Alumni Spotlight: Rafik Mzah (2008-2012; Paris)

July 14, 2021

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

Rafik Mzah, Chief Legal Officer at AfricInvest in France, shared his thoughts below.

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

Cleary was my first professional experience and the most intense learning experience in my career. The learning curve was exponential compared to my university experience: knowing the importance of rigor and the need to go deep into the bottom of every question and matter were skills that I learned at Cleary. I have been using this ability daily in my career to explore all sides of a given question or matter. At Cleary, I was able to enhance my management of the work load and to support intense work peaks while also managing demanding clients (and partners).

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

Gamal Abouali is one of the partners who gave me the opportunity to join the firm and I will always be grateful for the trust he gave me. The different missions I have made with his team were very teaching. I also had the opportunity to work with Valérie Lemaître, Jean-Pierre Vignaud, Barthelemy Faye, Andrew Bernstein and many other partners of the Paris office on several transactions. Working by their side was a very rich experience for me. Most importantly, I have kept longstanding friendships with many Cleary associates that were in the Paris office from 2008 until 2012 and that I still see very frequently. I am truly blessed to have met them at Cleary.

Why do you participate in the alumni network, and what would you say to someone who is considering getting involved?

Cleary is more than a network. It is part of my personal and professional history and it is always great to keep a link with the past. Of course we all have very full agendas with professional and personal responsibilities, but being able to keep this link with the past and with Cleary people, even once a year, is very important to me.

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