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24 January 2017

Washington handover cycles top trade talent back into firms

Akin Gump is the latest firm to capitalise on the small army of top-tier legal talent re-entering private practice as new US President Donald Trump takes office.

By Kathryn Higgins

Prasit Rodphan

Washington DC-headquartered firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has announced the hire of former US Department of Commerce official Kevin Wolf as a partner in its international trade practice. As the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, Mr Wolf was the senior official in charge of regulation of export controls at the intersection of national security issues and technology. In collaboration with the US Department of Defense and State and the National Security Council, Mr Wolf was also one of the architects of former US President Barack Obama’s Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative. He will be joined at Akin Gump by Steve Emme, who has served as Senior Advisor to Mr Wolf in his capacity as Assistant Secretary for the last five years.

Mr Wolf is the second high-profile hire to Akin Gump’s international trade practice in recent months, after it scooped up London-based EU trade partner Jasper Helder in September last year. A statement from Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith said: ‘A great many of our clients are affected by U.S. export controls and sanctions rules, and it’s hard to overstate the benefit of having someone of the caliber of Kevin, who wrote the book on U.S. export control regulations, available to advise them.’

Mr Wolf said of his own switch back to private practice: ‘Following my seven years in public service, Akin Gump represents an ideal fit for my return to private practice. It has not only a client base that spans the globe and includes many of the industries most heavily affected by U.S. export control laws, but also a renowned reputation for its government-facing practices and one of the broadest and most expansive international trade platforms of any major global law firm.’ 

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