ALM Properties, Inc.
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2012-06-01 12:28:22 PM
Rocky Tsai, 36, senior litigation associate
Ropes & Gray
Tsai has played major roles in influential cases, earning wins before state and federal appellate courts. For eight years, he has been national coordinating counsel for Swiss pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., and its United States subsidiaries in wrongful death and personal injury litigation. He authored the appellate brief in F. Hoffmann-La Roche v. Superior Court, 30 Cal.Rptr.3d 407 (2005), persuading a state appellate court to reverse a finding of personal jurisdiction over his clients, resulting in a much-cited opinion. He also wrote a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Stinn, concerning a criminal defendant's right to a unanimous jury verdict. As pro bono counsel, Tsai scored victories before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Immigration Court in the well-publicized asylum case of Igor Belov, winning the Russian national's release after nearly six years on the case.
Word that best describes you?
Toughest moment in law school or as a lawyer?
Visiting a pro bono asylum client in jail while his removal was impending. I honestly thought I would never see him again, so I felt both angry and disappointed. Fortunately, his removal was ultimately deferred; he was eventually released from custody and has been a productive member of the community ever since.
Most interesting place you've traveled?
Yogyakarta, Java. I lived with a host family there for an entire summer right after college and actually became more or less proficient in Bahasa Indonesia. It was the most immersed I've ever felt in a foreign milieu.
What you'd do if you could take a year off?
Read all the books I could.
I'm not really familiar with that concept.
Best advice you ever got?
If you're not worried about your case, then you should be worried.
Trial or deal you wish you could have worked on?
The trial of Galileo for heresy in 1633 for publishing a treatise proposing that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The poor fellow lost, even though he had good facts on his side.