Cleary Gottlieb Achieves Excellent Results in the IFLR 1000 2013 Guide

November 19, 2012

Cleary Gottlieb has been acclaimed in the latest edition of the IFLR 1000 guide, with more than 55 of the firm’s practices in Europe, Asia, the U.S., Latin America and Africa recommended.

The following Cleary Gottlieb practices are recognized for being among the best in the world based on IFLR 1000’s interviews with firm clients and competitors, with some selected quotes: 

European Union

EU Competition: In the words of competitors Cleary Gottlieb remains the “gold standard” for Brussels, or reflecting the frustration of competitors, “a sort of monolith sitting in Brussels” … the firm continues to secure some of the biggest roles, in the sectors under most scrutiny. Of late it has been a pivotal player in the technology/IT sectors, e-book investigations and financial/banking sectors advising on merger control, state aid and Article 101 and 102 cases. 

Western Europe


Banking & Project Finance: The Cleary team in Belgium is compact but highly regarded. The team tends to pick its mandates with care, but the quality of the work is not in doubt.

Capital Markets

Mergers & Acquisitions: According to peers, Cleary maintains its position this year because of its high profile deals …. the firm’s lawyers are highly recommended in the market.


Banking: Cleary Gottlieb brings in some big-ticket mandates that pitch the firm high up in the market. 

Capital Markets: Debt

Capital Markets: Equity

Capital Markets: Structured Finance and Securitization

Cleary has a lot of support for its capital markets practice in both equity and debt. “No firm is better than them,” says a competitor.
The firm’s position can only benefit from current circumstances, with clients looking increasingly to the capital markets, the growth in Yankee bond activity and the attractiveness of the US capital markets to European issuers. The firm has a very strong practice in high-yield bonds and Rule 144 SEC registered issuances, which rivals the dominance of the European firms in the EMTN market. 

Mergers & Acquisitions

Private Equity

Cleary Gottlieb has a broad spread of deals mainly at the high end of the market: large public M&A, private M&A and large cap LBOs (before the market dried up in late 2011). The firm has a bench of 14 partners who can act on M&A transactions … Notably, the firm picked up quite a few large mandates in 2011-12 for financial institutions working to raise solvency margins in light of Basel III requirements.

Project Finance: Cleary Gottlieb’s Paris office is especially strong as a base for financings directed towards the African continent, where in 2011-2012 the firm advised borrowers primarily but also closed deals on behalf of international finance institutions (IFIs). In the market, the firm has strong reputation for its project advisory and expertise.

Restructuring & Insolvency: Cleary Gottlieb’s broad disciplined team has been involved in some high level cases … The firm has been very busy in the financial sector. 



Capital Markets: Debt

Capital Markets: Equity

“They are a great team; very hard working. Very good if you have difficult due diligence cases – they really drill down until you’re satisfied. They have very strong standards of integrity and they try to do things by the rule book.”

Mergers & Acquisitions: Cleary’s M&A practice is focussed on the quality as opposed to the volume of deals, say rivals. While the firm is involved in several high end deals, it also secured roles on a number of midcap deals. 



Capital Markets: In Italy Cleary is known for its strength in equity capital markets work particularly IPOs.

Mergers & Acquisitions: “In terms of quality of the work they are very good.” 

Project Finance
Restructuring & Insolvency

United Kingdom

Banking Lending

Bank Lending: Sponsor side

Capital Markets: Debt 

[T]he firm has a habit of appearing on some of the market’s largest and most bespoke transactions...its talented team of individuals are some of the most highly regarded practitioners in the City.

Alongside its obvious strength in US linked work like Rule 144A/Reg S issues, the team can also point to an extremely strong Russian practice.

Capital Markets: Equity and AIM: Cleary’s London partners tend to work in both the equity and debt fields and are accomplished in both. The firm’s team overall is compact but a good choice for US or Russian linked work due to its strength in both its home base and in Moscow. 

Capital Markets: High Yield

Mergers & Acquisitions: Cleary’s London team … has great strength in key areas. Russia and Central Asia have always been a key focus but the team is also picking up mandates in Turkey.

Private Equity Transactions

Restructuring: Debt: The firm is involved in a number of substantial mandates globally. 
Central & Eastern Europe 


Banking: Hand in hand with its international reputation, Cleary Gottlieb is best known in the Russian market for its equity capital markets and corporate expertise. Specific to Russia however is that the office has developed a strong working relationship with state entities, exposing to big transactions across the board.

Capital Market: Debt

Capital Markets: Equity

Cleary Gottlieb keeps a privileged position at the top of both the equity and debt capital market tables. The firm is traditionally more dominant on the equity side, however commentators in the market do not doubt its position in either area.

Mergers & Acquisitions: Cleary Gottlieb has an impressive roster of completed billion dollar-plus M&A and private equity deals in 2011-2012. “They are in the top five M&A firms in the country,” says one client, while another adds that the team is “excellent” … for M&A transactions with a heavy equity capital markets component it is in high demand.

Restructuring & Insolvency

North America

United States

Banking Lending: Cleary Gottlieb’s bank lending practice, while distinct from its M&A practice, has a focus on putting financing in place for significant acquisitions. It continues to do steady and solid work in this area and to receive acclaim and recognition throughout the industry.

Financial Services Regulatory: The financial services regulatory team at Cleary remains at the top of what has become an increasingly busy market. The firm expanded its capacity with three new partners last year.

According to one client of the firm: “With respect to regulatory work, we use Cleary in a number of different areas. We choose Cleary because from a technical perspective, their knowledge is sound and up to date. They’re critically connected, they know how things in the market are going. Most of our issues have been more a grey area than a solid black of white. The lawyers’ thorough, pragmatic view is where their strength is.”

A second client states: “There are bank regulatory specialists out there [from other firms], but when you ask them to apply that to investment banking sales and trading operations, they’re not always sure.”

Investment Funds: Private Funds: Cleary’s fund formation team has the advantage of a close working relationship with the firm’s regulatory practice, a critically important relationship in the current legal environment. But the fund formation group has many strengths judged on its own terms, and continues to display versatility and skill on a wide range of transactions. The attorneys have demonstrated a particular knack for helping clients launch and structure funds specializing in geographical areas that are emerging as particularly attractive for global investors.

Mergers & Acquisitions: Cleary’s M&A practice is impressive for the sheer number of its deals and for the breadth of its clientele … After a slow-down in the markets early in 2012, Cleary also took advantage of a pickup in private equity and strategic acquisitions in March, as clients rushed to make the most of a stable market hospitable to leveraged buyouts.

Private Equity Transactions

Project Finance: The project finance division of Cleary has a number of talented attorneys.

Restructuring & Insolvency: It is doubtful that any firm could do a better job than Cleary has done with regard to one of the biggest Chapter 11 cases of the modern era.

Capital Markets: Debt & Equity

Capital Markets: High Yield Debt

Cleary Gottlieb’s debt and equity practice has expanded its ability to handle multi-billion dollar IPOs, securities offerings, debt tender offers, exchange offers and other transactions for industry leaders. In wildly fluctuating capital markets, where there have frequently been periods marked by a total lack of appetite for IPOs, Cleary’s lawyers have repeatedly demonstrated an awareness of the climate and the ability to execute strategic transactions for blue-chip clients at the right time.

“These lawyers advise my company on everything from disclosures and strategic and tactical issues to the push and pull of getting transactions done. It’s a delight to work with them,” says a client.

Capital Markets: Structured Finance and Securitization

Capital Markets: Derivatives

One of the strongest practices at Cleary is the structured finance team …The firm’s track record for both underwriters or issuers is impressive, moreover, thanks to its repeated successes, … fund managers are sometimes inclined to get involved in a deal on a reputational basis alone. 

The firm has benefitted from a stream of agency mortgage securitisations and through April 2012, the value of their securitisation deals for the federal agencies … is estimated at $61 billion. Inevitably, this practice ties in to some extent with the financial services regulatory practice who have been kept active like many others advising on the impact of Dodd-Frank.

Clients also have praise for the firm’s international ability, which is becoming an increasingly important part of a derivatives practice: “Among all the US firms, they have a legitimate claim to something beyond just a US practice, which is a notable gap in the armour of a number of other big US firms,” says one client. “Cleary’s broader international capital markets experience is an important base for their derivatives practice.” 

Latin America


International Firms in Brazil: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s São Paulo office opened in August 2011. Although the firm has a decades-long history in Brazil through its extensive Latin Americas practice, this is Cleary’s first dedicated office in the country. The office will provide a full range of commercial and legal services.

Asia Pacific


Capital Markets: Foreign Firms

Mergers & Acquisitions

Private Equity & Venture Capital: Foreign Firms

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton moves up a tier this year following strong market feedback. The firm receives praise and is seen as active “especially in the going private practice” according to peers.

Hong Kong 

Capital Markets: Debt: While many Hong Kong law firms focus on the China and US market, Cleary Gottlieb appear to be making headway in South East Asian countries, such as the Philippines and Malaysia.

Capital Markets: Equity
: Although Cleary Gottlieb is particularly known for its reputable US pedigree, the firm represents wide number of overseas entities from around the globe wishing to list in Hong Kong, including many from BRIC countries. The Hong Kong office works closely with its Beijing office. 
Mergers & Acquisitions

Private Equity


International Firms Active in India: Cleary Gottlieb India’s practice focuses on M&A, private equity, and capital markets offerings and outsourcing. The firm’s India practice clients include some of the largest corporations in India.



Financial & Corporate: International Firms Active in Algeria


Financial & Corporate: International Firms Active in Morocco


Financial & Corporate: International Firms Active in Tunisia