Ropes & Gray
|No. of offices||11|
|No. of attorneys||~1,400|
|Major practice areas|
|Revenue||$1.9 billion (2020)|
|Founder||John Codman Ropes |
John Chipman Gray
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Ropes & Gray LLP is a global law firm with 11 offices located in the United States, Asia and Europe. The firm has more than 1,400 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 & acquisitions, intellectual property, complex business litigation, securities litigation, health care, life sciences, bankruptcy and business restructuring, government enforcement and white collar crime, privacy & data security, investment management, hedge funds, antitrust, employee benefits, tax, and real estate. The firm is active in several industries, including private equity, life sciences, health care, asset management, TMT (technology, media & telecommunications) and retail.
The firm was founded in 1865 by two Harvard Law School graduates, John Codman Ropes and John Chipman Gray. In 1878, William Loring, also a Harvard graduate, joined the firm, and it became "Ropes, Gray and Loring" until Loring's departure in 1899, when he was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. During that period, the firm represented the New York and New England Railroad.
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 offices in Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.
Ropes & Gray lawyers have advised on major 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 multibillion-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;
- Bain Capital’s acquisition of Bellsystem24
- TPG Capital and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board’s $5.2 billion acquisition of IMS Health Inc., a provider of market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and health care industries
- Genzyme Corporation’s $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. The transaction was recognized as a "Deal of Distinction" by the Licensing Executives Society in September 2010
- Bain Capital’s 2018 sale by Toshiba Corp. of its semiconductor business to a group that included Apple, Seagate, Kingston, Hoya, Dell Technologies and SK Hynix. The transaction was Asia’s largest leveraged buyout and private equity deal ever, and was valued at approximately $18 billion
Ropes & Gray lawyers have litigated high-profile cases, including:
- Defending physicians’ First Amendment rights in Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida. The case concerned a Florida law banning doctors from inquiring about patients’ gun ownership.
- Leading a 10-month independent investigation for the U.S. Olympic Committee into sexual abuses by former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar.
- Representing Willkie Farr & Gallagher (then) co-chairman Gordon Caplan, JD, who was arrested in March 2019 as a parent participant in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal. Caplan is represented by firm partners Joshua Levy, co-chairman of global litigation and enforcement practice, and Michael McGovern, co-chairman of government enforcement practice. A guilty plea deal in United States v. Gordon Caplan was filed by United States Attorney Andrew Lelling on March 27, 2019. An Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting the case, Leslie Wright, is a Ropes & Gray alumna.
- 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.
- Defending former BP engineer Kurt Mix against obstruction of justice charges related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Ropes & Gray attorneys provide public service in the form of pro bono legal work, community service and charitable donations. Notable pro bono cases include:
- Nunez v. City of New York, a lawsuit seeking to end inmate abuse at Rikers Island in New York City.
- Exonerating John Huffington, who was imprisoned for 32 years for a 1981 double murder that he did not commit, in State of Maryland v. Huffington.
Diversity and inclusion
- The firm’s Roscoe Trimmier Jr. Diversity Scholarship offers $25,000 and a summer associate position to second-year law students who are members of populations historically underrepresented in the legal profession.
- Received five Law360 “Practice Group of the Year” awards for private equity, fund formation, securitizations, health care and white collar in 2019.
Notable current and former attorneys
- Eleanor D. Acheson (Associate 1974-1983, Partner, 1983-1993) – Vice president and general counsel of Amtrak. Former Assistant Attorney General of the United States.
- Mark Barnes (Partner) – Activist and academic, former Chief Research Compliance Officer, Harvard University.
- Marta Belcher (Attorney) - Pioneer in the area of blockchain law.
- Yochai Benkler (Associate, 1994-1995) – Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies, Harvard Law School.
- Janis M. Berry (Partner, 1986-1997) – Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
- Stephen L. Braga (former Partner) – Criminal defense attorney known for his successful pro bono representation of Martin Tankleff.
- Levin H. Campbell - Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
- 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.
- George S. Hawkins, General Manager of the DC Water and Sewer Authority.
- Olin M. Jeffords – (Associate, 1919-1921) – Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court,
- Julie Jones (Partner) - Appointed chair-elect of Ropes & Gray in 2017, on assuming the chair in January 2020, is the first woman to hold that position.
- Henry Cabot Lodge – (Associate, 1875-1880) – American statesman and 1st U.S. Senate Majority Leader.
- George H. Lyman (Associate) – chairman of the Massachusetts Republican state committee and collector of customs for the port of Boston.
- R. Bradford Malt (Chairman, 2004–2019)- Served as sole trustee of the Romney blind trusts during Mitt Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts and during his two presidential runs.
- Roger A. Moore (Partner, 1967-1990) – Former Chairman of the Board, National Review; Chief Legal Advisor, Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign; 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) – Former First Lady of Massachusetts.
- John Palfrey (Associate, 2001-2002) –– President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
- 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).
- John Richardson (1911–1970s) – Specialized in corporate and trustee work and was responsible for hiring young lawyers to join the firm. Political supporter of Herbert Hoover and Republican National Committeeman from Massachusetts from 1932 to 1936.
- Clayton Spencer (Partner, 1986-1989) - president of Bates College
- Christopher Taylor (Associate) Mayor of Ann Arbor since 2014.
- 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.
- "AKHIL SETHI". Ropes & Gray. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
- "Ropes & Gray". Law.com. March 13, 2020.
- "William Caleb Loring, Associate Justice memorial, 277 Mass. 589 (1931)". Government of Massachusetts. 1931. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
- "Justice Loring Dies In Home At Age of 79", Fitchburg Sentinel (September 8, 1930), p. 1, 5.
- "Company Briefs". The New York Times. May 3, 2003. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
- S, Brenda; November 09, burg |; AM, 2004 at 12:00. "Fish & Neave to Combine with Ropes & Gray". Law.com. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
- Michael Smith and Stephen Aldred (August 21, 2011). "Bain snaps up Australian tech firm MYOB for $1.3 billion". Reuters.
- "Nasdaq". Nasdaq. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "IP Watchdog, Sept. 30, 2010". Ipwatchdog.com. September 30, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Ropes & Gray Can Breathe Easy With Toshiba Deal Sealed". Law360. August 17, 2018.
- "Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Fla". Casetext. February 16, 2017.
- "Gawker Turns To Tireless Ropes & Gray Atty For Ch. 11 Rescue". Law360. June 10, 2016.
- "Top U.S.O.C. Officials Failed to Act on Nassar Allegations, Report Says". The New York Times. December 10, 2018.
- dal-probe/ "Caplan's Plea Deal With Prosecutors Calls for Prison Time", by Jack Newsham, The American Lawyer, April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- Andrew E. Lelling , U.S. Department of Justice, District of Massachusetts,March 27, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Meet the Big Law Alums Prosecuting the College Admissions Scandal", by Mike Scarcella and Nate Robson, March 13, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Jones et. al. v. Harris Associates L.P." (PDF). Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Charges Dropped Against Deepwater Horizon Engineer". The Maritime Executive. November 10, 2015.
- "Meet the lawyers who will argue the gay marriage case". CNN. April 27, 2015.
- "Judge Approves Settlement of Suit on Rikers Island Brutality". The New York Times. October 21, 2015.
- "John Huffington enters Alford plea in 1981 Harford double-murder case, likely to go free". The Baltimore Sun. November 9, 2017.
- "In the News". Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. August 17, 2015.
- "Law360 Names Practice Groups Of The Year". Law360. January 12, 2020.