Why did you choose Ropes & Gray to start your legal career?
I had a slightly different start to my career at Ropes compared to the rest of my cohort. After starting as a paralegal in the Litigation and Enforcement department, it quickly became clear that the firm would be an incredible place to build a career. Whilst the firm’s reputation on the global stage was an obvious draw, it was my experience of the firm’s culture which pushed me to apply. The London office reaps the benefits of being part of a multi-national law firm in terms of quality of work, whilst retaining the culture of a smaller firm. The support I received from people in both fee earning and business support roles, spanning a range of teams other than my own, singled out Ropes as both place in which I could build a successful legal career and somewhere that I would enjoy working every day.
How did you find the recruitment and selection process?
The recruitment process was intense, but each stage was clearly set out and explained by the graduate recruitment team, who were supportive throughout the process.
How would you describe the firm’s culture?
I find Ropes’ culture to be fundamentally egalitarian. No department or role is seen as ancillary and everyone’s door is always open (literally), including the partners who are always happy to answer any questions.
Tell us about a memorable matter you’ve worked on.
Last year, I was able to travel to Slovenia to take notes in a series of interviews as part of an internal investigation for one of the firm’s pharmaceutical clients. People behave very differently in person than they do on Zoom and it was interesting to see how the interviewers adapted to the interviewees’ responses and emotions.
Tell us about a pro bono matter you’ve worked on.
A stand-out pro bono matter has to be the Andy Malkinson case, which I worked on with the team at Ropes and pro bono client APPEAL for over a year. Andy was wrongly accused of a sexual assault in 2003 and spent 17 years in prison. I assisted the team in getting Andy’s appeal heard by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (the UK body with the power to refer a case to the courts where there is a real possibility that it will be overturned).
Happily, in August 2023, the case was referred, and the Court of Appeal overturned Andy’s sentence. Seeing the case hit the headlines was particularly rewarding.
What tips would you give a potential applicant?
Research the firm – a lot! Don’t just submit a generalised application. When researching, try to think not only about why you want to work at Ropes, but specifically about how the firm operates as a business. This will help you show your understanding of why the firm does what it does in terms of its practice areas, clients, and what strategic decisions it might make in the future.