29 Years Later: Akin Partner Looks Back


pierce2Tony Pierce

Partner in Charge of Washington, D.C. office, Akin Gump 


Anthony Pierce joined Akin Gump one year out of law school and has spent the past 29 years at the firm. In 2008, he was elected Partner in Charge of the Washington, D.C. office. Below is his story.


                                     1975 - 79:
                      Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Va.

My parents moved to Virginia simply to get us a better education and a four-bedroom house. It was a courageous move when you think of it, given that we were one of the first and few black families in the neighborhood.



                                  1979 - 83: 
                           George Mason University
Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images
Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

George Mason wasn’t nearly as large as it is today and gave me a high-quality education in a subject I actually was interested in — public administration — and some scholarship cash to boot.



                                  1983 - 87: 
                       Georgetown University Law Center 
Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

Going to law school at night is never easy, but Georgetown made it as easy as it could make it because they had a night program that was very conducive to the working law student.


Work Experience

                                  1983 – 87:
  Evaluator, U.S. General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office)

Everything you were doing was an investigation of some kind, so you learned how to interview people, you learned how to think critically about what someone said, you learned how to memorialize what someone said and then you learned how to take all of that and put it in a written form in a report that people could read and understand. And when you think about it, most everything about litigation is basically that.


            Summer Associate, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 

I worked on a memo analyzing the passive loss rules in the proposed tax bill for one of the tax lawyers and one of the lobbyists here … It was fun and exciting and it made me realize I didn’t want to be a tax lawyer.



                                 1987 - 95: 
                  Associate, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Vernon Jordan Jr. in November 1992. Photo by Jennifer Law (AFP/Getty Images)
Vernon Jordan Jr. in November 1992. Photo by Jennifer Law (AFP/Getty Images)


This firm had two things: a very friendly — in my view — work environment and it had an African-American partner (Vernon Jordan) who played a significant role in the firm and I was looking for both of those things when I came.

                 Partner and Litigator, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

One thing that I love about the legal system in the United States is that those jurors, they take it seriously when they’re instructed by the judge and you can just tell they’re listening and they go back and they take it seriously. It’s a beauty of our system. We could have no better system in my view.

Tony Pierce, with one of his long serving assistants, Fannie Young.


                  Partner in Charge of D.C. Office, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

In my management role, the single most important thing I can do is helping the lawyers get their jobs done as efficiently and as profitably as possible.


Lessons to Live By. 

“When you’re coming up, think about how you can help others." 
“In practicing law, it is critical that you learn your craft, that you learn the basics of practicing law as a young lawyer.”
“Always be involved in your community. Use your talents and your skills to help build, change, support your community.”



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