Cleary Gottlieb Achieves Excellent Results in the IFLR 1000 2011 Guide

October 28, 2011

Cleary Gottlieb has been acclaimed in the latest edition of The IFLR 1000 guide, with more than 45 of the firm’s practices in Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Latin America being 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: 

Western Europe


EU Competition: “It is a very, very good firm, they have some excellent individuals - it is a clear market leader; a very strong practice overall,” says a peer. “I would say that Cleary is the best in Europe in this practice area.”

Capital Markets: Cleary Gottlieb is widely considered to be the highest quality team when it comes to the equity markets, handling a smaller volume of deals but taking the pick of the crop…“In volume not tier one, but in quality there is no question about it,” says one peer. “It has a very fine team, it is really good, always excellent, everyone agrees, it does not have a very large team but it is very, very good and each time we see them they really make an impression,” says another competitor.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Cleary Gottlieb holds on to its tier one position thanks to its quality. Peers note that the firm earned its spot at the top primarily due to the reputation it cultivated during the crisis years…“Now I would look at M&A this year,” says one peer, “the volume has not been very impressive but it could be explained that there were a lot of banking transactions in the crisis and Cleary had a big role in that, but there is less activity now in banks.” Nevertheless the firm’s reputation still holds for most peers, largely due to leading lawyers… In deal terms, the firm also acted in some impressive M&A and restructurings… 


Capital Markets (Equity/Debt/Structured Finance and Securitization): Cleary Gottlieb’s equity capital markets reputation was built up upon “the more balanced underwriters’ and issuers’ work,” this is due to “its long-term relationship with French issuers and French banks”, one peer points out. “They do superb [equity] work, they’re present on all the major transactions and they’re really the leader in the markets.” 


Corporate (Mergers and Acquisitions/Private Equity): Cleary Gottlieb’s leading position in the French M&A market has been consolidated by its wide range of mandates this year, including domestic public and private M&A transactions, cross-border deals, and emerging markets mandates. “Like any other international law firm, the team have top lawyers who’re very good at what they’re doing,” says one client.

Project Finance  


Capital Markets – Equity: Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s equity practice had a strong year and was involved in several interesting transactions. “Cleary is working on a couple of prominent IPOs. In terms of deals and market reputation there is some argument that they should be as the same level as the top three,” says one competitor. The firm was involved in two notable capital increases by large German banks.

Capital Markets – Debt


Mergers and Acquisitions:  “Cleary Gottlieb is another international law firm which is quite visible in the M&A market,” says one rival, while another adds: “In terms of the volume of the work the firm has done, it is quite comparable to its tier-one contemporaries...“Even though the market remains difficult, the firm still managed to pull off some substantial deals… When comes to the cross-border transactions, the firm has also showed its clear presence in the international arena by advising on a number of mandates.


Capital Markets 


Mergers and Acquisitions: “Cleary Gottlieb is another international law firm which is quite visible in the M&A market,” says one rival, while another adds: “In terms of the volume of the work the firm has done, it is quite comparable to its tier-one contemporaries...“Even though the market remains difficult, the firm still managed to pull off some substantial deals… When comes to the cross-border transactions, the firm has also showed its clear presence in the international arena by advising on a number of mandates. 

Project Finance 

Restructuring and Insolvency 

United Kingdom

Capital Markets – Equity 

Capital Markets – Debt:  “Cleary are always punching above their weight,” says one peer. “I think in terms of quality Cleary perform very very highly, they are selective, they’re small of course in Europe so they are not interested in the broad spread, but when they take on something they do it very very well,” says another peer. “They have high quality partners and senior associates and whenever you see them they do a very very good job.”

Capital Markets - High-Yield Debt

Bank Lending (Company Side/Sponsor Side)

Mergers and Acquisitions 

Private Equity – Transactions 

Central & Eastern Europe 


Capital Markets (Equity/Debt): Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton possesses a market-leading capital markets practice in Moscow, in line with its perceived specialism in this area worldwide. Traditionally a touch stronger in equity than debt, the firm has closed the gap considerably this year with a number of large deals in that area…Although the team operates on an international basis, going between Moscow and London and making use of the firm’s network, it retains an experienced and dedicated team in Moscow.


Mergers and Acquisitions 

Restructuring and Insolvency 

North America
United States

Capital Markets – Debt & Equity: As “a wonderful international shop” with a top-of-the-range debt and equity practice, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton commands the respect of peers and clients. Competitors describe the firm as a leader in the convertible debt market, while customers appreciate the attentiveness of its partners. “They are absolutely accessible and responsive,” says one client. “When we are on an active matter, I have access to the partners who are responsible – no matter what time of the day or night.” 

Capital Markets – Derivatives and Structured Finance and Securitization: With a leading derivatives practice and a strong presence in structured finance and securitisation, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton continues to be regarded as being at the forefront of innovation. The firm represents both issuers and underwriters and has counselled sovereign debtors, particularly in emerging markets. 

Capital Markets – High-Yield Debt

Bank Lending

Financial Services Regulatory: With strong practices in both New York and Washington DC, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is well-positioned to advise clients on recent financial and regulatory developments. “They are close to the capital sources in New York, so they represent a lot of banks,” says one competitor. Other peers describe Cleary as a “top-notch firm” offering “sophisticated regulatory advice,” and note it has “an increasing presence” in bank lending.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has worked on many of the most significant M&A transactions announced during the past year. The firm has particular expertise in complex, cross-border deals, according to peers. “Cleary has a very strong international network,” says one competitor. “They tend to get involved in a lot of big international deals.”

Private Equity - Transactions: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has advised on three of the four largest-ever leveraged buyouts completed worldwide, and regularly works on first-of-a-kind transactions. The firm has lawyers in the US, Europe and Asia and its clients include marquee name TPG Capital. Competitors say Cleary Gottlieb is “good for both strategic and private equity” and is “an outstanding firm, no doubt about it.”

Investment Funds - Private Equity: Fund Formation 

Project Finance: “They have a very strong LatAm practice,” says one competitor. “They represent a lot of sovereigns and sub-sovereigns and they do everything for them.”

Restructuring and Insolvency 

Latin America


International firms in Brazil 

Asia Pacific 


Capital Markets - Foreign Firms 

Mergers and Acquisitions - Foreign Firms 

Private Equity/Venture Capital - Foreign Firms

Hong Kong

Capital Markets – Equity: In February 2011, Cleary Gottlieb Stein & Hamilton added to the range of services it can offer to clients with the addition of its Hong Kong law practice... The Hong Kong law practice will likely increase the firm’s future standing in equity capital markets clients for offering. Already known as a high-quality debt capital markets shop, clients will now be able to come to Cleary for equity deals where the firm does not have to partner with a local Hong Kong firm.

Capital Markets – Debt: Cleary’s addition of a Hong Kong law practice this year will surely expand its already robust offerings to clients in the debt capital markets arena. The firm currently has a record of strong mandates for convertible bond offerings and high-yield work, and has also pushed through some seminal transactions in Hong Kong’s emerging Rmb bond market…The firm also has strong relationships with many issuers in the developing Philippines market, and has advised on sovereign debt and bank notes offerings.

Mergers and Acquisitions: “Cleary is really getting stronger in the market with the addition of its Hong Kong law practice,” says a partner at a rival firm, “they’ve really got a growing presence. Their cross-border Korean practice is also particularly strong.”

Private Equity 


International Firms Active in India

South Korea

International Firms: “Of all the non-Korean firms, Cleary Gottlieb probably has the number one corporate practice,” one practitioner says.