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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld took a hit Tuesday when two partners and at least 11 staff attorneys and paralegals in its real estate and finance practice defected to Powell Goldstein. The move took about a third of Akin Gump’s real estate and finance practice, including lawyers in its Washington, D.C.; Dallas; and Atlanta offices. “From our firm’s standpoint this is a practice we valued, and we’re sorry to see these two partners go,” says R. Bruce McLean, Akin Gump’s chairman. “We have not fully evaluated how we will rebuild this practice at Akin Gump, but we do have some capacity that remains at the firm.” The split came after Powell Goldstein began wooing former D.C. partner Keith Dunsmore back to the firm. “We realized that Keith’s practice was integrated with Robin Green’s practice in Dallas and saw an opportunity to become a significant player in this portion of the legal industry,” says Allen Rugg, managing partner of Powell Goldstein’s D.C. office. The group creates a new capital markets practice group in Powell Goldstein’s financial products and real estate services department. Dunsmore, who works on commercial mortgage-backed securities, spent 13 years at Atlanta-based Powell Goldstein before jumping to Kilpatrick Stockton and then Akin Gump. Last year, Akin Gump’s 749 lawyers produced $618 million in revenue � more than tripling 249-lawyer Powell Goldstein’s $121 million, according to The American Lawyer. Akin Gump’s revenue per lawyer in 2005 was $780,000 compared with Powell Goldstein’s $485,000. And Akin Gump’s profits per partner in 2005 were $965,000, dwarfing Powell Goldstein’s $465,000. Still, Dunsmore says that Powell Goldstein’s “platform is perfect for our capital markets group because of their strength in real estate.” He will be joined by senior attorney Kimberlee Lapie in Washington. Dunsmore says that Powell Goldstein’s mid-Atlantic strength, especially in the Charlotte, N.C., region, is key for expanding the group’s practice. As part of the acquisition, Powell Goldstein will open a Dallas outpost, anchored by former Akin Gump partner Green. Seven former Akin Gump attorneys will join her there. “Our group is extremely excited about the opportunity to open the Dallas office for Powell Goldstein with the firm’s existing strengths in real estate, banking, and financial services,” says Green. According to Rugg, the firm had been looking to grow in Dallas before the acquisition, but the timing was right. “We’ve been talking about Texas for a period of time, but we thought we needed a quality practice,” says Rugg. He says the firm will add banking, health care, real estate, and litigation lawyers to its Dallas office. Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected]

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