Financial Times Hails Ropes & Gray as a Top 10 Firm for Innovation
Ropes & Gray was honored among North America’s leading innovative law firms in The Financial Times’ Innovative Lawyers 2016 report released Dec. 6. The report recognizes law firms that have successfully innovated and adapted their legal services to serve clients’ business interests and respond to 21st century challenges.
The firm was ranked sixth on the “FT 25,” shortlisted for the “Most Innovative North American Law Firm” award, and named a finalist for three other awards in the Legal Expertise and Business of Law categories. This year’s results represent Ropes & Gray’s strongest results in the FT report to date, with five of the firm’s matters ranked as “standout,” “highly commended” or “commended.” The report cited the firm’s work on the following matters as exemplary:
- Standout – Regulatory Work for Clients: In September 2015, Ropes & Gray filed suit in the Southern District of New York on behalf of Pacira Pharmaceuticals against the FDA, alleging that the agency had violated Pacira’s First and Fifth Amendment rights, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act, in issuing a Warning Letter that wrongly accused Pacira of engaging in off-label promotion of its flagship drug, EXPAREL. By teaming its veteran appellate and government enforcement litigators with its expert FDA regulatory attorneys, Ropes & Gray developed an innovative approach that focused on the constitutional principles common to cases involving allegations of off-label promotion and on administrative claims related to the approval of EXPAREL. In what The Pink Sheet and FDA Webview called a “resounding victory,” the FDA agreed that the Warning Letter had been issued in error because it was based on the FDA’s misinterpretation of the approved indication for EXPAREL and the clinical evidence supporting the drug’s approval.
- Highly Commended – New Products & Techniques: Working with Pantheon Ventures, Ropes & Gray implemented the launch of a complex hybrid fund providing access to private equity investments, one of the most difficult-to-access asset classes ordinarily available only to institutional investors. To permit some liquidity, Ropes & Gray designed a structure in which the fund adopted an initial two-year lock-up with a tender offer to provide quarterly liquidity on a discretionary basis. This limited liquidity was vital to allow the sponsor to weather any initial “J-curve” effects commonly experienced in PE investments in a ‘40 Act product. With the fund’s public offering launch, AMG / Pantheon is positioned as a leader in the registered funds of private funds space.
- Commended – Pro Bono: Using the FBI’s admission that its forensic experts provided flawed hair analysis testimony, Ropes & Gray helped free George Perrot, a man who had been wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years. FBI hair analysis testimony had been critical to Mr. Perrot’s convictions in 1987 and 1992, particularly because the victim consistently insisted that our client could not have been her attacker. Ropes & Gray pushed the FBI to expedite an audit of hair analysis testimony with respect to Mr. Perrot’s case, making it one of the first in the nation to be reviewed for errors. After a two-day hearing, the trial court found that newly discovered evidence warranted another trial for Mr. Perrot, and he was released from prison. As this was the first case to achieve this result based on erroneous hair analysis without having DNA analysis to corroborate the exoneration, our team created a roadmap that other defendants in similar situations may follow.
- Commended – Redesigning the Service Model: To help guide companies through an increasingly complex enforcement landscape, Ropes & Gray’s e-discovery team developed a new approach to investigative reviews: the Bifurcated Time-Based Technology-Assisted Investigative Review (BAT). Our BAT methodology, when applied to the traditional technology assisted review (TAR), harnesses predictive coding and concept analytics to improve service to clients facing internal audits or governmental investigations. Eschewing traditional linear reviews, our e-discovery team works closely with our litigation technology and case teams to not only provide faster reviews and earlier identification of key documents, but also more accurate results. Our BAT method has given our clients an edge in the investigation, as well as improved transparency, efficiency and budget predictability.
- Commended – Integrated Solutions: The evolving complexity of the legal landscape places a new imperative on global law firms to rethink their current client service models to unify practices around anti-corruption-related challenges across geographies and core areas. Ropes & Gray’s unified practice model treats anti-corruption as an umbrella under which the firm’s other practices are engaged, shifting organizational behavior and group think around anti-corruption challenges. The creation of a suite of anti-corruption analysis tools, including a Global Anti-Corruption Update and the firm’s econometric Anti-Corruption Risk Matrix, complements the firm’s geographic-specific initiatives in which partners from all disciplines engage in discussions that include an anti-corruption component.
Earlier in the year, The Financial Times ranked Ropes & Gray among the top firms in the Asia-Pacific region for resolving challenges with creative solutions, with special mention made of the firm’s corporate and finance transactional work and the flexibility of our special situations practice. The firm’s Asia-based offices were also cited as among the most innovative in the region by Asian Legal Business.