Ropes & Gray lawyer returns from senior APAC in-house role

by Steve Randall13 Nov 2018

A former senior associate of Ropes & Gray has returned to the firm as partner after gaining invaluable experience in a senior in-house role.

Eric Y. Wu rejoins the firm from pharma-giant Johnson & Johnson where he served as Asia Pacific M&A Regional Counsel and head of legal for the company’s Asia Pacific Innovation Center.

“It’s an honor to be able to offer Ropes & Gray’s clients my perspective on an array of life sciences issues, having now served in-house at a leading company and been responsible for covering its business development and innovation activities across the Asia Pacific region,” Mr. Wu said

He will be based in Ropes’ Shanghai office but will also expand the firm’s life sciences service offerings throughout the Asia Pacific region.

“Eric’s broad corporate transactional skillset, deep insight into the Asia Pacific life sciences and health care industry, and multilingual skills will be valuable to clients across Asia,” said Arthur Mok, Ropes & Gray’s Asia regional managing partner.

BCLP launches legal teams consultancy division
Global firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has launched a consultancy division to support in-house legal teams.

Operating globally under the name Cantilever, the new division brings together the firm’s BCXponent and Streamline brands, as well as other teams that support its clients’ in-house teams in improving their legal operations and service delivery to their businesses.

Cantilever will be led by co-founders Katie DeBord, BCLP’s chief innovation officer, and Chris Emerson, the firm’s chief of legal operations solutions.

Services will include: providing legal operations and technology consultancy; designing effective and efficient processes and systems for contract, matter and litigation management; and delivering document and decision-making automation solutions.

4 in 10 US in-house counsel have increased external spend
For the first time since 2011, in-house legal teams in the US say they increased the amount spent on external counsel in the past year.

A survey of chief legal officers by Altman Weil shows that 42% of law departments spent more in 2017-18 while 32% spent less. A similar share of CLOs expect to spend more in 2019.

In-house teams are growing too with 42% of firms planning to increase lawyer headcount in the next 12 months, just 7.5% plan to cut back.

"The imperative for change is being thrust upon Chief Legal Officers by their organizations' higher expectations of performance," says Rees Morrison, Altman Weil principal and survey co-author. "In 2018, most departments are focusing on reallocating spend, rethinking the mix of internal and external resources, and implementing various process improvements. Many are achieving good results from those efforts."