Innovative Work and Practice Highlights

Read our Practice Area Highlights brochure and learn more about select practices below.


Cleary’s antitrust lawyers work in all areas of antitrust law, including pre-merger notification and substantive defense of transactions; every type and stage of government investigation, including cartels; wide range of civil and criminal antitrust litigation; state aid awards; and general counseling, antitrust audits, and compliance programs. Our antitrust work focuses on regulations that monitor the distribution of economic power in business, making sure that healthy competition is allowed to flourish and economies can grow. Antitrust laws apply to nearly all industries and sectors, touching every level of business, including manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and marketing, in order to prohibit business practices that restrain trade, including price-fixing conspiracies, corporate mergers that are likely to cut back the competitiveness of certain markets, and predatory acts designed to gain or hold on to monopoly power.

Bankruptcy and Restructuring

Cleary advises clients on complex, multijurisdictional bankruptcy and restructuring matters. We work on legal proceedings involving people or businesses that are unable to repay their outstanding debts. The bankruptcy process begins with a petition filed by the debtor, which is most common, or on behalf of creditors, which is less common. All of the debtor’s assets are measured and evaluated, and the assets may be used to repay a portion of outstanding debt. Restructuring is a related process by which a company significantly modifies the financial and operational aspects of the company, usually when the business is facing financial pressures. A company restructures its operations or structure by cutting costs, such as payroll, or reducing its size through the sale of assets.

Capital Markets

Cleary’s capital markets practice represents issuers and market participants worldwide on disclosure and corporate governance matters, corporate and securities regulatory issues, and transactional structuring. Capital markets channel savings and investments between suppliers who have capital and those who are in need of capital. The entities that have capital include retail and institutional investors, while those who seek capital are businesses, governments, and people. The most common capital markets are the stock market and the bond market.

Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits

Cleary guides multinational corporate clients in structuring executive compensation arrangements that achieve the delicate balance between executive, corporate, and shareholder interests. As a multidisciplinary practice, our lawyers provide advice in transactional, advisory, and litigation matters for businesses in the United States, Europe, and other jurisdictions. In the United States, our work often involves a close understanding of The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which protects retirement assets by implementing rules that qualified plans must follow. Under ERISA, plans must provide participants with information about plan features and funding and regularly furnish information free of charge.

Intellectual Property

Cleary’s intellectual property practice offers our clients the complete range of legal services for enforcing, defending, commercializing, exploiting, and acquiring patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, and data, whether standalone, in M&A deals, or in a variety of other transactions. IP covers the set of a company’s intangible assets that are legally protected from outside use or implementation without the company’s consent, including patents, trade secrets, copyrights, franchises, and trademarks or simply business ideas.

Latin America

Cleary’s Latin America practice covers a broad range of legal work for a variety of clients in the region. We have played key roles in international transactions for sovereigns, some of the largest corporates, state-owned entities, foreign investors, and underwriters. Lawyers in this group focus on capital markets, project finance, joint ventures, debt management, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, arbitration, and investigations. They also have deep sector knowledge in mining and metals, water, oil and gas, energy, transportation, telecommunications, infrastructure, and food services.

Litigation and Arbitration

Cleary has helped governments, corporations, financial institutions, and individuals in cases that have dominated world business and legal news. We handle litigation and arbitration involving a wide variety of issues, such as securities, derivatives, M&A, sovereign debt, investment treaties, antitrust, bankruptcy, white- collar crime, employment, executive compensation, intellectual property, and general commercial disputes. Many of Cleary’s most important and enduring client relationships originated with a dispute-related matter.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Join Ventures

Cleary represents a diverse range of international and domestic companies and financial institutions in large-scale mergers, acquisitions, and standard-setting transactions in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. We work with clients on consolidating companies or assets through various types of financial transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, tender offers, purchase of assets, and management acquisitions. Although the terms “mergers” and “acquisitions” are often used interchangeably, they are different: A merger describes two firms of approximately the same size that join forces to move forward as a single new entity, rather than remain separately owned and operated; both companies’ stocks are surrendered and new company stock is issued in its place. An acquisition happens when one company takes over another entity and establishes itself as the new owner; the target company ceases to exist, the buyer absorbs the business, and the buyer’s stock continues to be traded, while the target company’s stock ceases to trade.

Private Equity

Cleary’s private equity practice advises clients in every aspect of private equity, protecting and advancing their business interests in a broad range of industries and in every region of the world. With offices in the United States, Europe and Asia, lawyers from the firm’s tax, employee benefits, real estate, leveraged finance, M&A and capital markets practices assist clients in every phase of a fund’s life cycle—formation, making investments, strategic initiatives and exiting investments.

Project Finance and Infrastructure

Cleary’s project finance lawyers work with clients from a project’s initiation until its completion, creating innovative structures, finding solutions that meet the objectives of multiple parties and helping with projects that face challenging industry conditions. We advise sovereigns, multinational and domestic corporations, and banks and other financial institutions on an extensive range of domestic and international transactions, with an emphasis on projects in emerging markets, in industries including energy (oil, gas and electric), water and wastewater, transportation, mining, and telecommunications.

Real Estate

Cleary’s real estate practice is diversified and global, spanning the full range of transaction types, regions, and asset classes. The firm has a long-standing record of advising on large and high-profile real estate acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, financings, and restructurings. We work with clients on three basic categories of real estate transactions: residential, commercial, and industrial. These deals involve investing in real estate directly—buying land or property—or indirectly through buying shares in publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) or mortgage- backed securities.

Structured Finance

Cleary’s structured finance group plays a pivotal role in advising large financial institutions or companies on complex financing needs that go beyond conventional financial products. The group pioneered many of the key products used widely in today’s markets, including the development of the first collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO), collateralized bond obligation (CBO), agency real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC), interest rate swap, and currency swap.


Cleary’s tax practice provides clients with sophisticated and practical advice on tax planning, tax strategies for transactions, cross-border issues, and the resolution of difficult tax controversies. Our tax group serves multinational industrial clients, financial institutions, investment funds, governments, and individuals in matters including assistance in obtaining governmental rulings in various countries; cross-border direct investments; domestic and multinational mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and startups; derivatives and other financial products; international capital markets transactions; investment funds, including private equity funds and hedge funds; restructurings and bankruptcies; project and lease financings; real estate transactions and financings, including work for REITs; structured financings; tax controversies, investigations, and litigation; and tax planning for multinational enterprises.