Lateral Look: Akin

There’s no mistakin’ that Akin’s takin’ the legal world by storm, bringing the “human element” to BigLaw.

Akin Lateral Profile 2024

You know the name. “The more I looked into other firms, the more often I kept coming back to Akin,” one associate told us. “The camaraderie was there; the culture was there – it was all so easy and comfortable.” As one of the world’s largest legal practices, it’s only apt that Akin’s got the reputation to match its stature. With almost 1,000 lawyers working across eleven US offices and a further seven internationally, the firm is no stranger to success, but for Akin’s juniors, the deciding factor was the people.

View the firm’s Chambers USA rankings

Read the firm’s Inside View feature on junior associate life

Why did you join your firm? Associates say…

“The people at Akin are relaxed, friendly, and fun to be around while still getting the work done. The interview process at Akin was enjoyable, and borderline fun, for me, which stood out compared to other BigLaw firms, where the interviews were so serious."

"The ability to work on high-end legal matters without the likelihood of burning out after a couple of years. Also, the firm gives attorneys a lot of responsibility and a client-facing role from the time they start."

“Transparency and accessibility. The leadership, partners and more senior associates are always available and responsive to questions or concerns raised, even going out of the way to seek you out to check in. There is both formal and informal mentoring, and I think both methods are very effective."

 

Strategic Recruitment Focuses 2024

Litigation careers

The view from the firm: Our Litigation practice handles and wins high-stakes litigation, including high-value securities, product liability and other class actions, false advertising, privacy, government enforcement proceedings, business disputes, high-visibility trials and arbitrations, and all other enterprise-threatening litigation.

Litigation clients: SpaceX, CEVA Group, Acacia Research Corporation.

Recent highlight: Served as counsel to Celsius Network and its affiliated debtors, collectively one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency-based finance platforms, in multiple litigations.

Financial restructuring careers

The view from the firm: We are widely recognized as a restructuring powerhouse. Companies, ad hoc groups, official and information creditors' committees and institutional investors seek our counsel for their most sensitive and complex restructuring, liability management and special situation matters, trusting our international and integrated platform to manage every facet and issue that may arise. We have advised on many of the most complex, high-profile restructurings in the market.

Financial restructuring clients: Revlon, Diamond Sports, Talen Energy.

Recent highlight: Represented SVBFG, the former bank holding company of Silicon Valley Bank, in a matter worth over $3 billion after the bank was seized by regulators and put into receivership, making it the second largest bank failure in US history.

International trade careers

The view from the firm: Our International Trade practice is one of the largest, highest ranked, and most specialized trade practice of any major law firm. We comprise over 90 lawyers and advisors across almost all Akin offices worldwide. It is a "destination practice" where clients come to Akin for our deep experience in the following areas: customs and import controls, export controls and economic sanctions, immigration, global foreign investment review, trade policy, and trade remedy litigation.

International trade clients: Nike, Johnson & Johnson, United Parcel Service (UPS).

Recent highlight: Serve as custom and import controls counsel for Volkswagen Group of America.

Investment management careers

The view from the firm: Our Investment Management group handles complex high-value matters for clients in the alternative assets industry across key business centers in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. For over 40 years, we have helped some of the largest and most influential sponsors and investors in the world to fundraise, invest, and realize billions of dollars in committed capital worldwide. Our ongoing prominence in the market is reflected in a high-end client roster that benefits from our hallmark cross-strategy capabilities, unmatched by any other firm. Highly diversified across different sectors, our group is robust in any economic environment.

Investment management clients: Apollo Global Management, Jasper Ridge Partners.

Recent highlight: Advised BlackRock on its investment in Zenyth Partners sponsored continuation fund.

Corporate and finance careers

The view from the firm: Our market-leading Corporate and Finance group works with clients to structure and execute complex transactions and devise creative debt and equity capital solutions around the world. Our team of 300+ transactional lawyers, in major financial centers on three continents, works across borders, industries and the capital structure. We provide counsel to alternative capital providers, including private equity, private credit, infrastructure, sovereign wealth and other investment funds, public and private companies, boards of directors and family offices, in connection with mergers and acquisitions (M&A), special situations and other investments, debt financings and capital markets transactions, projects & energy transactions and corporate governance matters worldwide.

Corporate and finance clients: Open AI, Cineworld Group, Apollo Global Management.

Recent highlight: Advised Baker Brothers Investments in connection with Pfizer’s $43 billion acquisition of Seagen, a biotechnology company focused on cancer treatments.

 

Career Development & the Path to Partnership

 

13

0.88 : 1

73%

partners made in 2023

associate : partner gearing

of associates intend to make partner

71%

56%

87%

felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children felt partnership was achievable at the firm agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders

 

The view from the firm: We cultivate an environment of learning to allow our lawyers to excel as practitioners at the highest level. Our lawyers attend Akin's flagship in-person academies at key inflection points in their careers, sharpen their practice skills at hands-on trainings and have access to a wealth of learning resources. Our lawyers are encouraged to participate in initiatives that broaden their experience by undertaking firm citizenship and community leadership roles, working on pro bono matters and participating in Akin JUMP, which allows a lawyer to do a short stay in another office to deepen collaboration and networking.

 

Hours & Compensation

 

no requirement

11

47.8

billable hours
target

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week

65%

86%

92%

agreed they had a good work-life balance

said the benefits package makes the workload worthwhile

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent

 

Salaries

1st year: $225,000

2nd year: $235,000

3rd year: $260,000

4th year: $310,000

5th year: $365,000

6th year: $390,000

7th year: $420,000

8th year: $435,000

 

The view from the firm: Non-partner attorneys of the firm are eligible for bonus consideration. Bonuses are discretionary and merit based, with primary consideration given to factors including work quality, demonstration of progress through the core competencies, productivity, contribution the practice group, business development, firm citizenship and pro bono efforts.

 

Is Akin the right firm for you?

 

90%

93%

93%

were happy in their current role

     agreed the work is interesting

felt comfortable being themselves at work

The view from the firm: Ideal candidates must exhibit Akin’s core values: future-focused, diversity-minded, dedicated to excellence, service-oriented and collaborative. We also look for stellar academic credentials and comparable law firm experience. We are looking for talented self-starters with imagination, creativity and vision. In addition, we are seeking individuals who are original thinkers, possess the drive to achieve results for our clients, and have the capacity to assume increasing responsibility in a highly successful international law firm. Candidates must have the ability to function smoothly in a team environment with culturally diverse team members.

Here's what survey respondents had to say about the firm's culture...

“No elbows out culture - people genuinely want you to contribute at all levels of seniority, and peers are supportive and make working together an enjoyable experience."

“Practicability and business-oriented culture that is not constrained on formalities. There’s a culture that can adapt to changes quickly and open to new ways of doing things."

 

Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing

 

75%

28%

35%

reported diverse staffing on teams/cases/matters

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse

 

The view from the firm: In 2023, we hosted another outstanding speakers series connected to the various history and heritage months to increase understanding. Notable speakers included Janai Nelson, President and Director-Counsel of the Legal Defense Fund and Ambassador Adela Raz, the first female Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations. In our successful Strauss Diversity and Inclusion Scholars program, which identifies top 1L students committed to advancing DEI, scholars spend part of their first summer in one of our offices and part of the summer with one of our valued clients. The scholars return for our standard 2L program, and ultimately join us as first years. We also provide a $50,000 scholarship. Finally, we continued our partnerships with the diverse national bar associations, enabling our lawyers to attend the national conventions for professional development and to build relationships beyond Akin. We hosted our 15th Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Retreat, which brings together senior Black in-house leaders and our Black partners and counsel to deepen existing partnerships We also hosted numerous events for our LatinX, AAPI, LGBTQ+, and women clients.

 

Pro Bono

 

110

93%

average pro bono
hours 
per US attorney    

    agreed the firm is committed to pro bono

 

The view from the firm: Afghan Asylum Project; NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (civil rights litigation); Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, The Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth, and The Juvenile Law Center (resentencing in juvenile life without parole cases); Seeking justice in Alex Jones bankruptcy case

 

Sustainability & CSR

The view from the firm: On Earth Day 2021, Akin Gump launched Always Green – the firm’s own sustainability program, with commitment from the highest levels of firm leadership, and involvement from partners, other lawyers, and members of business services at all levels globally. Always Green’s major milestones include:

  • Engaged Carbon Intelligence to analyze our carbon emissions, including Scope 3 emissions, and help us make a science-backed plan to reduce them;
  • Partnered with Stanford’s Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, which matches non-profits and start-ups working in the field of environmental sustainability with law firms providing pro bono legal services; and
  • Launched the Sustainability Internship program for undergraduate students with environmental studies concentrations.

In addition to the firm’s internal commitments to environmental sustainability via Always Green, Akin Gump also does significant client work:

  • We have a market-leading and rapidly growing renewable energy practice. We have announced some major hires in the U.S. and London this year, and are continuing to grow this practice at all levels.
  • We are working with many of our longtime oil and gas clients as they diversify into the renewables space, incorporate low-carbon and carbon-neutral energy technologies into their business models, and aim to achieve environmentally sustainable and socially conscious benchmarks in their operations.

 

Contact

Learn more about opportunities at the firm

Recruitment contact: Elaine Kent, Senior Lateral Attorney Recruiting Manager, ekent@akingump.com