How We’re Connected

Cleary Gottlieb’s longstanding commitment to public service dates back to three of our founders:

  • George W. Ball, undersecretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
  • Fowler Hamilton, director of the Agency for International Development
  • Henry J. Friendly, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Public Service

This commitment continues today. Many of our senior lawyers have held prestigious government and public sector posts, including:

  • Two former general counsel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and three former SEC division directors
  • Eight former assistant U.S. attorneys
  • In the U.S., former senior officials of the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the Air Force
  • In Europe, a member of the Commission Bancaire et Financière, the Belgian banking and supervisory authority
  • In Asia, a deputy chairman of the Takeovers and Mergers Panel and a member of the Takeovers Appeal Committee of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong

Cleary lawyers also have trained as judicial clerks, including for justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice. Others direct community-planning organizations; are active within national and international bar associations; serve on the governing boards of municipalities, schools and hospitals; and participate in civic organizations committed to the arts, community welfare, civil rights, education and the environment.


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

Cleary alumni have gone on to join the legal departments of corporations and financial institutions, to teach at universities and to pursue fields completely outside of the law. Our former partners have held distinguished roles in government, academia, the corporate world and other positions. From a former president of the United Nations General Assembly to an Academy Award winner, the impressive positions that our alumni have held reflect both the quality of our training and our global reach. These positions have included:

  • Special assistant to the President of the United States and senior director for African Affairs
  • National Security Council director for Russia
  • General counsel for the Department of the Army
  • Senior restructuring officer of the U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
  • Deputy assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Senior officials of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York 
  • Advocate general at the European Court of Justice
  • Belgium’s ambassador to the United States
  • Member of the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, representing the European Communities
  • General counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • 29 United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization officials
  • President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • A Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
  • Authors of books on the law, current events and academic subjects, as well as writers of trade nonfiction












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