Ropes & Gray Names 24 New Partners

October 25, 2021

Global law firm Ropes & Gray announced today that 24 attorneys have been named partners of the firm, effective November 1.

The new partners are exceptional advisers to the firm’s clients, demonstrating excellence in a year defined by a global health crisis and unprecedented levels of activity for the firm and its clients.

These lawyers consistently draw on their deep knowledge of clients’ businesses to deliver exceptional results and guide them through their most complex challenges.

The new partners illustrate the characteristics that have established Ropes & Gray as one of the world’s most elite global law firms.  They are experts in their practice areas and skilled at teaming, a defining characteristic of Ropes & Gray’s culture and “Practice with Purpose,” the firm’s commitment to making a positive difference for its clients, its communities and its people.

“This is a special moment for our firm. We celebrate what our new partners have accomplished in their careers, for our clients, for their communities and for Ropes & Gray. We know that we have a bright future with these new partners by our side,” said Julie Jones, chair. 

The new partners represent practices and specialties of critical importance to the firm’s clients across multiple industries, including asset management, private equity, life sciences and health care, and technology. 

“The new partners reflect Ropes & Gray’s future. This partnership class is diverse, it’s global, and it consists of the world’s best business advisers,” said David Djaha, managing partner. “Our new partners are determined, smart and sophisticated counselors who deliver exceptional results for clients. I am proud to welcome these lawyers into our partnership.” 

Meet Ropes & Gray’s newest partners:

Chris Agnoli – From our London office, Chris provides complex tax advice on a wide range of private equity transactions, private investment fund and finance matters in a way that clients find accessible and clear. Chris has developed strong relationships with sophisticated investors and has recently advised on transactions in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, as well as on significant fund investments and prime real estate and real estate development matters in the UK and throughout Europe. A technically strong and commercially astute advisor, Chris is also an authority on the new rules governing UK real estate tax. Chris is committed to pro bono work and recently won the firm’s outstanding pro bono contributor award for London.

Dr. Samuel Brenner – Samuel Brenner is a trial and appellate lawyer whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation.  Sam, who is based in Boston and serves clients globally, steers market-leading work for well-known technology and life sciences clients in patent infringement, trade secret, complex commercial, and appellate matters in the federal courts and the ITC, as well as before international arbitration bodies.  Sam, who was honored by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2020 for “Excellence in the Law,” also maintains a robust appellate pro bono practice.

Will Bryant – The world’s most sophisticated investors turn to Will for advice on their UK and European private equity real estate deals. A Legal 500 “Rising Star,” Will is praised by clients for his ability to find solutions in complex negotiations. He acts for real estate and PE funds, pension funds, endowments, family offices, sovereign and private wealth funds. He draws on his experience across sectors to offer a strategic perspective on numerous real estate asset classes, including logistics, industrial, data centers, hospitality, office, student housing, residential, office, retail and life sciences. Will is also deeply committed to pro bono efforts. He has worked with The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund since its inception nearly 10 years ago, helping them fund conservation and sustainable ecosystem adaptation.

Devin Cohen – With deep experience in health care regulatory matters, as well as deep transactional experience, Devin advises leading health care organizations as well as private equity sponsors investing in the health care industry. Devin is valued by clients for his extensive knowledge of deal mechanics, coupled with a mastery of niche regulatory areas including value-based health care, insurance, human subject research, and pharmaceutical and medical device compliance. Devin is also actively involved in community and pro bono service in Boston, supporting EDI Institute, a nonprofit that provides art therapy to local hospitals, among others.

Dan Cowan – Dan’s ability to handle complex transactions defines his work as a private equity and M&A lawyer. Based in Boston, Dan has guided marquee PE sponsors in their most ambitious deals, including a 2018 LBO which was one of the largest globally. Middle-market M&A is also a sweet spot for Dan, whose work spans consumer brands, technology and telecommunications and asset management. Dan regularly represents pro bono clients through partnerships with the Massachusetts Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Volunteer Lawyers Project.

James Davis – Jim guides leading private equity clients through complex M&A transactions. Clients describe Jim as “an extremely strong technical lawyer” and “phenomenal.” From our Chicago office, he regularly works with TPG Capital and other large sponsors, as well as many Chicago- and Midwest-based clients. Known for being a calm, yet strategic negotiator, Jim recently represented TPG on its investment in DirecTV, in a deal valued at $16.25 billion. Jim is also committed to pro bono, including representing a family from Mexico on immigration matters since 2013.

Patrick Dorime – Patrick is an ambitious and versatile deal lawyer who advises sponsors and their portfolio companies on private equity transactions, many involving companies in distressed and special situations. Patrick also brings deep M&A, public company, securities law and capital markets experience to his work. With an impressive depth and breadth of knowledge, and a thoughtful and measured demeanor, clients rave about working with Patrick. In 2013, Patrick co-founded “1844,” an organization that provides a support system for black male associates at law firms in New York. Since its founding, many of 1844’s members have gone on to senior roles at law firms, banks, investment firms and corporations.

Fran Faircloth – Named a Law360 “Rising Star” and to Global Data Review’s “40 Under 40,” Fran guides clients through a wide spectrum of privacy and cybersecurity issues. Based in our Washington, D.C. office, Fran has worked on some of the biggest data breaches over the last decade and high-profile cybersecurity matters, including representing the former CEO of SolarWinds—a company subject to a major nationstate cyberattack. She advises clients across industries on issues of compliance, incident response, litigation and regulatory investigations. Clients say it is a “true privilege” to work with Fran, noting her clear, thoughtful and actionable advice. Fran writes and speaks on privacy and cybersecurity issues, most regularly through the Ropes DataPhiles blog.

Helen Gugel – Clients in high-profile, high-stakes crisis situations and government enforcement matters turn to Helen for unparalleled litigation and investigations counsel. Her work includes the independent investigation commissioned by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, into Larry Nassar’s abuse of elite athletes, for which Helen earned a Law360 “Rising Star” designation. Helen, nationally recognized for her securities expertise, also leads high-profile matters in securities and futures enforcement and frequently advises on issues involving digital assets and cryptocurrency.  Helen publishes frequently and is the co-author of a Bloomberg BNA practitioner guide on commodities & futures enforcement. Helen also maintains a robust pro bono practice focused on criminal justice and is actively involved in the firm’s Women’s Forum.

Erica Han – Global brands and private equity investors draw on Erica’s specialized knowledge in intellectual property, and her specific understanding of IP in consumer brands deals. She relies on a combination of trademark and transactional experience to help clients across industries with licensing, collaborations, IP securitizations, bankruptcy/restructuring, supply chain transactions, M&A, rights of publicity in fashion and cosmetics, and more. Erica has served as senior intellectual property counsel at a leading global sports apparel and footwear company. She is a thought leader on IP issues and has played a leadership role in the IP Section of the Boston Bar Association.

Brendan Hanifin – Brendan advises clients on cross-border regulatory risks, helping them to navigate cumbersome regulatory regimes, taking into consideration political and legal sensitivities that can make or break a cross-border acquisition, investment or venture. From our Chicago office, Brendan represents clients in national security reviews before CFIUS and advises clients on U.S. sanctions and anti-money laundering laws. He also assists clients to conduct international risk due diligence of prospective investment opportunities. Clients rely on Brendan for practical solutions that reflect a client’s business objectives. Brendan recently served on Law360’s International Trade Editorial Advisory Board and publishes regularly on international risk topics.

Kyle Higley – At the heart of Kyle’s practice is how companies and investment firms structure and report CEO, C-suite and employee incentives. Private equity sponsors, portfolio companies, and private and public companies rely on Kyle as their “go-to” lawyer to design and implement management equity arrangements, deferred compensation and other incentive programs, and negotiate executive employment agreements. He also works closely with public companies on executive compensation disclosure and governance matters. Lawyers Clearinghouse, a non-profit focused on affordable housing, community development and homelessness prevention, has recognized Kyle for his pro bono work.

David Kaye – A highly skilled and versatile lawyer, David guides many of the world’s most sophisticated global real estate investors and developers through complex transactions, helping them navigate an uncertain market during an unprecedented health crisis. Based in New York, he represents real estate funds, PE sponsors, asset managers, life insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds in joint ventures, equity recapitalizations, purchase and sale loan agreements, loan transactions, co-investment arrangements, REIT share sales, and various other commercial real estate transactions.  He is also leading the firm’s initiative on ESG in commercial real estate.

Alyssa Kollmeyer – Interpreting the tax code for private equity firms and global investors, and devising tax-efficient strategies is where Alyssa has focused her practice and excels. Working for some of the world’s most elite private equity investors, Alyssa has identified tax considerations in complex deals that have turned good investments into great ones. Clients who work with Alyssa get access to her extensive understanding of tax law, interpreted in a practical and commercial way, enabling them to make smart decisions on tight timeframes and in competitive deals. 

Todd B. Kornreich – Todd has a proven track record with upper-middle market private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies. Appreciated by clients for how he “gets things done,” Todd advises on domestic and cross-border buyouts of public and private acquisition targets, divestitures and minority investments. Todd is known for his sharp legal skills, collegiality and extraordinary commitment to clients. He has significant experience across a wide range of industries—healthcare, technology, and manufacturing and industrials, among others. Todd participated in the firm’s COVID-19 taskforce.

Nicole Krea – Nicole provides regulatory advice to a “who’s who” of investment advisers and private equity firms. Drawing on her fund formation and regulatory experience, including deep experience with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, Nicole advises on fundraising and regulatory matters for private funds, including private equity, real estate and others. She also works with clients on SEC examinations. Clients say that Nicole’s advice is the right combination of thoughtful, creative and practical. Pro bono service also means a lot to Nicole. For years she represented unaccompanied immigrant children in their removal proceedings, advising clients on the legal aspects of their cases, while guiding them with an understanding ear through emotionally challenging situations.

Stephanie Lapidus – Stephanie’s broad M&A experience across industries makes her sought after by public and private companies, as well as private equity sponsors. She has executed deals spanning a diverse range of industries and strategic transactions, especially in the consumer retail sector. Stephanie is recognized for her extraordinary ability to win the confidence of company leaders and investment professionals by delivering thoughtful, careful advice and for being a relentless advocate. Stephanie’s pro bono and community service efforts are expansive. She advocates for families on issues from childhood education to housing. She also serves on the board of the Anti-Defamation League of New England. 

Jeremy Liabo – Jeremy is a go-to advisor on derivatives & commodities law issues. With his deep substantive knowledge and keen regulatory perspective, Jeremy assists managers of both private and registered funds with commodity pool operator and commodity trading advisor registration, ongoing regulatory compliance, as well as futures trading issues. Clients rely on Jeremy to liaise with regulators, such as the CFTC, NFA, futures exchanges and swap execution facilities in connection with regulatory exams, responding to inquiries, enforcement actions and obtaining no-action relief. Jeremy publishes frequently about emerging issues in this area and is based in Chicago.

Vicky McGrath – Named a private equity “Rising Star” by Legal Week, Vicky is “much lauded in the London private equity market,” according to the publication. Vicky acts for leading European, U.S. and global private equity investors across the large cap and mid-market space. With a particular focus on transactions in the healthcare/life sciences sector, Vicky is skilled at seamlessly managing complex deals. In 2019, Vicky was seconded to Advent International, where she acted as European legal counsel advising on investments and disposals across Europe.

Joshua Oyster – Josh steers clients through myriad FDA regulatory issues and challenges to help them bring their products to market and assure regulatory compliance. He routinely helps clients respond to FDA inspections and enforcement matters, analyze difficult questions related to complex or ambiguous regulatory requirements, and assess regulatory risks associated with potential acquisitions and investments. He provides strategic, practical, and timely advice on pressing regulatory issues and has extensive experience helping clients navigate key policy and enforcement priorities, including developments that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Milap Patel – A seasoned lawyer who acts for leading players in the financing space, Milap negotiates a range of deals across the capital solutions spectrum. He advises on lender-side financings—including distressed and special situations transactions—assists with private equity  borrower-side transactions, and supports business restructurings. Always a step ahead, Milap excels at anticipating clients’ needs and staying nimble in complex deal environments. Milap often leads trainings for in-house client teams on everything from credit agreements to latest trends in priming transactions. He is also a committed mentor and takes an active role in the firm’s Asian American Pacific Islander affinity group and multicultural forum.

Sean Seelinger – A U.S.-trained lawyer based in London, Sean’s clients tap him to navigate complex, cross-border, compliance and risk issues. Leading private equity and sovereign investors rely on Sean to provide commercial and practical advice to manage corruption and international compliance risk throughout the investment lifecycle. In times of crisis, Sean serves as a trusted advisor to his clients, frequently leading multi-faceted responses to government inquiries and whistleblower allegations designed to mitigate legal, reputational, and financial risk. Sean has led numerous internal and government-facing investigations into corruption, fraud, and other misconduct.

Ellen Sueda Ellen immediately strengthened our West Coast benefits practice when she joined the firm in 2019, bringing 20 years of experience advising clients on the full spectrum of complex compensation and incentive-based arrangements. Highly relatable and affable, Ellen is a go-to lawyer for clients, not only because they enjoy working with her, but because of how she counsels them. Ellen has structured myriad benefits packages and brings an exceptional depth of experience, having seen or handled nearly every complex benefits question over her extensive career. Ellen is a member of the board of directors of OneJustice, a non-profit legal aid organization, based in California, which brings life-changing help to those in need.

Steve Zaorski Steve leads private fund formations for prominent, New York-based private equity sponsors. Clients love working with Steve because of his calm and measured demeanor. They call on him for assistance with the full range of private equity strategies. In the last year, among many closings, Steve helped one client form their ninth flagship fund with $3.4 billion in commitments, while assisting another with the launch of their first private real estate fund. For years, Steve has taken on pro bono work for veterans, participating in the New York City Veterans Alliance Program.