Akerman Has A New Chairman & CEO

Akerman LLP ushered in a new chair and CEO this month following the end of Andrew Smulian’s decade-long tenure as head of the firm.

David Spector, who was elected Smulian’s successor via a partnership vote in 2016, took over the role Feb. 1. He will serve a three year term and is eligible for re-election. Smulian will stay at the firm as chairman emeritus.

Spector said he plans to continue investing in “key metropolitan markets” Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, and Miami to fuel growth, he said.

He also intends to focus on promoting and investing in legal services in areas such as M&A, real estate, litigation, and financial services.

Under Smulian’s leadership, Akerman prepared for technological disruptions in the legal services market like the rise of big data and the growth in alternative legal service providers. In 2014, Akerman launched an R&D council dedicated to researching ways the firm could better deliver services to its clients.

“The challenge for law firms is to remain agile to the changes their clients are seeing in their industry,” Spector said. “While lots of folks talk about disruption in the legal industry, we like to talk about disruption in our clients’ industry, because they are our core.”

Spector’s practice focuses on the investigation and litigation of complex fraud schemes on behalf of large insurance companies. In 2012, he founded Akerman’s fraud and recovery practice group with the help of partner Michael Goldberg, an expert in Ponzi schemes. The once-regional practice area now has a national reach, Spector said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com.

To contact the editor on this story: Casey Sullivan in New York at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and Nicholas Datlowe in Arlington at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com.