In particular, the law firm has grown its investment management, real estate and regulatory enforcement offerings, said Metz, a partner who specializes in mergers and acquisitions.
“Our clients are more diversified in terms of the asset classes they’re investing in,” Metz said. “We’re working to ensure we have capabilities in private equity, mutual funds, real estate, hedge funds and others.”
One trend on his radar: a robust stream of deals related to healthcare.
“There’s absolutely a strong trend within our office to do private equity deals in the healthcare space,” Metz said. “It’s really an outsized experience relative to our peer law firms.”
Chicago’s strong showing of private equity firms focused on healthcare-related deals has helped Ropes & Gray develop the prowess that differentiates the firm.
“Other law firms have not invested in healthcare resources to the extent that we have,” Metz said.
Ropes & Gray continues to see opportunities to meet the needs of middle-market firms, under pressure these days to keep costs in line since they don’t enjoy the same economies of scale as larger firms.
“We’ve been focused on deal management and budgeting practices,” he said. “The effort has allowed us to deliver value at the right price for middle-market funds.”
Ropes & Gray also has been working with a growing number of in-house general counsels at private equity firms to build a network of more than 85 funds for networking and organizing talks on common topics. The effort has helped establish relationships with new funds, Metz said.
Metz said the firm’s M&A business remains robust in 2015. Portfolio company transactions between private equity firms remain a strong source of deals, he said. Debt markets remain favorable for middle-market firms, with fewer leverage constraints seen in larger deals.
“The pipeline going into the second half of the year looks strong,” Metz said. “We’re seeing clients have a real interest in competing in auctions, and trying to be creative and aggressive.”
By Steve Gelsi