Political winds shape business plans, and in 1994 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld scented something in the air. With the fall of the Soviet Union and a flood of outside capital into the former communist state, Akin Gump, whose name partner Robert Strauss had just returned from a stint as U.S. ambassador to Russia, decided to start an office in Moscow.

The future was uncertain, but unlike the other U.S. law firms that fought for business from Western clients rushing to the Russian market, Akin Gump banked its future on the nascent domestic industry.

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