Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Cleary Gottlieb is a vibrant and engaging community, home to an eclectic group of people of various backgrounds.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not mere buzzwords; they’re in our DNA and are absolutely central to our firm’s founding principles and ongoing identity. At Cleary, all members of our community deserve respect as individuals and appreciation for the contributions they make to our community. We champion diversity, equity, and inclusion, and creating equal opportunities to develop and succeed.

Our culture of inclusion is a reflection of our global legal practice. We work daily with clients around the world on matters involving a broad array of legal, business, and social/cultural perspectives. To further ensure we remain an open and innovative workplace, we actively support community, outreach and training programs focused on issues of diversity.

We believe all Cleary lawyers benefit from interacting with the creativity, talents and perspectives contributed by people of different backgrounds and experiences, and that our firm-wide efforts to nurture diversity help us more effectively serve an even broader range of clients.

Some of our firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives include:

Women’s Working Group

Cleary’s female lawyers, including associates and partners, attend our Women’s Working Group training sessions on career networking and professional development. The group’s activities include networking receptions with female clients, lunch discussions with a variety of speakers and events with Cleary alumnae. Participants foster a sense of community, hone their skills and enjoy the support of a relevant professional network.

Outreach to Law Students

Cleary hosts a series of on-campus chats with a broad range of affinity groups from various law schools; these include African American, Latinx, Asian American, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, LGBT, and other diverse law student associations. These forums engender lively discussions about issues facing, and opportunities available to, diverse lawyers in large law firms.

Other law student-related initiatives include:

A position in our summer associate program for a first-year law student committed to building a more inclusive legal community.

Participation in the Harvard BLSA Spring Conference and Job Fair, the Georgetown University Law Center BLSA Diversity Reception and Women’s Legal Alliance Career Fair and Networking Reception, the University of Virginia BLSA Diversity Reception, the Washington Area Legal Recruitment Administrators Association, the Summer Associate Diversity Program, and the D.C. Road Show.

  • A mock interview program for diverse first-year law students.
  • Programming for law students participating in the Council on Legal Education Opportunity.
  • Participation on panels hosted by diverse student organizations at various law schools.

Cleary Scholars

In support of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we have launched Cleary Scholars, a program designed to create opportunity and access for law students to enter and succeed in private legal practice and help mitigate the cost of law school. Cleary Gottlieb welcomes talented law school students to join our diverse community and collaborate with our lawyers on an exciting range of matters across our world class practice, while creating meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients. Learn more about the Cleary Scholars program here.

Pipeline Initiatives

Cleary is a longtime participant and supporter of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a program that provides students of color with legal internships and training prior to their first year of law school. In 2008 we became an inaugural participant of SEO in Washington, D.C.

Other pipeline initiatives include:

  • Hosting NYC Legal Outreach, a one-week program designed to give a select group of minority students an introduction to life as a lawyer, including negotiating mock contracts and litigating a case before a group of volunteer “judges.”
  • Participation in the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, which places high-achieving inner-city high school students with law firm employers for the summer.
  • Serving as mentors in the Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program (PALS), as well as assisting with related mock interview workshops. PALS offers customized mentoring and educational and professional development opportunities to law students of color attending New York City-area law schools.

Washington Irving Campus Partnership

In 1991, Cleary initiated a partnership with Washington Irving High School, a New York City public school. Through this program we mentor, tutor and advise students in preparation for college and adult life. We also run after-school clubs such as Mock Trial and Model United Nations, hire student interns, and sponsor annual events to promote the students’ various academic and cultural talents.

In 2015, more than 200 Cleary lawyers and staff participated in this partnership, helping more than 400 students.

Summer Internship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch

In partnership with Bank of America, we provide summer associates who are committed to advancing diversity in the legal profession the opportunity to participate in a short-term internship working with lawyers in the company’s legal and compliance departments.

Open Benefits Policy

To fully support our lawyers we offer liberal maternity and paternity leaves; circumstances allowing, we provide flexible work schedules. Our benefits policy is open to same-sex couples.

Supplier Diversity Program

We are committed to procurement processes that will enhance opportunities for diverse suppliers to provide our firm with competitive and high-quality products and services. We are also active in encouraging major suppliers that do not qualify as diverse suppliers to commit to and support their own supplier diversity initiatives.

For more information about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Cleary, view our brochure.