Ropes & Gray LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “My colleagues are truly fantastic”
  • “Humane BigLaw treatment”
  • “No face time requirement”

Downers

  • “Lack of transparency”
  • “Unpredictability of hours”
  • “Too Boston-focused”

The Buzz

  • “Boston Powerhouse”
  • “Good work-life balance”
  • “Pretentious”
  • “Snobby”

About Ropes & Gray LLP

Founded in 1865, Ropes & Gray has expanded in every measurable way in the 21st century, acquiring smaller boutique firms in the States while claiming new turf in Asia and Europe. Known for its corporate work, the firm has adapted to law's accelerated globalization by bolstering practice areas such as intellectual property, litigation, life sciences, and healthcare.

Branching Out from Beantown

John Codman Ropes and John Chipman Gray, a couple of Harvard Law School grads, founded the firm in 1865 shortly after the end of the Civil War. While building the firm into one of the largest and most powerful in Massachusetts, the "John Cs" simultaneously carved out continued independent success: Ropes served as an assistant U.S. Attorney and became a leading military historian, while Gray was a highly influential professor at Harvard Law School for four decades.

The 21st-century Ropes & Gray, however, is a wholly different incarnation-literally and figuratively-of the Boston blue-blood firm that existed well into the latter half of the 1900s. Global expansion has defined the firm's recent years, as it serves a client base across industries including private equity, asset management, technology, health care and life sciences. Ropes & Gray now counts more attorneys outside of Boston than in it, with particularly strong growth in the world's financial capitals of New York and London. The firm is now one of the 20 largest in New York with more than 300 lawyers, and it has more than 130 in London.

Continuing to expand the firm's geographic reach, Ropes & Gray opened six offices between 2007 and 2013, in Chicago, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul. The latter four served to expand the private equity practice considerably, accommodating the needs of clients increasingly looking to invest in Asian markets. There was expansion on the home front as well, as the Boston office relocated to the top floors of Prudential Tower. Ropes' share of the "Pru" (as it is affectionately known) amounts to more than 400,000 square feet (about eight football fields) and is LEED certified.

From Microchips to Private Equity

In recent years, Ropes & Gray's intellectual property litigation group has tried cases ranging from touch-screens for video games to patents covering blood glucose meters, high-performance computer chips, and computer-driven annuities, and has been recognized by leading publications for its achievements.

The firm's general litigation practice has also been on a roll recently, helping win a big jury trial for Goldman Sachs in a case closely watched by the media, and representing a number of clients in several high-profile data breach cases, including The Home Depot, Target, Wyndham Hotels and Neiman Marcus. The firm's appellate group argued five recent cases before the Supreme Court, including a seminal case for the mutual funds industry and the landmark marriage equality case in 2015. That practice has been bolstered in recent years by a strong government enforcement group, which has made a name for itself with high-profile anti-corruption work in China, including leading an internal investigation for GlaxoSmithKline.  The firm also secured a favorable resolution in the prosecution of former BP engineer Kurt Mix relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with the government dropping all obstruction of justice charges against him.

As Ropes' litigation practices boom, its private equity practice continues to push forward. Led by partner and firm chairman Brad Malt-who founded the firm's private equity group-Ropes & Gray has built up a strong leveraged buyout practice, in addition to impressive financial services and asset management practices. The firm is counsel for more than 1,000 mutual funds (or their directors). Ropes & Gray is also among the top firms in structuring IPOs, representing many of the leading underwriters. The firm's private equity clients include many of the world's largest private equity firms, including Audax Group, Bain Capital, Berkshire Partners, KarpReilly, HIG Capital, TPG Capital, Thomas H. Lee Partners, TSG Consumer Partners, Silver Lake Partners, and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

Pro Bono Pros

In addition to the impressive variety of its practices, Ropes & Gray is devoted to carrying on its tradition of pro bono work and community service. Associates and partners work in a range of areas-including child abduction cases, housing and homelessness, voting rights, nonprofit incorporation and asylum-and for a variety of organizations-such as Immigration Equality, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Accion, Human Rights First and Veterans Consortium. High-impact opportunities from the past year included the firm's role arguing for marriage equality at the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, and the historic resolution of a multi-year class action litigation that sparked meaningful prison reform at New York City's Rikers Island jails. Associates tempted by a life of public service can take a break from the corporate grind with the District Attorney's Office Assistant DA Program, through which Ropes associates work as special assistant district attorneys for six months, or a six-month externship in the housing unit of a legal services agency.

IN THE NEWS

May 2016
Undefeated

Ropes & Gray prevailed at the Federal Circuit in a patent infringement suit brought against Samsung Electronics by Affinity Labs of Texas. With this victory for Samsung, Ropes & Gray's record improved to 11-0 on Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions that have been affirmed on appeal to the Federal Circuit. The firm also has a 30-0 record before the PTAB in final written decisions that have, collectively, invalidated every claim ruled on by the Board.

January 2016
Side Effects May Include $20 Billion in Revenue

Ropes & Gray advised Shire plc in its agreement with Baxalta Inc. to combine the two companies for an aggregate consideration of approximately $32 billion in the largest takeover of 2016 thus far. With Baxalta, Shire's rare disease platform is projected to reach more than 100 countries and drive revenue to more than $20 billion by 2020.

December 2015
Data Breach Cleanup

When the FTC sued Wyndham Hotels following multiple high-profile data breaches in the first case to allege that a company's data security practices violated Section 5 of the FTC Act, Wyndham turned to Ropes & Gray's leading privacy & data security team for counsel. The consent order entered in late 2015 contained no admission of liability and imposed narrower obligations on Wyndham than traditionally obtained by the FTC.

October 2015
Rikers Rights

Ropes & Gray reached a landmark resolution in Nunez v. City of New York, a class action suit in the S.D.N.Y. that challenged the unconstitutional use of excessive force against inmates at Rikers Island. The innovative settlement called for new use of force policies and training protocols, improved recruitment screening, installation of thousands of new surveillance cameras, a pilot program for staff body cameras, and a court-appointed Monitor.

September 2015
Buyout Gangnam Style

A consortium led by private equity firm MBK Partners acquired Homeplus, the South Korean unit of British supermarket chain Tesco plc, in a cross-border transaction valued at appx. $6 billion-one of the largest Asia Pacific private equity transactions of 2015 and the largest buyout ever in South Korea. Ropes & Gray advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on its 20% stake acquisition in Homeplus and the financing aspects of the CPPIB stake, and also represented China Investment Corporation, a second co-investor.

June 2015
Equal Dignity Under the Law

In a case that many have called one of the preeminent civil rights decisions of our generation, Ropes & Gray partner Doug Hallward-Driemeier, together with Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at GLAD, argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the petitioners in Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the petitioners, holding that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples validly performed out of state. 

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Ropes & Gray LLP

Prudential Tower
800 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199-3600
Phone: (617) 951-7000

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: R. Bradford Malt
  • Managing Partner: David C. Chapin
  • Hiring Partner: Richard D. Batchelder, Jr.
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 1,246

  • Base Salary
    All U.S. offices
    1st year: $180,000
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    140 out of 140 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Anti-Corruption • Antitrust • Appellate Litigation • Asset Management • Banking • Bankruptcy & Business Restructuring • Biotechnology • Business & Securities Litigation • Capital Markets • Colleges & Universities • Corporate • Debt Financing • Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits • Financial Services • Government Enforcement • Government Relations & Regulatory • Health Care • Hedge Funds • Intellectual Property Rights Management • Intellectual Property Litigation • Intellectual Property Transactions • International • Investment Management • Labor & Employment • Life Sciences • Litigation • Mergers & Acquisitions • Privacy & Data Security • Private Client Group • Private Equity • Private Investment Funds • Public Finance • Real Estate Investments & Transactions • Securities & Futures Enforcement • Securities & Public Companies • Social Media • Sovereign Investment Group • Special Situations • Sports • Tax & Benefits • Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Major Office Locations

  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo
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