that we were in and find ways to strengthen them so clients looked to us at the highest level. I think if you look at your client base, you would be very foolish to view a narrow U.S. perspective as a wise one. It is not the direction our clients are going in.”

Koopersmith described the thoughtful nature of Akin Gump’s expansion plans, spotlighting the firm’s focus on core practices such as funds, energy, financial restructuring, tax and disputes and its conscious decision not to take on non-core practices: “We have not tended to [rely on] - ‘is everybody doing this?’ - as a reason for us doing it. In fact, the theme constantly is ‘what would differentiate us?’”

She, along with Asia practice head Gregory Puff, also discussed the building out of Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s dispute capacity. In this regard, Akin Gump recently announced it is building out its trade and disputes capabilities and services in Asia through the arrival in its Hong Kong office of international trade partner Tatman Savio and litigation senior consultant Vena Cheng (learn more here).