Akin Gump targets Boston launch with twin partner hire from local firm

Tax partners join from Choate Hall & Stewart as Akin Gump is latest firm to enter Boston market

Tim Becker(l) and Wells Miller Images courtesy of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Top 40 US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has made its first hires in Boston ahead of a planned office launch in the city. 

Partners Tim Becker and Wells Miller have joined the firm’s tax practice from Boston-based Choate Hall & Stewart and bring extensive experience advising funds clients. 

While the firm declined to comment on its wider plans for Boston, it is understood to be committed to having a long-term presence in the city. If that ambition comes to fruition, it will join a raft of prominent firms including Fox Rothschild, Allen & Overy and Barnes & Thornburg to have set up shop there in recent months. 

Becker was previously a partner at Akin Gump in New York and has re-joined the firm following an interval of almost eight years at Choate Hall and a short stint as an independent practitioner. 

He advises private equity funds, venture capital funds and hedge funds on US and international tax and structuring issues relating to fund formation, operations and investments. He also advises buyers, sellers and target companies in private equity mergers and acquisitions and other domestic and cross-border transactions.

Meantime, Miller has moved over to Akin Gump after almost a decade at Choate Hall, where he made partner at the start of last year. He regularly advises fund clients on all matters relating to executive compensation, including drafting, negotiating and implementing non-qualified deferred compensation plans, equity and equity-based incentive compensation arrangements, severance, change in control and executive employment agreements, particularly in the context of mergers and acquisitions.

“Tim and Wells are phenomenal practitioners who focus on the private equity and funds space and are able to operate across Akin Gump’s practices in tax, financial restructuring, funds, investigations and regulatory,” said firm chair Kim Koopersmith. “We are delighted to welcome them both to the firm and are excited about the value they bring to the firm’s clients.”

Akin Gump’s 70-lawyer strong tax practice is led from New York by partners Patrick Fenn and Stuart Leblang and counts Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, Diamondback Energy and 7-Eleven as clients. Earlier this year partner Julia Pashin joined the practice in Dallas from Shearman & Sterling to advise clients in the energy/oil and gas sector on the tax aspects of M&A and private equity transactional matters. 

“Akin Gump is an ideal platform for our clients,” said Becker. “We are excited to continue serving the investment management industry with the support of the firm’s special situations, private equity M&A, funds and tax capabilities, all of which are in high demand in the Boston market.”

A number of other law firms bolstered their IP capabilities for their Boston launches in a bid to reap the benefit of the life sciences hub’s growing legal market. 

In May Fox Rothschild hired a four-strong group of IP lawyers from Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo for its Boston launch, while UK rival Allen & Overy added a highly rated five-partner life sciences IP litigation team from Goodwin Procter in February to set up shop there. 

Last year, Barnes & Thornburg entered the city after hiring a quartet of IP lawyers from Nutter McClennen & Fish while Withers added a trio of patent partners from Burns & Levinson for its Boston launch. 

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