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Overview

Introduction

A V20 law firm, Ropes & Gray has a seat at the table of the most elite law firms. The firm is known for its private equity chops, as well as its overall strength across legal practice areas. Training and mentoring are key to the firm’s collaborative culture, which has no room for egos. With 11 offices across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Ropes & Gray is an international firm that prides itself in handling cutting-edge work. A regular atop legal industry rankings, the firm is adept at assisting clients in complex, hig...

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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No. of Partners Named (2020)


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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


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No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

Base Salary (2021)...

Vault Verdict

Enthusiasm and a collaborative mindset will go a long way in interviews with Ropes & Gray, but—of course—a firm of its caliber also focuses on grades, prior work experience, and activities like journal. Diversity is a priority in hiring, and in addition to providing interviewers with anti-bias training, the firm has also adopted behavioral interview questions and the use of consistent questions across candidates. Associates describe the firm’s atmosphere as professional and pleasant—associates and partners get along, and partners are both approachable and interested in getting to know associates. These positive relationships lay the foundation for the firm’s culture of teaching—training is robust and useful, and partners are eager to provide feedback and mentorship. Ropes ...

Firm's Response

Ropes & Gray has built a reputation for outstanding work, a pragmatic approach, and impeccable service and ethics. Approximately 1,400 attorneys in the United States, Europe, and Asia collaborate seamlessly to provide the high-quality representation and uncompromising service that have made us a premier global law firm.

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About the Firm

 

With 11 offices across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Ropes & Gray is an international firm that prides itself in handling cutting-edge work. A regular atop legal industry rankings, the firm is adept at assisting clients in complex, highly regulated industries like asset management, health care, life sciences, private equity, and technology.

A Tale of Two Harvard Grads

John Codman Ropes and John Chipman Gray, a couple of Harvard Law School grads, founded the firm in Boston in 1865. The Great Depression saw the firm develop its bankruptcy practice, the New Deal sparked the firm’s labor practice, and the creation of the SEC added financial reports to its services. By the 1960s, the firm had grown to nearly 75 attorneys. Today, the firm is home to more than 1...

Associate Reviews


  • Ropes has a collegial culture with no sharp elbows. Partners and associates are collaborative and always willing to help across matters. Associates get along well and often socialize outside the office.”
  • Professional, courteous, collaborative, and pleasant. My practice group has (under normal circumstances) a weekly tequila happy hour where we gather, play put-put outside the partners' offices, and mingle at the end of the week. Very relaxed and casual, and folks from other groups drop by from time to time.”
  • We have a great teaching culture, where even in the work-from-home environment, senior associates and partners truly care about helping [you] understand transactions and new topics.”
  • Most people at the firm are incredibly kind and thoughtful. They try to organize social activities and other ways for us to interact as a firm on different levels. Lawyers and staff interact very well together. The day-to-day atmosphere is very pleasant.”
  • Smart lawyers who you don't mind being trapped in an elevator with.”
  • Overall great partner/associate relationships founded on mutual respect. Generally speaking, the partners take time to check in on associates and create opportunities for them to develop and succeed in their careers (but naturally, some Individual partners are better at this than others). I have no complaints with any partner I've ever worked with at Ropes.
  • The firm holds townhalls every month or so that help with transparency but not everything is explained to the entire firm in great detail. Reviews, however, are pretty transparent. They take place twice a year, and you can request your file with all of the feedback to review on your own time following the meeting.”
  • Fantastic partner/associate relationships. Partners are accessible and are genuinely interested in their associates. Formal reviews are conducted twice a year, with informal ‘check-ins’ with attorney development partners during non-review quarters. …”
  • The partners I work with have given me a surprising amount of responsibility and client contact. If you prove yourself, they're happy to hand substantive work over to you.”
  • Ropes' 1,900-[hour] billable requirement is reasonable and achievable. There are times where we all work a lot but Ropes puts tons of support in place to make it as manageable as possible.”
  • Ropes & Gray employs a centralized assignment system, ensuring that work is distributed as evenly as possible among associates. This is helpful for ensuring an even stream of new work, and also ensuring that new associates are given a broad range of projects. Associates are still able to indicate the types of projects on which they are interested in working, and assignments appear to reflect this input. The firm's billable-hour expectations are very reasonable and should not be difficult to achieve. There is rarely either too much or too little work in my experience, although workloads vary day-to-day and week-to-week.”
  • Overall, seems to balance out—some weeks feel like too much, other weeks there is almost nothing, but evens out to meet billable requirement. I don't mind having crazy weeks when there are quiet weeks. Work seems evenly distributed and billable requirement is in line with other large firms.”
  • The workload is very heavy right now, but business is good.”
  • I am very satisfied with compensation.
  • We are paid at the top of the market and have a comparatively low billable target. I don't know that anyone could reasonably complain about that.”
  • The firm offers market compensation and has been competitive for special bonuses during the pandemic.”
  • Full bonus has an hours requirement—flexibility was added this past year due to COVID so associates didn't lose out on bonuses.”
  • It is interesting and challenging work that makes long hours worth it.”
  • Work assignments incorporate substantive legal work. On smaller deals, first-year associates have the opportunity to be involved with a variety of the deal process. On larger deals, their work tends to be limited to diligence, deal flow tracking activities/coordination, and similar tasks.”
  • As a third year, I spend most of my time drafting/revising motions [and] supervising contract attorneys in privilege review and have gained extensive interaction with counsel and partners.”
  • I am given substantive work as a junior associate. The more-senior members of my teams trust my work, but they are also great teachers, so I am able to learn a lot through them and through the work I am given.”
  • I am supervising projects and leading client calls and delegating review of materials to junior associates whenever possible.”
  • I started at the firm during COVID and found the remote work ramp up technologically very smooth. I haven't had any major problems getting my computer and other devices to work and tech support has been exceptionally responsive at addressing minor glitches and issues as they arise.”
  • Working remote was already effective prior to COVID-19 and has been fairly seamless as the entire firm shifted to working remotely. The firm offers hard phones for in-home use that function as an office line and a technology budget.”
  • There hasn't been much change in our technology during COVID. We were always expected to be able to work from home, and we have a technology stipend that we can use once every three years or so. It would have been nice to have an additional stipend made available during the pandemic.”
  • Ropes' strong technology before the pandemic definitely helped with the transition to remote working. The firm had to make very few changes because they already had thought about how to make working from home seamless previously.”
  • Aware of the pandemic's potential effects on the mental health of its attorneys and staff, the firm has provided everyone with several free counseling sessions to support those in need. I was one of them and am extremely grateful the heads of the firm were so proactive about this.”
  • The firm has provided many wellness initiatives during the pandemic. There have been opportunities to participate in meditation, yoga, other online classes. There have also been many family-oriented online gatherings—such as a trip behind the scenes at the zoo, family cookie decorating, pumpkin carving, etc. I feel more connected with my colleagues and their children than ever before—and my children have LOVED it !”
  • They do a great job trying to mitigate the stresses of the job. [They] offer wellness classes and encourage everyone to take their time off. The field is stressful—there really is no way around that, but at least the firm tries.”
  • They have virtual yoga, and they divided us into pods so we can check in on each other. I really appreciated all this because I was stranded by myself in the beginning of the pandemic since my family was out of state, so it felt nice when a partner called out of the blue to check in on me.”
  • There are a lot of opportunities for formal trainings at Ropes, but I'm more appreciative of the one-on-one mentoring. In the office, people were always willing to take the time to show you how things were done in their office, and now people are willing to either screen share and show how they would approach a task or sit and talk to you on the phone. With the new class, partners recognized those informal opportunities would not be as strong for incoming associates and tried to organize an informal mentoring session early on.”
  • The training is impressive. Multiple times a month, there are trainings specific to your practice area that touch on all sorts of things we will handle across the broad range of work within the firm. I appreciate these trainings and like that the recordings are saved so they can be referenced again later. Mentoring often takes place through affinity groups, such as the Women's Forum, and naturally through relationships you develop on teams.”
  • The training is extremely robust. Formal trainings, CLEs, and presentations. Just an unimaginable volume of training that you can do if you'd like voluntarily and a great program to get new associates up and running. Even niche groups like mine have strong substantive trainings.”
  • Mentorship at least in my group is fantastic, and from what I've seen the firm is good about it as a whole, including the new diversity mentor program. Formal trainings are plentiful, recorded, and generally excellent.”
  • While very difficult to make partner, many partners at Ropes are "lifers" who have been with the firm their whole careers. Senior [associates] may also transition to roles as counsel or ‘lifelong associates’ and stay with the firm. Client relationships are also very strong and allow associates to move in-house if they wish to.”
  • Ropes has several avenues and promotion to partnership is very realistic and they help mentor you in that process. I also have friends who have taken the non-partner route and Ropes has worked with them to create counsel roles.”
  • Ropes & Gray has positioned me well for whatever the next step is in my career. Most of us cannot become partners, of course, but that is no different than at any other firm. Some senior associates do transition to counsel or career associate roles, and the firm tries to help people find jobs outside the firm when they decide to leave.”
  • Partnership feels available to those who really want it—we have equity-only partnership, which makes it a bit more scarce, but it doesn't feel like an impossible feat. There are career associate and counsel alternatives; it's not an up-or-out type of firm. The exit opportunities are really excellent: A large number of our associates end up going in-house at blue-chip clients or exciting startups, and a lateral move to another prestigious firm is quite common/easy as well.”
  • All attorneys are expected to work at least 20 billable hours each year, and there are generally no limits. Pro bono hours count as billable hours and the firm prides itself on its pro bono work. Pro bono assignments are frequently emailed to all associates across all offices, and informative sessions are given highlighting various ongoing pro bono initiatives.”
  • Pro bono hours count fully towards the billable-hours requirement, and the firm routinely publicly recognizes attorneys for their pro bono work. I received a personal email from the managing partner thanking me for my involvement in a recent pro bono project.”
  • Pro bono hours count as billable hours. I have helped transgender individuals change their legal documents and immigrants receive asylum.”
  • Pro bono opportunities are robust, and pro bono hours count one to one as billable hours. Recent projects include work through the Covid Relief Coalition, supporting small business owners seeking financial assistance. One such project involved helping a small business owner negotiate and execute lease termination agreements with unscrupulous landlords.”
  • The firm does offer billable credit for diversity-related work, and I think it's been tremendously proactive about speaking up and leading on diversity-related issues. There are frequent town halls and panels and communications from the partnership about the firm's commitment to diversity.
  • As an LGBTQ woman, I have felt very supported and seen many support systems in place for both groups, plus overall acceptance and inclusion at the firm.”
  • Ropes generally is a good place to work as a woman and seems to be making significant efforts to support other diverse attorneys. It seems to be the norm for women to take a full six months for maternity leave, and many women attorneys on my team have taken that time and returned to the firm while parenting young children, which makes me think it is possible for me one day.”
  • The firm has initiated mentoring groups for women and minority associates and provides various diversity trainings to help us become more aware of the issues around us. Up to 100 hours of diversity related activities are billable. It is an excellent program.”

Why Work Here


Practicing law at Ropes & Gray puts you at the forefront of the legal and business developments shaping the industries that are transforming our world and creating new opportunities daily. Whether you’re starting or furthering your career, you’ll handle exciting, innovative work for an impressive roster of leading global clients. You’ll also hone your professional skills with a training program regularly recognized as the finest in the industry. Just as important, you’ll enjoy the benefits of our renowned collegial and collaborative culture.

Diversity at Ropes & Gray

"At Ropes & Gray, diversity and inclusion is an essential part of the firm's identity, and its commitment extends over several decades. To advance those efforts in the new decade, in early 2019, the firm hired an experienced Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Kia Scipio, from Fish and Richardson. Kia works collaboratively with the firm's diversity committee and its senior leadership, which includes the policy committee, practice group leaders, leaders of the affinity forums, and the directors of legal recruiting, professional development..."

Getting Hired Here


  • The firm has made efforts to standardize questions asked by the same attorneys—so if you ask to one interviewee you ask to all others—to eliminate potential bias.
  • I think the firm looks for people can bring in a multitude of skills, but prior work experience can help, as well as clerkships. The top law schools are definitely feeder schools as well as local brand name programs, i.e., Fordham in NYC. There is a general program about the types of question to ask and what the most helpful writeups look like. For those going into litigation or restructuring, journal and clerkships are helpful. High grades are definitely important, but the firm values people who are collaborative in nature.”
  • The firm does have training for interviewers, particularly anti-bias training. Historically, the firm has recruited from elite law schools (or accepted top students from Tier 2 schools), but I have noticed an increasing emphasis on building out the associate ranks with laterals willing to commit to a high-demand practice area. Enthusiasm and professionalism are emphasized over concrete substantive knowledge for more junior hires, both those coming directly from law schools and laterals.”
  • The firm is looking for candidates with strong academic credentials that are also kind and thoughtful people to work with. The firm places an emphasis on diversity throughout the hiring process. Within the Boston office, Boston-area law schools tend to make up a large number of the summer associates (e.g., Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern), but the firm hires from top schools nationally for all offices.”
  • Interviewers tend to ask questions designed to demonstrate skill sets and attitude. Candidates can expect some behavioral-type questions (Tell me about a time when...), and questions about substantive legal or academic work reflected on the candidates' resumes.”
  • The firm has moved to asking more situational questions (e.g., ‘Tell me about a time where you challenged your supervisor's idea.’).”
  • What examples can you give of challenges you have overcome professionally? Where do you see yourself in three to five years? What values do you most appreciate in a firm?”
  • If you're a lateral, be prepared to talk about your work experience.”
  • They've done such a great job—everyone has been incredibly kind and warm. They have made me feel right at home.”
  • Starting as a lateral in the middle of a pandemic is no small feat, but Ropes really made an effort to virtually introduce me to everyone to make me feel welcome.”
  • Culture does the work for them. Definitely the firm's biggest asset.”
  • Excellent training and orientation.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Elizabeth Reza

Partner

Ropes & Gray
Rachel D. Phillips

Partner

Ropes & Gray
Minh-Chau Le

Partner

Ropes & Gray
Joan McPhee

Partner

Ropes & Gray
Garrett Charon

Partner

Ropes & Gray

Perks & Benefits