Ropes & Gray
|No. of offices||11|
|No. of attorneys||~1,000|
|Major practice areas||Private equity, M&A, Finance, Investment management, Hedge funds, Life sciences, Health care, Intellectual property, Litigation, Securities litigation, Government enforcement, Privacy & data security, Antitrust, Bankruptcy & restructuring, Tax, Real estate, Labor & employment, Executive compensation & benefits|
Bradford Malt, Chairman David Chapin, Managing PartnerHugh Simons, Chief Operating Officer
|Founder||John Codman Ropes, John Chipman Gray|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Ropes & Gray LLP is a global law firm with eleven offices located in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The firm has over 1,100 lawyers, and professionals worldwide, and its clients include corporations and financial institutions, government agencies, universities, and health care organizations. It was founded in 1865 in Boston, Massachusetts by John Codman Ropes and John Chipman Gray.
The firm's major practice areas include private equity, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, complex business litigation, securities litigation, health care, life sciences, bankruptcy and business restructuring, government enforcement and white collar crime, privacy and data security, investment management, hedge funds, antitrust, employee benefits, tax, and real estate. Ropes & Gray also is recognized as a global leader in several industries, including life sciences, health care, asset management, TMT (technology, media & telecommunications) and retail.
The firm is a leader in intellectual property law; in 2010 the firm received the Chambers USA "Award for Excellence" recognizing it as the top IP firm in the country, and U.S. News & World Report named Ropes & Gray "law firm of the year" for patent litigation for 2014.
The firm was founded in 1865 by two Harvard Law School graduates, John Codman Ropes and John Chipman Gray. In 2003, the firm acquired New York City-based private equity law firm Reboul, MacMurray, Hewitt & Maynard. In 2005, the firm acquired New York-based intellectual property law firm Fish & Neave.
The firm has opened offices since 2007 in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and London. Ropes & Gray’s international practices have been consistently recognized by respected publications and organizations such as Chambers, Legal 500, International Financial Law Review and U.S. News – Best Lawyers.
Chambers Global recognized Ropes & Gray in 24 practices, and the firm’s lawyers received 53 rankings in the 2014 edition of Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Chambers UK recognized 16 lawyers in three Ropes & Gray practice areas, and Chambers Asia-Pacific recognized 13 Ropes & Gray lawyers in 17 practices.
The firm's work in Asia, which focuses on private equity, M&A, life sciences and intellectual property, has already received a great deal of recognition. Ropes & Gray was named "Private Equity Team of the Year" by the International Financial Law Review's 2013 Asia Awards. In 2010, for the second year in a row, Ropes & Gray received the Asian Legal Business “Technology, Media and Telecommunications Deal of the Year” award for Japan, for representing long-term client Bain Capital on its acquisition of Bellsystem24, the leading call center operator in Japan, in the largest buyout by a foreign private equity firm in Japan in nearly two years. Asian Legal Business also honored the firm's Hong Kong-based lawyers for their role in China's “M&A Deal of the Year,” GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd.’s $3.4 billion acquisition of Jiangsu Zhongneng. The firm also was recognized for having one of the leading patent firms in Japan by both Managing IP and Asia IP magazines.
Ropes & Gray is highly ranked in several publications, including The Financial Times, Chambers and Partners, and The American Lawyer. For three consecutive years, 2011 through 2013, Ropes & Gray was named to The American Lawyer’s “A-List” ranking of 20 top law firms based on attorney diversity, pro bono work, associate satisfaction and firm performance. In 2013, it was ranked 27th in the AmLaw 100, which ranks firms by gross revenue.
U.S. News / Best Lawyers named Ropes & Gray "Law Firm of the Year" for hedge funds for 2011-12. The firm also was among the 20 U.S. law firms with the most top-tier national rankings in the "Best Law Firms" survey. The firm was ranked in the first tier nationally in 27 areas, including banking and finance, biotechnology, corporate, general commercial litigation, health care, M&A, mutual funds, patent litigation, private equity, real estate, securities litigation, and tax, among others.
In 2013, Law360 named Ropes & Gray one of the five practice groups of the year for private equity, health law, securities litigation and white collar crime.
Directors & Boards magazine named Ropes & Gray one of the top 10 U.S. law firms in dealing with general corporate governance issues in its 2009 survey of "Top Corporate Governance Law Firms." Ropes & Gray was named one of the top five securities litigation firms in the United States by Law360 in 2010, 2011 and 2013. The firm also was named one of 14 "standout" securities litigation firms in a BTI Consulting Group survey of 240 corporate counsel nationwide in 2010.
The Financial Times, in the first U.S. edition of its "Innovative Lawyers" report in December 2010, highly commended Ropes & Gray for work in automotive restructuring, citing the firm's role in representing the main credit holders in the Chapter 11 case of Plastech, the largest minority-owned auto supplier in Michigan. The firm also was commended in the litigation category for two cases: advising former senior officers of Freddie Mac in numerous securities fraud class actions and derivative actions, and its lawyers' successful arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Harris, the seminal case on mutual funds advisor fees.
In the annual Chambers USA “Award for Excellence” honoring outstanding firms that demonstrate their pre-eminence in key practice areas, Ropes & Gray was recognized as the leading U.S. law firm for intellectual property (2010) and investment funds (2009). Ropes & Gray was named a finalist for the top investment funds practice and the top healthcare practice in the U.S. in 2013.
In the 2013 Chambers USA, Ropes & Gray attorneys were recognized with 121 rankings across 43 areas of law. The firm also had 13 practice areas ranked in the top band, including banking & finance, bankruptcy/restructuring, corporate/M&A, employee benefits & executive compensation, health care, hedge & mutual funds, labor & employment, litigation: general commercial, private equity: buyouts, private equity: fund formation, tax, investment funds: registered funds, and life sciences.
Ropes & Gray has ranked among the top two law firms to work for several years. In 2014, Vault ranked Ropes & Gray the #2 Best Law Firm to Work For, #2 Best Law Firm for Overall Diversity, #1 in Formal Training, #2 in Informal Training, #3 in Associate/Partner Relations, #3 in Satisfaction, #3 in LGBT Diversity, #5 in Diversity for Women and #3 in Diversity for Minorities. The firm also earned the top rating of 100 percent in the 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. It was the sixth year in a row the firm has received the honor in recognition for its benefits and protections for LGBT employees.
In contrast to its diversity rankings, as reported by The American Lawyer, John Ray, a former African-American associate of the firm's litigation department, filed suit against the firm in 2011, alleging racial discrimination among other claims. His discrimination claim at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was rejected, but the EEOC subsequently found that “evidence supports a finding that Respondent retaliated against [Ray] for filing his charge with the EEOC.” Also in contrast to Ropes and Gray's diversity rankings, Patricia Martone, a former intellectual property partner and co-head of Ropes and Gray’s international group, sued Ropes & Gray in 2011 for discrimination on the basis of age and sex, retaliation, and interference with protected retirement benefits in violation of ERISA.
The firm ranked #5 in The American Lawyer’s survey of midlevel associate satisfaction among AmLaw 100 firms in 2013 and was recognized by Asian Legal Business as an “Employer of Choice” in Hong Kong for 2012 as well as in Japan for 2011.
In 2014, Ropes & Gray was named the "Best Mentoring Program" by the Chambers Women in Law Awards. In addition, business & securities litigation partner Jane Willis was recognized as a finalist for the "Outstanding Contribution to Gender Diversity (Private Practice)" category.
The firm's lawyers argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, representing Harris Associates, in a seminal case for the mutual funds industry. In March 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Jones v. Harris Associates, which definitively established the standard governing claims of excessive mutual fund fees under § 36(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Ropes & Gray lawyers have advised on notable M&A transactions, including:
- The acquisition by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee and Bain Capital of Clear Channel Communications, for $26 billion;
- Bain Capital's and The Blackstone Group's acquisition of The Weather Channel, in a multi-billion dollar deal;
- The sale of the Warner Music Group to Access Industries by private equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee, for $3.3 billion;
- Genzyme's acquisition by Sanofi-Aventis, for $20.1 billion;
- NSTAR’s merger with Northeast Utilities, for $7.1 billion;
- China Everbright’s acquisition of Focus Media, for $3.7 billion;
- TPG Capital's acquisition of J.Crew, for $3 billion;
- A private equity group's acquisition of Dunkin' Donuts, for $2.4 billion;
- Berkshire Partners acquisition of Lightower Fiber Networks and Sidera Networks, for $2 billion;
- The Bare Escentuals merger with Shiseido of Japan, a $1.7 billion deal;
- Bain Capital's acquisition of MYOB, Australia's largest financial software developer.
In 2009, Ropes & Gray advised on three of the largest leveraged acquisitions of the year, on three continents. The firm advised long-term client Bain Capital on its acquisition of Bellsystem24 in the largest buyout by a foreign private equity firm in Japan in nearly two years. It also represented TPG Capital and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board in their $5.2 billion acquisition of IMS Health Inc., a leading provider of market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. And the firm worked on Liberty Global Inc.'s 2.6 billion Euro high yield offering to finance the acquisition of Unity Media, a German-based provider of broadband Internet, telephone, and digital TV.
The firm also represented Genzyme Corporation on a transaction that was recognized as a "Deal of Distinction" by the Licensing Executives Society in September 2010. Ropes & Gray advised Genzyme Corporation on a complex $2.9 billion deal with Bayer Schering Pharma AG that expanded Genzyme’s oncology portfolio by giving the company rights to marketed cancer drugs and control of a program in multiple sclerosis.
Pro bono activity
In 2013, Ropes & Gray lawyers devoted nearly 97,000 hours of free legal services to pro bono clients, ranging from transactional work for nonprofits to cases for low-income individuals referred by not-for-profit legal service providers. The firm and its lawyers were recognized in 2013 for pro bono work in the areas of LGBT-based and political asylum, voting rights, preserving housing for low-income seniors, and an innovative partnership between legal and medical advocates.
Ropes & Gray partner Stephen Braga represented Arkansas death row inmate Damien Echols on a pro bono basis in the high-profile "West Memphis Three" case. Echols and two other teenagers, who have maintained their innocence, were convicted of murder in 1993, and Echols was sentenced to death. In 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted them a new hearing because of new DNA evidence that suggested the three men were not at the scene of the crime. Before the hearing, scheduled for December 2011, however, Braga and other attorneys negotiated a deal between the defendants and prosecutors, allowing the men to go free using what is known as an Alford plea, in which the men maintained their innocence but acknowledged that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. On August 19, 2011, the three men were released from prison. The case, and Ropes & Gray's Braga, were featured on a segment of the CBS news show "48 Hours." The National Law Journal named Ropes & Gray to its 2012 "Pro Bono Hot List" in recognition of Braga's work on the West Memphis Three case.
In 2011, Ropes & Gray, led by partners Bruce Manheim and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, represented national medical organizations in a lawsuit challenging a new Florida law that restricts doctors from asking patients about guns in their homes. In the lawsuit, nicknamed "Docs v. Glocks," the physicians' groups argued that the law restricted their free-speech rights, and on September 14, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke granted their motion to block the law.
The Medical Legal Partnership in Boston honored Ropes & Gray in recognition of work at Dorchester House. In collaboration with Dorchester House, Ropes & Gray established a national model for promoting health through preventative legal services in community-based health and social services centers. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR), which works to secure safety and freedom for asylum-seekers who have fled from persecution throughout the world, recognized a Ropes & Gray lawyer for her work for Iraqi asylum-seekers. The Lawyers’ Committee, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan legal organization that provides pro bono legal representation to victims of discrimination based on race or national origin, honored Ropes & Gray for providing workshops and clinics for emerging businesses in an economically disadvantaged area of Massachusetts.
In 2012, Ropes & Gray received the Law Firm Pro Bono Award from the D.C. Bar in recognition of pro bono work completed by Washington, D.C. attorneys and staff.
In 2010, 2011 and 2013, Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive individuals, presented Ropes & Gray with the Safe Haven Award.
In 2014, Ropes & Gray, on behalf of two survivors of child sex trafficking, filed a lawsuit against Backpage.com in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The website is a major hub of advertisements for illegal commercial sex in the United States. Ropes & Gray described the plaintiffs as follows: "The first plaintiff, referred to in the court papers as Jane Doe No. 1, was a victim of sex trafficking in 2012 and 2013 when she was age 15 and 16. She was sold for sex more than 1,000 times over an 18-month period at locations in greater Boston and in Rhode Island. The second plaintiff, Jane Doe No. 2, was trafficked at age 15 in various locations in Massachusetts between 2010 and 2012." 
Matthew Vincent, a former partner at Ropes & Gray, resigned from the practice of law after disclosing to the Board of Bar Overseers that he had an ownership interest in a research company, The IP Resource Company, that billed firm clients for services without explaining his link to the company to those clients.
Arthur Cutillo and Brien Santarlas, formerly employed as lawyers at Ropes & Gray, were sentenced in 2011 for violation of insider trading laws, for giving information on pending mergers to stock traders in exchange for cash.
Notable current and former attorneys
- Mark Barnes (Partner) – Activist and academic, former Chief Research Compliance Officer, Harvard University.
- Yochai Benkler (Associate, 1994-1995) – Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies, Harvard Law School.
- Stephen L. Braga (Partner) – Criminal defense attorney known for his successful pro bono representation of Martin Tankleff.
- Robert C. Clark (Associate, 1972-1974) – Former Dean of the Faculty of Law (1989-2003), and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor (2003–present), Harvard University.
- Archibald Cox (Associate, 1938-1945) – U.S. Solicitor General under President John F. Kennedy; first special prosecutor for the Watergate scandal.
- Henry Cabot Lodge – (Associate, 1875-1880) – American statesman and 1st U.S. Senate Majority Leader.
- Olin M. Jeffords – (Associate, 1919-1921) – Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, father of Senator Jim Jeffords.
- Roger A. Moore (Partner, 1967-1990) – Former Chairman of the Board, National Review; Chief Legal Advisor, presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater; general counsel of the Republican National Committee.
- Ruth O'Brien (Partner, retired 1996) – Second female partner; mother of Conan O'Brien.
- Diane Bemus Patrick (Partner) – First Lady of Massachusetts.
- John Palfrey (Associate, 2001-2002) – Co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, vice dean for library and information resources, and a tenured professor at Harvard Law School.
- Elliot Richardson (Associate, 1949-1953, 1955-1957; Partner, 1961-1965) – Former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1970-1973); U.S. Secretary of Defense (1973); U.S. Attorney General (1973); United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (1975-1976); and U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1976-1977).
- James Vorenberg (Associate, 1954 – 1960; Partner, 1960-1962) – Former Dean of the Faculty of Law, Harvard University (1981-1989).
- Jane Willis (Partner) - Part of the MIT Blackjack Team later fictionalized in Bringing Down the House.
- "Ropes & Gray Accolades & Honors". Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "Chambers Global 2014". Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- "Chambers UK 2014". Retrieved April 23, 2014.
- "Chambers Asia-Pacific 2014". Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "IFLR 2013 Asia Awards (subscription required)". Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "A-List 2013". The American Lawyer. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- "The AmLaw 100". Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "U.S. News - Best Lawyers - Ropes & Gray LLP". Bestlawfirms.usnews.com. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Ropes & Gray LLP: News & Publications: Ropes & Gray Cited as "Firm of the Year" for Health Law (including Life Sciences), Private Equity, Securities Litigation, White Collar Crime". Ropesgray.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- Law360, January 7, 2011.
- "Ropes & Gray Named a 'Standout' Firm for Securities Litigation Nationally", September 2010. Ropes & Gray website.
- "Financial Times". Ft.com. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Chambers Award for Excellence 2010" (PDF). Chambers and Partners. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "Chambers Award for Excellence 2009" (PDF). Chambers and Partners.
- "Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2013". Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2013". Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "2014 Vault Survey". Vault Guide. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "2014 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index" (PDF). Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "Alleging Racial Bias, Former Ropes & Gray Associate Sues Firm", August 3, 2011. The American Lawyer.
- "(Potential) Lawsuit of the Day: Another Discrimination Claim Against Ropes & Gray". Abovethelaw.com. May 13, 2011.
- "Ropes & Gray Sued for Age and Sex Discrimination By Former Partner", March 25, 2011. Above the Law.
- "AmLaw Midlevel Associates Survey". The American Lawyer. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "ALB Employer of Choice 2012". Asian Legal Business. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "ALB Employer of Choice Japan 2011" (PDF). Asian Legal Business. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "Chambers Women in Law Awards 2014". Chambers. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "Jones et. al. v. Harris Associates L.P." (PDF). Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Nasdaq". Nasdaq. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Tirrell, Meg; Kelly, Jason; Saitto, Serena, "IMS to Sell Itself to TPG and CPP for $5.2 Billion", Bloomberg, November 5, 2009
- Smith, Claire Coe, "Recession sentences law firms to a period of change", Financial News, Jan 25, 2010
- "IP Watchdog, Sept. 30, 2010". Ipwatchdog.com. September 30, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Randazzo, Sara (August 23, 2011). "The American Lawyer, Aug. 22, 2011". Law.com. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "CBS "48 Hours"". Cbsnews.com. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "National Law Journal, January 2, 2010".
- Caputo, Marc (September 14, 2011). "Miami Herald, Sept. 14, 2011". Miamiherald.com. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Boston Globe, May 10, 2010". Boston.com. May 10, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Safe Haven Awards". Immigration Equality. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Ropes & Gray Litigation Team Files Federal Lawsuit Against Backpage.com’s Online Child Sex Trade, October 17, 2014 press release
- "Former selectman Vincent resigns right to practice law". The Georgetown Record. Wickedlocal.com. October 1, 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Ex-Ropes & Gray Lawyer Gets 6 Months in Goffer Tipping Case", Dec 1, 2011. Bloomberg