Culture

Cleary Gottlieb was founded in 1946 by lawyers committed to excellence in the practice of law, maintaining the highest ethical standards and diversity and individuality in its lawyers. Consistent with the vision of its founders, Cleary Gottlieb is committed to openness, diversity, personality and collegiality. 

The organization and governance of the firm are democratic and participatory. At the heart of the firm’s culture is its seniority-based (“lock-step”) compensation system for partners and associates that promotes the unity of the firm, avoids internal dissension and competition and promotes the full application of the firm’s resources to the service of clients. The firm operates from the principle that each lawyer of the same seniority can and should make an equivalent contribution to the firm’s success.

We are not rigidly organized by departments, and our informal structure facilitates fluid team building as needed for particular projects. Practice groups and subgroups meet regularly to share recent experiences on client projects, to participate in training programs and to exchange information about recent developments in law and practice.

Organized and operated as a single, integrated, worldwide partnership, Cleary Gottlieb employs more than 1,200 lawyers of diverse backgrounds and nationalities admitted to practice in various jurisdictions around the world. For over 50 years, the firm’s legal staff has included European lawyers, most of whom received a part of their academic legal training in the United States and many of whom have worked in one of the firm’s U.S. offices. The firm first elected a European lawyer as a partner in 1960.