Ropes on the Rise: Ropes & Gray wants to take a big bite out of the Big Apple

ropes gray logo.JPGRopes & Gray is looking mighty healthy these days. As we reported earlier, there was no freeze for the Boston-based firm; their associates got class year raises as expected. And this week, the New York Observer reports the firm is stretching out its legs in New York, taking a new floor in its 1211 Avenue of the Americas building:

The law firm activated a provision of its 2005 lease of 250,000 square feet that allows it to take an additional floor in the tower… The lease gives Ropes & Gray the 32nd floor, which the Royal Bank of Scotland recently gave up, in addition to the space it occupies on floors 35 through 40 in the 45-story cloudbuster.

Up, up, and away, says Ropes & Gray. While bonus season suggests the New York market sucks is weak, Ropes spokesman John Tuerck says:

We see New York as a key growth market, and this signals our intent to continue expanding there… It’s a core element of our strategic plan to keep growing in New York.

Ropes has a “diversified client base” in New York, says Tuerck, and a good cross section of practice groups there, including (but not limited to) debt financing, IP litigation, government enforcement, and private equity.

More on Ropes’ plans to take over the world (or at least New York, Chicago, and Asia), as well as the Ropes class year raise memo, after the jump.

An NYC Ropes associate tells us:

we have 6 floors now & are in the process of building out another. rumor is that we have rights for another beyond that, but no idea. the big-wigs have said that they envision ny being bigger than boston in a couple of years.

The firm currently has 550 associates in its Boston office and 304 in its New York office. We have to note that Tuerck was annoyed to read the Observer’s description of Ropes as a “Boston corporate law firm.” Ropes is certainly in an expansive mood– a bigger office in New York, and according to Tuerck, new offices opened in Chicago (13 associates) and Hong Kong (6 associates) in 2008, and in Tokyo (8 associates) in 2007.

Law Firm Expands by 40K Feet in 1211 Avenue of the Americas [The New York Observer]


From: Malt, R. Bradford

Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 9:44 AM

To: Malt, R. Bradford

Subject: 2009 Base Salary

We are pleased to announce that base compensation for partnership-track associates in 2009 will reflect normal seniority increases as follows:

Class Base Salary

2008 $160,000

2007 $170,000

2006 $185,000

2005 $210,000

2004 $230,000

2003 $250,000

2002 $265,000

2001 $280,000

2000+ $290,000

Consistent with our normal practice, we will make total compensation determinations in December. In light of adverse business conditions in many markets in which we practice and the recent decline in overall activity levels, we cannot predict whether or in what amounts bonuses will be paid in 2009. Although we are confident that our diversified practices and client base will serve us well during the downturn, as a matter of prudent budgeting associates should not assume that bonuses will be paid at historical levels.

We very much appreciate the dedication and talent of our associates. We are grateful for the extraordinary effort that you make on behalf of our clients and your significant contribution to the firm’s success.

R. Bradford Malt

John T. Montgomery

(hidden for your protection)

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