Ropes & Gray

As part of our celebration for our 25 year sponsor firms, BBA Week will be running a series of one on one interviews with Managing Partners of each of our 25 year sponsors. This week, BBA Week spoke with Ropes & Gray's Managing Partner John T. Montgomery  to learn about the evolution of the firm in the past 25 years. Here's what he had to say"

"Ropes & Gray is proud to have been a sponsor of the Boston Bar Association for the past 25 years. During that time, we have evolved from a respected regional firm to a prominent national firm to a truly international organization, helping clients around the world address their most important matters.  We appreciate this opportunity to reflect on the growth and success we have experienced during our time as a BBA sponsor firm."

What are the most significant changes your firm has seen in the past 25 years?

From the beginning, client service has been our top priority.  Expanding client interests around the United States and abroad have helped us grow from two offices in 1987 to ten today, including the addition of four international locations (London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo) in just the last five years as well as a planned opening in Seoul later this year.  Though we are proud of our Boston heritage, today we have more than 1,100 lawyers spanning 17 time zones ready to serve clients with leading corporate practices such as private equity, M&A, finance, investment management, life sciences and health care; and premier litigation practices concentrating on complex business, securities, government enforcement and intellectual property matters. 

What accomplishments in the past 25 years is your firm most proud of?

Whether we are advising established corporations or promising startups, clients trust us to lead them throughout every stage of their life cycles.  To take a few recent examples:

• Bain Capital turned to us to advise on its acquisitions of Domino’s Pizza, Gymboree and the Skylark restaurant chain in Japan.
• Sponsors including Bain relied on us in their $26 billion acquisition of Clear Channel. 
• We represented TPG in its acquisition of J. Crew. 
• Online game developer Zynga sought our advice in advance of its much anticipated initial public offering. 
• In London, we have advised Liberty Group and its group of companies on multiple high yield offerings using innovative structures. 
• Genzyme Corp. turned to us in its $20.1 billion acquisition by Sanofi-Aventis. 
Our clients have had numerous successes in watershed litigation and intellectual property matters as well.
• The landmark Jones v Harris U.S. Supreme Court case, which established the standard governing claims related to mutual fund fees, was a major victory for our client and the mutual funds industry as a whole. 
• Stryker Biotech secured an important win when the government agreed to dismiss all felony charges in exchange for a fine and a misdemeanor plea.
• A  former in-house lawyer for GlaxoSmithKline facing a government inquiry into GSK’s marketing practices was acquitted of all charges, including obstruction of justice and false statements to the FDA. 
• Apple came to Ropes & Gray to help write the hardware patents for the iPhone, and we continue to play a pivotal role in the ongoing handset technology wars on behalf of Motorola.

Public service has been an integral part of our culture that traces back to the origins of the firm.  Clients facing immigration and asylum matters, family law and domestic violence cases, and  health care, housing and disability issues turn to us for life-changing guidance and representation. The innovative plea arrangement our lawyers helped broker attracted the national spotlight when recently it led to freedom for the West Memphis Three, a trio of wrongly convicted men, including one facing the death penalty. We are involved in voter rights’ cases in Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia, and have begun partnering with clients on pro bono projects in the health sector.  The ABA Business Law Section recognized our work on behalf of small businesses with the National Public Service Award, and The National Law Journal named Ropes & Gray to its annual pro bono “hot list” in 2012.

Cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace and striking a practical work-life balance are also ingrained in the culture at Ropes & Gray.  Associates who need to adjust their schedules to meet family, health and other needs while pursuing their career goals can enroll in our popular Impact program.  And those who want to explore new and exciting cities around the world are encouraged to partake in our Global Opportunities program, which allows them to work in any number of our other offices around the United States and around the world.  For the last three years, Vault’s associate survey ranked Ropes & Gray as one of the top two best law firms to work for, and for the past four years the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index has given us a perfect 100 percent score on benefits and workplace issues for LGBT employees.

As Ropes & Gray has grown over the last quarter century, we have remained true to the values that have made the firm strong.  We have built on our tradition of uncompromising client service by establishing offices wherever our clients need us, across the country and around the globe. At the same time, we have remained mindful of our responsibility for public service, which engages us in the communities we serve and puts our legal knowledge to use in different and valuable ways, for the benefit of those we help and our lawyers alike. Finally, we have honored our longstanding commitment to maintaining a culturally rich and diverse workplace, one that enables us to bring a wide range of perspectives to our work for clients and creates an interesting and inspiring environment for our team. Just as these values have historically served Ropes & Gray well, we expect them to give us a solid foundation for meeting the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.