Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP at a Glance


  • “The people. Smart and chill.”
  • “No billable hours requirement”
  • “Opportunity to work abroad”


  • “Unpredictable workflow”
  • “Lack of transparency”
  • “The hours can be long”

The Buzz

  • “International powerhouse”
  • “Nerdishly charming”
  • “Quirk is a façade”

About Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

With offices around the globe, one cannot deny Cleary Gottlieb's international scope. But don't call it a U.S. firm with overseas offices-this is an "integrated global partnership." The firm opened its first international office in 1949 and has awarded partnerships to lawyers in foreign offices from the very beginning. Still, no matter how far the firm roams, Wall Street will always be home.

Première Position

Founded in 1946 by four former partners from the Wall Street firm Root Clark Buckner and Ballantine (the firm that would eventually become one-half of the late Dewey & LeBoef), Cleary Gottlieb is remarkable for its prescient, early foray into Europe. Expanding beyond its New York and DC offices, the firm set up shop in Paris in 1949, making the strategic choice to hire local lawyers who were partially trained in the United States. The decision to award these foreign lawyers equal partnership gave Cleary Gottlieb a unique advantage in terms of its international presence.

With the formation of the European Community in 1967, the firm was well-situated-having anticipated the eventual economic alignment, it opened a Brussels office in 1960. The firm would then play a leading role in the burgeoning Eurodollar markets. A London outpost followed in 1971, and the firm added English law capabilities in 1997. Offices in Frankfurt, Moscow, Rome, Milan, and Cologne were established between 1991 and 2004. As to Asia, the firm has had an office in Hong Kong since 1980, which was bolstered by the firm's launch of its Hong Kong law practice in 2011. In 2006, the firm opened a second Chinese office in Beijing, and in 2012, the firm's Asia presence expanded further with the opening of an office in Seoul, Korea. A longstanding Latin American practice was supplemented by a physical presence in 2009, when Cleary opened an office in Buenos Aires, followed by the launch of its São Paulo office in 2011. Also in 2012, the firm opened an office in Abu Dhabi, enabling it to better serve clients based in the Middle East as well as those who have interests in the region.

Cleary Gottlieb has continued to be involved in high-profile corporate matters close to home and abroad, such as advising Samsonite in its $1.8 billion acquisition of Tumi, and Argentina in its return to the global debt markets with a $16.5 billion debt offering. Cleary Gottlieb also represented The Coca-Cola Company in a transaction that combines the bottling operations of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke AG into a new Western European bottler called Coca-Cola European Partners Plc. On the litigation and arbitration fronts, clients routinely turn to Cleary to handle high-stakes matters and white-collar enforcement matters. For example, Cleary Gottlieb won dismissal with prejudice of a lawsuit brought by Rio Tinto against its client Vale. Cleary also successfully secured the dismissal of claims against the Hellenic Republic in an ICSID arbitration initiated by the Slovak bank, Poštová banka, and its former Cypriot shareholder under the bilateral investment treaties between the Hellenic Republic and the Slovak Republic and Cyprus. Cleary Gottlieb's New York and Washington, D.C.-based litigators continue to advise major financial institutions' investigations into potential manipulation of LIBOR and trading practices in the global foreign exchange market. The firm also regularly represents clients in monopolization and conspiracy cases, including recent victories for Keurig, Gilead Sciences, Teladoc, Travelocity, and K-Line.

Home and Away

Cleary Gottlieb advises on high-profile matters not only in the U.S. but around the world. The firm advised The Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation, the agency of the Mexican government in charge of overseeing the management, operations and development of Mexico's airports, in the first stage of the financing for the construction and development of the new Mexico City international airport. The new airport is expected to become the largest in Latin America and serve as a regional hub. In Europe, the firm represents Franco-Belgian financial institution Dexia in its dismantling plan, the largest, most complex wind-down of any European financial institution and one that has major systemic implications for the Eurozone. The firm advised African Minerals Limited on a $350 million finance package in connection with its Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone. In India, the firm represents Lafarge in the sale of a minority stake in Lafarge India to Baring Private Equity Asia, reported to be the largest private equity investment in the cement industry in India.

Worldwide Wonder

The firm has been actively engaged in Latin America work for more than 50 years. With more than 30 partners or counsel and approximately 70 associates engaged in the practice, Cleary dedicates significant resources to its Latin America practice and has a broad and deep talent base in this area. Lawyers in the practice are spread between New York, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires. The firm has represented Brazilian company Petrobras in some of the largest-ever capital markets transactions.

With more than 30 years of experience in Asia, Cleary Gottlieb has a longer history in the region than almost any other international law firm and has had a vibrant Korea practice for more than two decades. With over 30 lawyers worldwide fluent in Korean, the firm offers clients a talented and deep team of native Korean-speaking U.S. lawyers. Lawyers in the firm's larger Asia practice are based in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, London and New York. The firm represented Malaysia-based global agriculture company Felda in its $3.2 billion IPO, one of the world's largest IPOs in 2012, and has served as counsel in securities offerings of Korean issuers, including The Republic of Korea and the Korea Development Bank since the early 1990s.

Moreover, Cleary Gottlieb has been active in the Middle East for several decades and has an unparalleled presence there, advising both corporate and sovereign clients in many of the most important transactions in the region. The Abu Dhabi office is fully integrated with the firm's Middle East practice, which comprises approximately 20 partners and counsel located in London, Paris, New York, and Milan, in addition to Abu Dhabi. The firm has represented the Republic of Iraq in multiple cases, including its successful defense of Iraq's sovereign immunity in relation to a $35 million claim by a Saddam era creditor.

Feeling Perk-y

Cleary is all about benefits. The firm not only meets the market when it comes to parental leave, but it also offers flexible work arrangements and formally permits associates to telecommute two days a month (those working at the firm less than one year may choose to work from home one day per month). Tangible non-hours related perks include an office of professional development career counseling program; Cleary Core Curriculum: a formal soft skills training series, which consists of management, negotiation, business development, communication, feedback, a hands-on mini MBA program designed to give associates basic fluency on a range of business and financial topics; regular practice group training sessions; mentoring courses; and regularly scheduled "free" informational lunches that allow associates to be updated on a range of firm affairs.


May 2016
Big Pharma, Big Win

Cleary Gottlieb successfully defended Sanofi US's summary judgment win on appeal to the Third Circuit, in a multibillion dollar monopolization lawsuit brought by a competitor challenging Sanofi US's loyalty discounts for its anticoagulant drug Lovenox.

April 2016
Annulled Arbitration Awards

Cleary Gottlieb successfully represented the Russian Federation in annulling three arbitral awards, totaling more than $50 billion. Unless this ruling is reversed on appeal, it provides the Russian Federation with a complete victory in proceedings that were commenced in 2005, and resulted in the largest damages ever awarded in an international arbitration.

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

Cleary Gottlieb acted as international counsel to the Republic of Argentina in connection with its $16.5 billion debt offering that closed April 22, 2016. In addition to preparing all documentation required for the offering, including the Republic's new indenture adopting all innovations in sovereign debt financing, Cleary designed the structure of the transactions that would permit the payment of all amounts needed to permit the lifting of the pari passu injunctions on the terms set forth in the District Court's order of March 2, 2016, affirmed by the Second Circuit on April 13, 2016.

March 2016
Pack Your Bags

Cleary Gottlieb is representing Samsonite International, the world's best known and largest lifestyle bag and travel luggage company, in its acquisition of Tumi Holdings, the leading global brand of premium business, travel and lifestyle products and accessories.

July 2015
Building a Bigger Home Depot

Cleary Gottlieb represented The Home Depot in its acquisition of Interline Brands for $1.625 billion. Cleary has been handling corporate law assignments for The Home Depot for over a decade, including its acquisitions of White Construction Supply (2004), National Waterworks (2005), Greenwald Industrial (2005), Hughes Supply (2006), Red Beacon (2012) and BlackLocus (2012).

June 2015
Killing Conversion Therapy

Cleary Gottlieb, along with co-counsel the Southern Poverty Law Center and Lite DePalma Greenberg, obtained a significant victory in a first-of-its-kind consumer fraud lawsuit against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH). Following a three-week trial in New Jersey Superior Court, a jury found that JONAH's "conversion therapy" program, which offered services it claimed could change clients from gay to straight, was fraudulent and unconscionable. The case has generated interest in legislation in Congress to protect consumers from conversion therapy nationwide.

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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

One Liberty Plaza
New York, NY 10006
Phone: (212) 225-2000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Mark Leddy
  • Hiring Partners: Lisa M. Schweitzer (New York); Michael A. Mazzuchi (Washington, DC)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 1,299

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    Summer associate: $3,462/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    118 out of 118 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust • Banking and Financial Institutions • Bankruptcy and Restructuring • Capital Markets • Corporate Governance • Derivatives • Energy • Environmental Law • Executive Compensation and ERISA • Intellectual Property • International Trade and Investment • Leveraged and Acquisition Finance • Litigation and Arbitration • Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures • Private Clients • Private Equity • Privatizations • Project Finance and Infrastructure • Public International Law • Real Estate • Sovereign Governments and International Institutions • Structured Finance • Tax • White-Collar Defense and Investigations

Major Office Locations

  • New York
  • Washington, DC
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Beijing
  • Brussels
  • Buenos Aires
  • Cologne
  • Frankfurt
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Milan
  • Moscow
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • São Paulo
  • Seoul
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