Five years after setting up in London, Ropes & Gray has launched a City-based commercial litigation practice with the hire of K&L Gates disputes partner Thomas Ross.
The move is just the latest in a series of hires for Ropes which has been pushing to expand its City finance and private equity practice for the past year. But this move will see Ross join the firm’s business and securities litigation practice, as the firm looks to Ross to advise clients on dispute-related issues in its transactions, government enforcement and business restructuring practices.
Ross is an English-qualified lawyer with experience of multi-party and multi-jurisdictional disputes, particularly domestic and international banking litigation. He has advised financial institutions on defensive strategies in default scenarios; regulatory and compliance issues; internal investigations and white collar crime; fund, asset management and pensions litigation; and contractual and professional negligence disputes.
He joins from K&L Gates, where he was a partner in the disputes team since 2011, with a focus in banking and finance, asset management and pensions-related disputes. Before this, he was a partner at Lawrence Graham from 2008 to 2011, and special counsel at Dorsey & Whitney from 2005 to 2008. Prior to this, he spent almost ten years at Slaughter & May as a trainee/assistant solicitor.
Ropes London managing partner Mike Goetz said: ‘This is a significant appointment for the London office. As our practice has grown over the past five years, we have recognised a need to provide litigation support to the practice and clients. Tom will work closely with the government enforcement and business restructuring teams, and directly support our transactional practices as it is not uncommon for litigation related issues to arise from transactions.’
Other goals for the US firm include growing its real estate practice and expanding its securitisation offering in the City. At present, the firm’s City team has 14 partners in corporate/finance; three in restructuring; two each in real estate, investment management, private investment funds, and government enforcement; one in tax; and one now in business securities litigation – taking City-partner headcount to 27 including Ross’ arrival. Ross is the first to focus on commercial litigation and supporting transactions.
The firm hired 40 London lawyers in 2013, almost doubling the size of the office, and last year added another 15. Underlining the firm’s ambitions, Ropes last year signed a deal to move to larger offices in September 2015 at 60 Ludgate Hill, nearly doubling its current space. The 45,000 sq ft site can hold as many as 180 lawyers and is targeting between 120 and 150 lawyers in the UK by 2017.