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AKIN GUMP STRENGTHENS LONDON OFFICE IN ANTICIPATION OF MAJOR GROWTH IN FINANCIAL RESTRUCTURING, INVESTMENT FUNDS AND EMERGING MARKETS Partners from Three of the Firm's Leading Practice Areas Relocate to London; Janet Bellwood of Herbert Smith Joins Restructuring Group (London, United Kingdom) - Law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld today announced a major expansion of its London office to meet growing client demand in three of its market-leading practices-financial restructuring, investment funds and emerging markets. To help lead the new initiative, three partners have relocated to London from the United States, and Janet Bellwood has joined the London office as a partner in the financial restructuring practice group. Janet was previously a solicitor in the finance division at Herbert Smith, based in its London office, and has broad experience in all aspects of corporate recovery work. Also joining the firm are Simon Thomas, an English funds lawyer, and Peter JM Declercq, a Dutch insolvency lawyer. As a recognized industry leader in investment funds, corporate restructuring and emerging markets, Akin Gump views its London office as key to meeting clients' increasingly global demands for services in these areas. "We believe this is a period of tremendous opportunity for our firm in London and throughout Europe. The need for expertise in financial restructurings and hedge fund formation and in cross-border transactions involving Russia is expected to see substantial growth over the next decade. The addition of these practice groups positions Akin Gump to address these needs as our clients and the market continue to expand," stated R Bruce McLean, Akin Gump's chairman. Akin Gump initially entered the London market in 1997, and added an English law corporate practice group in 2002. The London office now focuses on complex cross-border transactions throughout Europe and on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, energy industry representation, and insurance and reinsurance industry matters. The firm plans to develop its European practice in these areas in parallel with growth in investment funds, financial restructuring and emerging markets work. The following partners have relocated to London: * David M Billings. A partner in the investment funds practice, Mr Billings focuses on the formation and operation of private funds, including hedge and private equity funds. He has extensive experience in investment management and regularly advises financial institutions and other fund sponsors regarding securities law compliance and general corporate matters. He is featured in the International Who's Who of Private Funds Lawyers. * H Rey Stroube III. Mr Stroube is chairman of the firm's 60-lawyer financial restructuring practice group. His practice focuses on debt restructurings and business reorganizations, representing official and unofficial committees of bondholders, debtors, secured and unsecured creditors and equity holders (both individually and as participant groups). * Daniel G Walsh. Mr Walsh is a partner whose practice focuses on cross-border acquisition and joint venture transactions, as well as public and private international equity and debt offerings. He is a member of the firm's Russia and CIS practice group. In addition to Janet Bellwood, the following lawyers are joining the firm: * Simon Thomas, counsel in the investment funds practice group. A leading lawyer within the hedge fund market, he will continue to advise fund managers, banks and brokers in relation to financial services regulatory work, investment management, alternative investment products, and the formation and promotion of hedge and private equity funds. * Peter JM Declercq, associate in the financial restructuring practice group. He is the author of the definitive text, Netherlands Insolvency Law: The Netherlands Bankruptcy Act and the Most Important Legal Concepts, published in 2002. Previously, he was with the Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in London and Amsterdam, where his practice focused on insolvency, banking and finance law. He is qualified both as a Dutch and a US lawyer. A Global Leader in Investment Funds, Restructuring and Emerging Markets One of the largest law firms in the world, Akin Gump is a global leader in the areas of investment funds, private equity, financial restructuring, and Russian and emerging markets transactions. In investment funds, Akin Gump has a leading practice representing many of the largest sponsors and managers of hedge funds and other alternative investment funds. The firm represents six of the 10 largest hedge fund managers in the world based on total assets under management, as reported recently by Institutional Investor. In addition to hedge funds, the firm's practice covers the entire spectrum of alternative assets, including private equity, distressed debt, mezzanine investments, secondary funds and emerging market funds. In financial restructuring and insolvency, Akin Gump has acted on many high-profile matters. The firm has represented bondholders in more than 80 major restructurings since 1999 and is currently representing the creditors' committee in the WorldCom bankruptcy, the largest corporate bankruptcy in history, and an ad hoc committee of holders of secured debt obligations issued by United Airlines. The firm's restructuring group also represents business entities requiring financial reorganization or advice in connection with debt renegotiations. These engagements have included multinational and cross-border business problems. Akin Gump maintains a significant presence in Russia along with Russian expertise in London and the United States, advising clients with respect to such matters as capital market transactions in Russia and the West; mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, privatizations and other transactions in Russia and the CIS; and complex public law and policy matters. Name partner Robert Strauss was appointed the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in August 1991, and subsequently served as the first U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation. Senior international advisor James Collins served from 1997 to 2001 as the U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation. Akin Gump represents many major Russian corporations and recently acted as counsel to Lukoil as it became the first Russian company to list shares on the London Stock Exchange. Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers 1,000 lawyers with offices in Albany, Austin, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Riverside, Riyadh (affiliate), San Antonio and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; banking and financial institutions; capital markets; communications; corporate and securities; emerging markets; employee benefits; energy, land use and environment; entertainment; estate planning, wealth transfer and probate; financial restructuring; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international; investment management; labor and employment; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate and finance; taxation; and technology. NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos are available on request. Additional information about the firm can be found at www.akingump.com. For further information, please contact: Fred Heller Vanessa Land Akin Gump Devonshire Marketing Tel: 0207 726 9600 Tel: 01276 675571 Email: fheller@akingump.com Email: vanessa@devonshiremarketing.com ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net The following files are available for download: http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2003/01/14/20030114BIT01120/wkr0001.doc http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2003/01/14/20030114BIT01120/wkr0002.pdf