2024 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#27
- Real Estate#16
At a Glance
“The pro bono is strong.”
“The firm genuinely seems to value and prioritize attorney development.”
“Having a lockstep bonus without a billable hour minimum.”
“The steep learning curve.”
“The expectation is always polish and perfection. No such thing as a rough draft.”
“The need to be on call and reachable basically at all times (these would be downsides at any BigLaw firm).”
About Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Cleary is a leading global law firm, with offices on four continents and an unparalleled reputation for groundbreaking work. While long known as a dominant player in the international and corporate business world, Cleary has built out both corporate and litigation capabilities that have strengthened and expanded the full suite of resources it offers clients.
Founded in 1946 by four former partners of the Wall Street law firm Root Clark and three attorneys steeped in government service (including Henry Friendly, who is widely known as a preeminent federal judge from his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), Cleary Gottlieb simultaneously opened offices in New York and Washington, DC.
The firm almost immediately began to expand its global footprint in 1949 with the opening of its Paris office, hiring local lawyers who were partially trained in the United States and giving the foreign lawyers equal partnership. The firm opened an office in Brussels in 1960, which would help the firm play a leading role in the burgeoning Eurodollar markets when the European Community came to Belgium a few years later. Once Cleary started expanding, it didn’t stop; today, the firm sports offices throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. Most recently, the firm expanded to the Bay Area and opened offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
Foreign Governments on Speed Dial
Cleary is well known for its representation of national governments, especially in advising on sovereign debt restructurings and financings. Over the years, the firm has represented Greece in the largest-ever sovereign debt restructuring and largest-ever bond exchange, valued at €206 billion and €31.9 billion respectively, as well as Argentina in its $63.4 billion debt restructuring. The firm has also advised on bond offerings for an innumerable list of sovereigns, including Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Senegal, to name a few. Other prominent sovereign clients have included Armenia, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Chad, Colombia, Egypt, France, Guatemala, Iraq, Korea, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, Togo, and Uruguay. Cleary has also represented the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority in a landmark agreement intended to transform Puerto Rico’s electric sector; the transaction represents a historic milestone in the Government of Puerto Rico’s objective of providing modern, affordable, resilient, and reliable power to the island and will help serve as a driver of economic recovery and growth.
While recognized as an “integrated global partnership” in the States and abroad, Cleary makes headlines with its highly regarded corporate, antitrust, and litigation practices. Cleary has represented Levi Strauss & Co., the iconic American apparel company that invented blue jeans, in connection with its IPO and dual-class capital structure; T-Mobile US and Deutsche Telekom as antitrust counsel in T-Mobile US’s $146 billion merger with Sprint Corporation (which included securing a decisive victory in an unprecedented multistate lawsuit by a group of state attorneys general in an attempt to block the merger); and, in the wake of recent banking crises, representing longstanding client Credit Suisse in connection with its merger with UBS, following the intervention of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance, the Swiss National Bank, and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.
Alumni of the firm are found in corporate C-suites, U.S. Attorney’s offices, and government agencies, and lawyers regularly choose to return to Cleary following their years of government service. Cleary also boasts among its ranks former federal prosecutors, former Deputy Assistant Attorneys General of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, former FDIC General Counsel, former SEC General Counsel, a former Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, and a former Chief Litigation Counsel of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.
News & Awards
- Cleary represented Disney and 21st Century Fox on matters related to Disney’s acquisition of 21CF, one of the largest and most complex media transactions of all time.
- Cleary represented T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom in connection with T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint, securing a decisive victory in an unprecedented multistate lawsuit filed in an attempt to block the merger.
- Cleary successfully represented Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras in its historic securities litigation arising out of the widely covered corruption scandal Lava Jato (Operation Carwash).
- Cleary represented Greece in restructuring over €200 billion of government bonds—the largest sovereign debt restructuring in history.
- No. 1 in the Top 25 “Global Elite,” 2023—Global Competition Review
- Law Firm of the Year in Latin America (for a record 10th time), 2022—LatinFinance
- Top 20 Firm on the A-List, 2022—The American Lawyer
- Innovative International Firm of the Year, 2022—Euromoney Americas Women in Business Law Awards
- Top 25 Firm for Associate Satisfaction, Career Opportunities, Pro Bono, and DE&I, 2021—Chambers Associate
One Liberty Plaza
New York, NY 10006
Phone: (212) 225-2000
Managing Partner: Michael A. Gerstenzang
Hiring Partners: Abena Mainoo (NY), Daniel Culley (DC)
Total No. Attorneys (2023):
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2023:
1st year: $215,000
2nd year: $225,000
3rd year: $250,000
4th year: $295,000
5th year: $345,000
6th year: $370,000
7th year: $400,000
8th year: $415,000
Summer Associate: $4,134.62/week
Donna M. Harris
Director of Legal Recruiting—U.S.
No. of U.S. Offices: 4
No. of International Offices: 12
New York, NY
Silicon Valley I
Banking and Financial Institutions
Bankruptcy and Restructuring
Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits
International Trade and Investment
Leveraged and Acquisition Finance
Litigation and Arbitration
Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures
Project Finance and Infrastructure
Public International Law
Sovereign Governments and International Institutions
White Collar Defense and Investigations
See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.