Counsel to Over 50 Sovereigns
Ranked No. 2 for Global Announced M&A by Value (Mergermarket, 2017)
Largest Ever Sovereign Debt Restructuring
Largest Ever Leveraged Buyout
Largest Ever Real Estate Transaction
Largest Ever Patent Portfolio Sale
Most Prominent Antitrust Case of the Decade
Represented Over 50 Financial Institutions in Financial Crisis-Related Litigation
Who We Are
Cleary Gottlieb is a pioneer in globalizing the legal profession, known for its prescient, early foray into Europe. Expanding beyond its New York and DC offices in 1946, the firm set up shop in Paris in 1949, hiring local lawyers who were partially trained in the United States and giving the foreign lawyers equal partnership. The firmed opened an office in Brussels in 1960, just a few years before the formation of the European Community in 1967, which is based in the city. The firm would then play a leading role in the burgeoning Eurodollar markets. A London outpost followed in 1971 and a Hong Kong office in 1980. As other firms discovered international expansion in the 1990s and 2000s, Cleary added another five European offices. More recently, the firm has continued its expansion in Asia, South America, and the Middle East over the last decade or so. Still, no matter how far the firm roams, Wall Street will always be home.
From the beginning, our lawyers and staff have worked across practices, industries, jurisdictions, and continents to provide clients with simple, actionable approaches to their most complex legal and business challenges, whether domestic or international. We support every client relationship with intellectual agility, commercial acumen, and a human touch.
We have a proven track record for serving with innovation. We are fluent in the many languages of local and global business. And we have achieved consistent success in multiple jurisdictions.
An Integrated Global Partnership
We have 16 offices in major financial centers around the world, but we operate as a single, integrated global partnership and not a U.S. firm with a network of overseas locations.
- All Cleary clients enjoy access to the full resources provided by our offices and lawyers worldwide.
- The firm employs approximately 1,200 lawyers from more than 50 countries.
- Cleary received Chambers and Partners’ inaugural International Law Firm of the Year award, recognizing our global practice and our pioneering tradition of developing homegrown talent in the different countries where we operate.
We serve international and national business organizations, financial institutions, sovereign governments and their agencies, nonprofits and community organizations, and civil rights and human rights groups.
Notable clients include:
Bank of America
The Coca-Cola Company
The Dow Chemical Company
The Hellenic Republic (Greece)
The Republic of Argentina
United Technologies Company
Partnership and Firm Culture
Our firm’s organization and governance emphasize democratic and participatory ideals. To promote the full application of Cleary’s resources in the best service of our clients’ needs, we operate on a seniority-based compensation system for all of our lawyers, and we expect each partner to contribute equally to the firm’s success.
We strive to admit to our partnership lawyers with demonstrated qualities of character, leadership and intelligence, who have the proven legal skills that will enable them to contribute significantly to our practice over the long term.
- Over 40 percent of our partners are based outside of the United States.
- More than one-third of our partners have served in two or more Cleary offices.
- Approximately 90 percent of our current partners joined the firm as associates.
Our associates also actively participate in a number of important committees in various offices on a range of issues, including diversity, professional development, and recruiting.
Consistent with the vision of our founders, Cleary remains committed to building a community focused on openness, diversity, individuality and collegiality. Learn more about our firm’s diversity initiatives.
The essence of the firm’s culture is represented by our lawyers: talented and intellectually accomplished people of all nationalities, races and interests, who believe that the practice of law is a privilege that carries responsibility. Together we apply our legal knowledge for the benefit of those in need, dedicating a substantial amount of time and resources to pro bono legal work and other community activities. Learn more about Cleary’s pro bono program.
Firm and practice:
Debt and Equity-Linked Team of the Year (Americas) and Deal of the Year (Americas and Asia)
IFLR Awards, 2018
Italian Telecommunications Firm of the Year
Matter of the Year (Dow/DuPont merger of equals)
Global Competition Review Awards, 2018
M&A Deal of the Year (McDonald’s $2.08 billion strategic partnership with CITIC and Carlyle)
ALB China Law Awards, 2018
Only Top Tier Law Firm for Banking
and Finance, Capital Markets, and
Corporate/M&A (Latin America-wide)
Chambers Latin America 2009–2018
Ranked No. 1 in the Top 25 “Global Elite”
Global Competition Review, 2018
Regulatory/Antitrust Law Firm of the Year
LegalCommunity Energy Awards, 2018
Restructuring Deal of the Year
(Odebrecht Óleo e Gás’ debt reorganization)
IFLR Americas Awards, 2018
Seven “Market Leaders”
IFLR Financial & Corporate Rankings, 2018
Top 20 Firm
Global Arbitration Review’s GAR 30, 2018
Capital Markets, Competition, and Securities Practice Groups of the Year
Corporate High-Grade Bond of the Year and Corporate Liability Management of the Year
Deal of the Year
(Samsung Electronics’ sale of its printer business to HP)
Asia Business Law Journal, 2017
International Law Firm of the Year; Equity Deal of the Year; Technology, Media and Telecommunications Deal of the Year; and Deal of the Year (Samsung BioLogics’ IPO)
ALB Korea Law Awards, 2017
Equity Market Deal of the Year
(CEMEX Holdings Phillipines’ IPO)
ALB Philippine Law Awards, 2017
Global Elite Firm
Legal Business’ “Global 100,” 2003–2017 (Every year since the list’s inception)
Grand Prize Winner for Global Dispute of the Year (Transnational Litigation) and Global Finance Deal of the Year (Capital Markets: Debt)
The American Lawyer, 2017
Law Firm of the Year in Latin America
No. 1 Law Firm in Latin America
Latinvex, 2016 and 2017
Only “Elite” Ranked Firm in Washington, D.C. Antitrust Bar
Global Competition Review, 2017
Seven Global Legal Awards
The American Lawyer, 2017
South Korea International Firm of the Year
Chambers Asia, 2013, 2015 and 2017
Top 5 Firm
Global Restructuring Review’s GRR 30, 2017
Top 20 U.S. Firm
NYSE Governance Services and FTI Consulting Inc.’s “Best Corporate Law Firms,” 2017
Top Global Firm
Law360’s “Global 20” List of Preeminent Global Law Firms, 2011–2017
Workplace and Pro Bono:
100% Corporate Equality Index Score
Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2018
Best Gender Diversity Initiative by an International Firm
Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Awards, 2018
Top 10 in the Diversity Scorecard
The American Lawyer, 2018
Top Firm for Gender Equity
Yale Law Women’s Top Ten Female Friendly Firms Report, 2018
Best Contribution by an International Firm: Toynbee Hall’s Women’s Free Legal Advice Clinic
LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards, 2017
Freedom Award Winner
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, 2017
Global Pro Bono Dispute of the Year: International Death Penalty Project
The American Lawyer, 2017
Pro Bono Publico Award
American Bar Association, 2017
Top 15 Law Firm
Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, 2017