Carmine D. Boccuzzi Jr.
Cleary puts a premium on collaboration. We’re not rigid in any way, whether hierarchical or across practice areas. As the firm has grown, we’ve preserved a system where junior and senior lawyers work together, and matters are staffed efficiently so people get maximum experience.
In his litigation and arbitration practice, Carmine Boccuzzi represents foreign states and state-owned entities. He is also an expert on domestic civil matters. Over the years, Carmine and the rest of Cleary’s litigation group have handled cases in some of the most challenging areas, ranging from the collapse of the derivatives market to the defense of Argentina following its 2001 economic crisis to pro bono matters involving constitutional issues.View Profile
But Carmine hasn’t forgotten the feeling of joining the firm as a new associate nearly two decades ago, when he was encouraged to jump in and work alongside partners. Now a partner himself, Carmine and his senior colleagues still enjoy this team-oriented approach, fostering opportunities for associates to engage with litigation partners as well as experts from the firm’s corporate areas.
Victor L. Hou
What sets Cleary lawyers apart is our commitment to client causes, creativity, love of the law and a spirit of cooperation…that’s the fabric of our firm, across all offices and practice areas. New York is one of the world’s most exciting legal markets, but having an integrated worldwide partnership means the sun never really sets on our reach.
Litigation careers don’t come more exciting than Victor Hou’s—racketeering, terrorism, drug trafficking, murder and securities fraud represent just a few of the cases he tried as a federal prosecutor. Since joining Cleary Gottlieb in 2007, Victor has helped lead the rapid growth of the firm’s litigation group: an expansion he attributes to its ability to mobilize quickly, public-mindedness and extraordinary depth of experience. The group includes numerous former prosecutors and general counsels of the SEC. Recent litigation matters have involved Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and Madoff-related matters. Perhaps more importantly, associates are encouraged to engage quickly, and initiative is rewarded.View Profile
Jorge U. Juantorena
Law students who want to be corporate lawyers aspire to be leaders at the negotiating table. That’s exactly the opportunity at Cleary. Because of our culture, compensation and taking credit for a transaction aren’t issues here. You are allowed to handle as much as you are capable of.
Engage Jorge Juantorena in a conversation about Cleary Gottlieb, and teasing out his feelings about the firm will not be an issue. It is, in his words, a special place to practice. A point he makes by taking a page from his own career.View Profile
As a senior associate, Jorge joined a team advising the Mexican government on the privatization of its airports. Recognizing his growing capital markets expertise, the two partners on the assignment stepped back and allowed him to be the day-to-day leader of the assignment. Their confidence was hardly misplaced: All told, Cleary Gottlieb successfully closed three IPOs as part of the assignment with an aggregate value of about $2 billion.
Jeffrey D. Karpf
The breadth of experience at Cleary Gottlieb is invaluable. As an associate I worked on mortgage-backed securities, and never expected to hear the term again. A dozen years later, I tapped every bit of financial knowledge I’d gained.
Jeff Karpf started his relationship with Citigroup when he was seconded to Travelers Group during its mega-merger with Citicorp – the union creating Citigroup, which in 1998 became the world’s largest financial services company.View Profile
Fast forward to the 2008 financial crisis and he could not be advising Citigroup at a more demanding moment: its exposure to subprime mortgages had left the bank reeling. Drawing on his long experience representing Wall Street investment banks, not to mention advising the Russian government on its debt restructuring, Karpf led Citi's negotiations with the U.S. Treasury. The result: the bank quickly repaid the government and shed TARP supervision. All of which earned Jeff an American Lawyer "Dealmaker of the Week."
Jennifer Kennedy Park
At Cleary Gottlieb, you get the chance to think about big, interesting issues. Bank of America is a perfect example -- because what might win you the litigation might also garner you a bad press day. When your client is on the front page, you have to find a creative approach.
When Jennifer Kennedy Park joined Cleary Gottlieb in 2003, she anticipated working on cases that resonated, and playing a role that mattered. Expectations met: she is now working with the litigation team defending Bank of America in lawsuits arising from its merger with Merrill Lynch, and was part of the team that handled the federal and state investigations of the bank during the financial crisis.View Profile
Caught in the media glare of too-big-to-fail issues, and seeking a firm with reputation for solving apparently unsolvable problems, Bank of America had turned to Cleary Gottlieb.
Arthur H. Kohn
Following the model -- doing things the way they've always been done -- works well for a lot of firms. But that's not Cleary Gottlieb. We encourage people to think. Which means, let me pause for a minute and consider whether there's a better way to do it today than there was yesterday.
Ask Arthur Kohn to distill Cleary Gottlieb's approach to diversity and this is what he will tell you: individuality is respected, opportunities to shine are a given. As chair of our Committee on Diversity Issues, Arthur notes that the firm’s make up has evolved: our lawyers have different backgrounds, different histories, different perspectives. And notes our tradition of diversity that dates back to the founding of the firm in 1946.View Profile
Yet, for all the changes and differences, Arthur points out that lawyers here share a frame of mind. One that has propelled his own career as one of the leading lawyers in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation.
Chantal E. Kordula
I’d never managed a team that large on my own, but Cleary Gottlieb lawyers not only are exceptional, they work together. We negotiated during the day, and turned around documents at night. And everyone inside Cleary Gottlieb was available to us – we called with a question, they found us an answer.
In 2008, with Wall Street financing all but frozen, Chantal Kordula joined a Cleary Gottlieb team that nonetheless pulled off a $2.5 billion transaction for Grupo Bimbo, the international baked goods company. Last year, however, she faced an even stiffer challenge on Grupo Bimbo's behalf.View Profile
Her task: lead a diverse team of some 30 lawyers negotiating the purchase of Sara Lee's baked goods division, a deal requiring 16 intellectual property agreements. And do it all inside 24 days. The results: Cleary Gottlieb hit its deadline, and Grupo Bimbo will become the largest company of its kind in the world – earning Chantal an American Lawyer "Dealmaker of the Week."
There is nothing more satisfying than watching junior associates grow and gain confidence in their abilities. I make it a priority to put junior associates in front of the client. They have a fresh perspective and intuit things differently, and they work well with the private equity firms’ junior folks—the decision-makers of tomorrow. It’s a win-win for senior and junior lawyers alike.
Listening to Liza Lenas talk about her career at Cleary, one theme quickly emerges: the importance of building relationships. Liza mentors new associates entering the firm, ensuring that they are engaged in firm life from day one. Meanwhile, her private equity group holds twice-monthly “office hours,” where the team gets together in an informal setting to discuss their experiences on current projects and developments in this rapidly evolving area. These sessions have proved invaluable in navigating the new regulatory environment for clients and their investors worldwide. Liza considers law a “people profession” and with good reason.View Profile
Francesca L. Odell
I made sure that I got to know the right people — the CFOs and CEOs who were entering the IPO market — and started developing a list of clients. We’d handle a deal for one team of bankers, solidify our relationship with them, and they’d hire us for another transaction. So our business really picked up momentum — from 2005 through 2007 alone, we handled some 30 IPOs.
When Francesca Odell handled her first assignment for Petrobras, the leading oil company in Brazil, the country was gaining stability and taking a prominent role in Latin America. In the short space of four years, Francesca not only earned more business with Petrobras, but also won several other clients for Cleary Gottlieb, blazing one of the premier practices in Brazil.View Profile
Timing was hardly all that mattered, however. Francesca learned Portuguese on the fly, took the reins of a capital markets team for the first time, and perhaps most importantly, resolutely built one relationship after the next.
Breon S. Peace
Pick up The Wall Street Journal and look at their coverage of pending significant government investigations and corporate litigation. Are we involved with those cases? Absolutely. Leading corporations are regularly turning to us to handle their most important litigation and enforcement matters. For example, after the Madoff Ponzi scheme was revealed, several clients hired us to represent them in Madoff-related litigation and investigations. Billions of dollars are at stake. When I was a junior associate, we didn’t often work on those kinds of matters. We do now.
After serving as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office, and teaching at New York University Law School, Breon Peace decided to resume private practice. While he could have gone to other prestigious firms, he chose to return to Cleary Gottlieb. One of the many factors influencing his decision: the substantial growth and depth of the firm's litigation practice. When Breon was a junior associate, some 50 lawyers worked in the New York litigation group. When he rejoined the firm, that number had doubled – and now it has tripled. Another measure of the group's stature? The buzz beyond the numbers:View Profile
Amy R. Shapiro
Associates look at my habits and how I interact with clients and counterparties. As an example, I try to make time to explain why I take a certain approach, because one of the most important things they can glean is a sense of the bigger picture. That way, when they step up on the next deal, they will do so having benefitted from a better sense of what we are doing and why we are doing it.
As a new associate in 2003, Amy Shapiro was eager to become involved in corporate finance and acquisition transactions — Cleary gave her the opportunity to jump in with both feet. For several years she worked closely with one of the leading telecom companies in the Americas on tender offers, syndicated loans and securities offerings. A subsequent project featured a down-to-the-wire bond refinancing and high-stakes shareholder meeting, encouraging her to take on greater challenges and responsibilities within the firm’s supportive and collegial culture. Having benefited from mentors at Cleary, she's now mindful to return the favor:View Profile
Elizabeth (Lisa) Vicens
Cleary appreciates the unique interests and background that every attorney brings and is looking for candidates who also appreciate a diversity of experience, because that is what our firm reflects—people who are talented, smart, and interesting in their own ways.
Lisa Vicens sees life through an international lens. Before becoming the first lawyer in her family, she earned a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. Now she enjoys the complex, international dimension of her work at Cleary. Lisa’s litigation practice covers a range of issues, including enforcement and securities, and she often represents Latin American clients. She thrives on Cleary’s high-profile, cutting-edge cases, where international clients depend on the firm’s nuanced understanding of the effects of U.S. litigation and government investigations on their businesses. As the mother of a toddler, Lisa also loves the firm’s supportive mentoring group for new parents, where colleagues share how best to balance work and life.View Profile
Mary P. Watson
One thing I love about Cleary Gottlieb is doing new things, really re-engaging with my career. Which is hardly unusual. People here are surprised at how much they like their work, surprised at how much they like the people they work with – and are surprised at how long they stay.
Keeping careers fresh is one part of Cleary Gottlieb life that Mary Watson, our Director of Professional Development, knows a thing or two about. Mary started her career as a litigator, before making a move to arbitration and employment issues. What's more, her career has ventured outside of the firm: she recently took a sabbatical to serve as the dean of the faculty at a private school in Brooklyn, where she once chaired its Classics department.View Profile
As it's turned out, that kind of mobility has kept Mary in one place – Cleary Gottlieb.
Steven L. Wilner
Stepping away from the mother ship, if you will, really gave me a sense of how unique this firm is. You can be a senior associate negotiating with a partner, or a young partner negotiating with senior partner. The more willing you are to take up a challenge, the more likely you are to succeed.
While Steve Wilner is considered one of the country's best real estate lawyers, he also maintains a strong hand in several other practices. Indeed, if there is a subtext to his career, it might be this: opportunities presented, opportunities seized. Not sure which area of the law suited his interests, he explored and thrived in more than a few – real estate, mergers & acquisitions, and private equity. Next up: a five-year assignment abroad, where he teamed with other Cleary Gottlieb offices to represent a group of Malaysian investors. Settled back in New York in 2006, he brought a fresh perspective of his own career – and Cleary Gottlieb.View Profile