Akin Gump announced the election of 14 new partners, effective January 1. The 14 individuals and their respective office locations are Shiva Aminian (Washington, D.C.), Shubi Arora (Houston), Wael Jabsheh (Abu Dhabi), Melissa L. Laurenza (Washington, D.C.), Lacy M. Lawrence (Dallas), Lauren H. Leyden (New York), Eric L. Muñoz (Houston), Meng Ru (New York), Tatman R. Savio (Washington, D.C.), Kristine L. Sendek-Smith (Washington, D.C.), Christopher S. Spicer (Los Angeles), Ashley B. Vinson (San Francisco), David C. Vondle (Washington, D.C.) and Iain Wood (Dallas).
“These lawyers represent the very best of Akin Gump and what it stands for,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “It is not only a successful and diverse group, but also one that has demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to our clients. I am especially proud that several have participated in our reduced workload program, which provides our lawyers with the opportunity to fulfill family responsibilities or pursue professional growth while continuing to work at the firm. I could not be more excited to welcome this group to the partnership, and I look forward to a very bright future with them,” he added.
Ms. Aminian is a member of the firm’s international trade practice. She focuses on U.S. export controls and sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and trade policy, counseling clients on compliance issues as well as internal investigations involving alleged criminal and civil breaches of U.S. trade control laws. She received her J.D., cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law and her B.A., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis.
Mr. Arora is a member of the firm’s oil and gas and India practices, working primarily with clients in the energy industry on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; private equity investments; and joint ventures. He has also spent time in-house advising a sovereign wealth fund on structuring, executing and managing its investments. Mr. Arora received both his J.D. and B.A. from Vanderbilt University.
A member of the firm’s cross-border transactions practice, Mr. Jabsheh concentrates on domestic and cross-border M&A, joint ventures and private equity as well as general corporate and commercial matters. He has spent nearly a decade in the United Arab Emirates and has a great deal of experience with transactional work in the Middle East, North Africa and India. Mr. Jabsheh received his LL.B. from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law and his B.A. from the University of British Columbia.
As part of the firm’s public law and policy practice, Ms. Laurenza focuses on advising corporations, trade associations, nonprofits and high-net-worth individuals who are active in the political process as they navigate laws governing campaign contributions, including pay-to-play; efforts to influence legislative and agency decision-making; efforts to influence the investment decisions of public retirement systems; and gift and conflict of interest provisions. She also advises individuals nominated for Cabinet positions or ambassadorships. Ms. Laurenza received her J.D. from George Mason University School of Law and her B.A. from Vanderbilt University.
Ms. Lawrence is part of the firm’s litigation practice, handling a broad and diverse array of complex commercial litigation cases in federal and state court. She has a particular niche in the areas of financial restructuring and energy-related cases. Ms. Lawrence received her J.D., with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law and her B.A. from Georgetown University.
Ms. Leyden is a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice, providing counsel in corporate transactions and financial restructuring matters and representing a significant number of financial services clients in employment disputes, restrictive covenant matters, employment contract negotiations and employee terminations. She also litigates employment disputes and represents employers in collective bargaining, arbitrations and various administrative proceedings. Ms. Leyden received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Mr. Muñoz is a member of the firm’s oil and gas practice. He works on corporate and securities matters, with an emphasis on financing matters and complex debt finance transactions, including debt securities. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Houston Law Center and his B.A. from Stanford University.
Ms. Ru is a member of the firm’s corporate practice. She focuses on complex finance deals, including debt financings in connection with leveraged buyouts and distressed debt transactions. She received her LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law and her LL.B. from Fudan University School of Law in China.
As a member of the firm’s international trade practice, Ms. Savio counsels clients on U.S. law and policy affecting international trade and business, including sanctions programs, export control laws, foreign investment laws, anticorruption laws and antiboycott regulations. She received her J.D., with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law and her B.A., with highest distinction, from the University of Virginia.
Ms. Sendek-Smith, a former assistant U.S. attorney, is an experienced trial lawyer whose practice is focused on cross-border investigations, complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense. She has represented many clients under investigation by agencies of the U.S. government at all levels. She also has extensive experience representing clients facing media and Internet attacks, with a particular focus on Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Ms. Sendek-Smith received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Catholic University Columbus School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Mr. Spicer focuses on entertainment and media finance as part of the firm’s corporate practice. He represents financial institutions and other financiers with respect to their film and television lending, as well as producers, borrowers, distributors, high-net-worth individuals, funds and others in all aspects of media and entertainment. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.B.A., cum laude, and B.A. from the University of Washington.
As a member of the firm’s litigation practice, Ms. Vinson has handled multiple complex commercial and securities litigation cases in federal and state courts throughout the country. Her practice principally consists of representing insurers and other financial services companies in class actions and other high-stakes litigation matters. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Louisiana State University.
Mr. Vondle is in the firm’s intellectual property practice, focusing on patent litigation in large-scale IP cases involving a wide range of technologies, including software systems, computer hardware, wireless communications and consumer electronics. Mr. Vondle received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Houston Law Center, an M.S. from Ohio State University and his B.S., magna cum laude, from North Carolina State University.
As a member of the firm’s corporate practice, Mr. Wood concentrates on mergers and acquisitions, specifically on transactions for financial sponsors, including private equity and hedge funds. In addition, he provides corporate and governance counsel on financial restructuring matters. Mr. Wood received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law and his B.A. from Columbia University.