Founded in 1897, Troutman Sanders LLP is an international law firm with 637 lawyers and offices located throughout the U.S. As the firm has developed over the last century, its reputation has grown as well. In 2012, it ranked 73 in the AmLaw 100. In 1997, the year that Hong Kong was returned to China, Troutman Sanders came to the beautiful island and set up its first branch office in China. Now it has opened two more offices; one in Shanghai and another in Beijing.
The above seems like a typical success story of an international law firm. But there is indeed one feature that distinguishes Troutman Sanders from the rest of its class: Troutman Sanders is focused on U.S. and Chinese markets, putting in place in China one of the lar
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gest operations among the American law firms serving the Chinese market. What has induced the firm to make such a decision? Why is China so important? How can they help both American and Chinese companies? Bearing these questions in mind, a China IP journalist interviewed four attorneys from Troutman Sanders to find the answer; they are the Intellectual Property Practice Group Leader, Douglas D. Salyers; Managing Partner of Hong Kong office, Eric A. Szweda; Partner, Kevin X. He; and Associate of the Beijing office, Sophie Chu.
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China IP: To date, Troutman Sanders has more than 600 attorneys and 15 branch offices all over the world. The 2013 edition of Best Lawyers in America includes 128 Troutman Sanders’ attorneys. What do you think are the key factors to the firm’s success? What are the “secret tips” of Troutman Sanders in cultivating elite attorneys?
Mr. Salyers:Firstly, we start with good people. Historically, we have always recruited talented younger lawyers, and cultivated them through our own system. Troutman Sanders has a strong culture of always letting young lawyers to do things in the legal world rather than just sit in the office pushing papers around. In that way, we give the lawyers opportunities to grow, learn and practice law in a very sophisticated manner at a very early age.
The other key factor to our success is strong management—we manage our money well and we have a very stable leadership so that when good lawyers come, they want to stay where they are.
China IP: Troutman Sanders has enjoyed a long history since its establishment in America. Has it ever received any governmental encouragement or support in its early years of development?
Mr. Salyers:We have not received direct governmental assistance, but we recruit people from the government to join us. Our founding partner, Governor Sanders, was the Governor of Georgia. When he retired, he came and helped start the law firm. As a former Governor, he has a lot of connections in the political world to help grow our business. Through the firm’s history, we have recruited many staff members that used to work for the government, such as former patent examiners, who have contributed to produce a thriving firm.