Alumni

Our network of stellar alumni is among our proudest achievements—many of our former lawyers remain in close contact with us after they leave, and some even become our best clients.

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Cleary alumni have gone on to join the legal departments of corporations, financial institutions, non-profits, and international organizations. Our former lawyers have held distinguished roles in government, academia, and the corporate world. Many have started their own businesses and some have pursued fields completely outside of the law. The impressive positions that our alumni hold reflect both the quality of our training and our global reach.

 

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Alumni Spotlights

Our alumni have tremendous pride in their experiences at the firm and often reflect upon their time with fondness and gratitude. Read some of their thoughts below.

 

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What lessons did you learn at Cleary that prepared you for your future career?

Lawyering is foremost about servicing the client.

What Cleary person and/or experience had a lasting impact on you personally?

Norma, who like many highly regarded and beloved divas needs no last name, had the most lasting impact on me. She valued me for me long before diversity and inclusiveness were trending. Norma impressed me with her curiosity about the world and the lives of others while always being willing to connect alums in the furtherance of their careers. She always wanted to improve the lives of the spawn of Mother Cleary. Her energy remains intimidating and ultimately inspiring. Her singular style was always eye-popping and she worked it to maximum impact.

Why do you participate in the alumni network, and what would you say to someone who is considering getting involved?

I think of the alumni network the way other people must think of money in the bank: it’s nice to have, it offers untold possibilities, and you see the benefit in contributing to its growth, whether you save it for a rainy day or use just for the fun of it. I enjoyed the people I knew at Cleary and there is something that I like in the fellow alums I’ve met since.

 

Alumni Spotlight Lau

What lessons did you learn at Cleary that prepared you for your future career?


“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day,” said Confucius.

“That’s because nobody is hiring,” quipped another. 

Instead of hopping from gig to gig in hopes of stumbling upon a place of employ that sparks everlasting joy, you may find that sticking to something, despite the hardships, will make you better at what you do. And the better you are at something, the more likely you will enjoy (even if you never adore) it. Cleary was an ideal place to nurture a career (as opposed to a job)—working on sophisticated deals, alongside whip smart colleagues and training underneath mentors who proactively scrutinized you and your work so you could continually move forward.


What Cleary person and/or experience had a lasting impact on you personally?

Sung K. Kang and Robert Williams were great mentors who put up with a lot from me—but also those whom I could enjoy drinks with over a delicious meal. Aside from the top brass, I also value all my fellow associates, who are too many to name but with whom I will remain in lifelong contact, though many of us have left the firm.

Why do you participate in the alumni network, and what would you say to someone who is considering getting involved?

Free drinks and food. And, of course, the camaraderie when remaining in contact with alumni and current Cleary folks.

 

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What lessons did you learn at Cleary that prepared you for your future career?


There are a few lessons that really stand out in my mind from the time I spent at Cleary. The first is that hard work pays off. The work ethic that being a Cleary associate instilled in me will be with me forever, and it has made tackling challenges in my roles post-Cleary much more doable. I have the stamina and analytical abilities necessary to work through hard problems because of the skills I learned at Cleary while working on such complex and interesting legal issues.

The second lesson is that being flexible and open to learning new things is a skill. As lawyers we are constantly asked to understand very complex issues quickly so that we can apply legal analysis to a new set of facts. Understanding new complex issues is very difficult in and of itself, much less layered on top of complex legal and regulatory frameworks or requirements. During my time at Cleary, I was constantly asked to quickly learn new sets of complex facts (anything from how complex financial instruments are priced and traded to what factors geotechnical engineers consider when building a dam) and going through that process over and over again taught me how to ask the right questions and distill very complicated information into bite-sized pieces that I could understand and build from (and then explain to others). That skill has served me very well in all of my post-Cleary work, perhaps most significantly, in the confidence it gave me to take on roles and challenges where I didn’t necessarily have expertise, but I took them on anyway, knowing that I would be able to build up the knowledge base I needed quickly.

What Cleary person and/or experience had a lasting impact on you personally?

I have to say that the relationships that I established with my peers during my time at the firm have endured and had a huge impact on me personally. I loved the relationships that I built in my associate class (and other associates that I worked with throughout my time there) and those relationships made coming to work every day a pleasure. Some of my very best friends are still my friends from Cleary and we have stayed in very close touch – still working through personal and professional challenges together. Those friendships will have a lasting impact on me forever, and have created an amazing network of other lawyers that are out doing extremely interesting things.

Why do you participate in the alumni network, and what would you say to someone who is considering getting involved?

Cleary’s incredible alumni network is one of its greatest strengths. I am always in awe of how far reaching it is, and how open and helpful Cleary alums are to one another. All Cleary alumni share a special bond and I think that says a lot about the firm and the people that it attracts. I find the relationships I’ve established through the alumni network to be very rewarding, and I also love connecting with current associates who have interests that overlap with mine and are looking for guidance. I also really appreciate that the alumni team at Cleary is so professional and always actively looking to engage the alumni community, which is a huge asset that the firm doesn’t take for granted, and I really love that.

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