Starting at Cleary

While our search for candidates is broad, our focus is narrow: hiring lawyers who thrive at a firm that emphasizes excellence and collegiality.

Cleary has developed a diverse, first-rate firm by recruiting in Germany and abroad, but without pre-conceived notions of what makes a first-rate lawyer. Instead, the common thread that ties together all our hires is talent.

Seeking Excellence and Creativity

We seek lawyers who are confident in their abilities and creative in their thinking. To find these attributes in a lawyer, we look for academically excellent candidates who are enthusiastic about practicing law in a challenging and dynamic international setting.


We recruit fully qualified lawyers, stagiaires (Referendare and juristische/wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter) and legal interns throughout the year.


We are looking primarily for German-qualified lawyers who have completed their legal studies and education. Candidates are expected to have graduated with a “vollbefriedigend” in both state examinations. While an LL.M. degree from a U.S. law school or equivalent is not essential, it is highly desirable that candidates have this qualification. Fluency in the English language is essential.

We also welcome applications from lawyers with relevant professional experience. We make lateral hiring decisions based on current needs.

Stagiaires and Legal Interns

Our programs for stagiaires and legal interns provide an introduction to the practice of law at Cleary.

We aim to involve our stagiaires and legal interns in the firm’s practice as much as possible. Tasks may include drafting memoranda, briefs, or contract clauses; participating in due diligence and client meetings; and doing legal research.

An associate is assigned to each stagiaire and legal intern to assist them during the period of orientation. Our internal Continuing Legal Education program is also open to our stagiaires and legal interns. Aside from providing on-the-job training, we work closely with KAISER Repetitorium to support our Referendare with their exam preparation.

Referendare are welcome to apply for their Anwalts- and/or their Wahlstation in one of our German offices. In exceptional cases, we offer the opportunity to spend a part of this stage in one of our international offices. The aim of the stage is to give the Referendar a chance to work with and get to know us—and vice versa—with a view to possible permanent employment as an associate of the firm.

In addition, we are always looking for lawyers and law students who have at least partially completed their First State Exam and are interested in gaining work experience as juristische/wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter. Because we offer flexible working hours, many people choose to work with us during their doctoral thesis or their legal clerkship, or between study periods, for example, before or after participating in an LL.M. program. 

Law students who have completed their Zwischenprüfung (or equivalent) are welcome to spend a period of 4-8 weeks as legal interns in either our Cologne or our Frankfurt office.  

U.S./UK LL.M. Recruiting

Given the international nature of our work, we attract German law students who choose to add an LL.M. degree to their German legal qualifications. Each year, the firm hosts events in London and New York and attends LL.M. fairs. If you would like to learn more about our recent LL.M. events, please visit our Recruiting Events section.

Equal Employment Opportunity

From its inception, Cleary has strived to maintain a friendly and collegial atmosphere that makes our offices a positive and supportive place in which to work. We believe strongly in the desirability of a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, where all of us observe the highest professional standards and treat each other with civility, respect, and dignity. Consistent with these goals, the firm has a policy prohibiting any form of discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived age, alienage or citizenship, ancestry, arrest or conviction record, color, creed, disability, domestic partnership status, gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, genetic predisposition or genetic carrier status, marital status, military status, national origin, partnership status, pregnancy, childbirth- and pregnancy-related medical conditions, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation or preference, status as a victim of domestic violence, status as a victim of stalking or a sex offense, unemployment, veteran status, or any other category protected by law. This policy applies to all employment-related matters, including recruitment, hiring, placement, assignments, training, compensation, promotion, and termination.