Law firm Akin Gump has hired Kevin Wolf, former US assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, as a partner in its trade practice.

Based in Washington DC, he will advise clients on international trade regulatory issues, particularly regarding the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Wolf spent the past seven years at the US department of commerce, during which he oversaw the regulation of export controls and the intersection of technology and national security issues. He focused particularly on Barack Obama’s export control reform initiative (ECR), an interagency effort to rewrite defense and dual-use goods export controls to optimise their benefits to national security and foreign policy.

This involved consulting with domestic and international industry groups and trade associations to assess the impact of export controls and sanctions and explore ways to improve them. In this role, he was also responsible for co-ordination with OFAC on export regulations and licensing policies regarding countries subject to economic sanctions, mainly Russia, Iran and Cuba.

Before his time at the commerce department, he worked at law firm Bryan Cave for 17 years, already specialising on export controls.

Akin Gump international trade head Tom McCarthy says: “What Kevin achieved in the field of export controls while serving as assistant secretary is truly remarkable: he took an area of law greatly in need of reform and led its transformation into the dynamic regime that exists today. He also brings a truly global outlook, having cultivated substantial experience working with businesses and organisations with operations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”

Wolf brings with him Steve Emme, who was his senior advisor at the commerce department for five years.

The two hires build on the appointment of Jasper Helder as partner and Chiara Klaui as counsel in the past few months.