Alumni Spotlight: Daniel Malech (2009-2014; New York)

October 21, 2021

To celebrate Cleary Gottlieb’s 75th anniversary, alumni around the globe are taking time to reflect on their experiences at the firm.

Daniel Malech, Senior Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel & Compliance Officer at Plenty in California, shares his thoughts below.

What lessons did you learn at Cleary that prepared you for your future career?

Above all, Cleary taught me what perfect (in terms of analytical rigor, work product, and client service) looks like, the unique mindset and mental energy it takes to get there, and how to truly work a problem all the way through. In the “real world” of day-to-day transactions that I live in now, that level of attention to detail and intellectual energy tends to be uneconomical, and the marginal cost of anything beyond “good enough” isn’t worth it. But sometimes it is – e.g., large, transformative, and/or high-risk transactions – and knowing how to dial it back up when necessary is a real superpower that many people don’t ever learn. And the rigor required to be able to do so bleeds into and informs calibration against the day-to-day in subtle ways as well.

What Cleary person and/or experience had a lasting impact on you personally?

Person that had an impact on me: There are many, but I’ll talk about Meme Peponis. I learned so much about the “right” way to do things, and about how to manage people – both team members and counterparties – in a way that combines incredibly high standards with a very human touch. Meme’s a badass.

Experience that had an impact on me: Working on the OGX restructuring with Rich Cooper, Adam Brenneman, Paco, and others. That was such a crazy deal. Has served as a bit of a benchmark for me ever since by which to measure complexity, transactional difficulty, and sleep deprivation.

To learn more about Cleary’s global alumni network, click here.