Cleary Gottlieb Achieves Outstanding Results in Chambers Europe 2009

May 5, 2009

Cleary Gottlieb has been acclaimed in the latest edition of the Chambers Europe guide, with 62 of the firm’s partners and counsel and 42 of the firm’s practices highlighted. Comments from clients and peers are also extremely complimentary, including praise for “the pure excellence of [Cleary Gottlieb’s] service—high-quality work, quick reactions and a tremendous knowledge of private and public law” and the firm’s “supreme range of knowledge, experience and geographical reach.”

As there is a separate Chambers UK guide, this guide focuses more on the success of the firm’s other European offices in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, with top tier rankings across each jurisdiction. The firm also achieved top rankings in several practice areas, including Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition/European Law, Corporate/M&A, Dispute Resolution, Private Equity, Projects, Public Law, Restructuring/Insolvency, Tax and TMT.

Banking & Finance
“Favourably highlighting Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s ‘strong overall reputation,’ sources agree that the practice stands out for its ‘extremely well-connected’ position in the market and a strong list of high-profile clients. … Further afield, the practice is noted for its impressive international connections; in particular, it has seen a significant rise in the number of instructions from Russia, the Middle East and Asia.”

Competition/European Law
“Market observers ‘take their hats off to this splendid competition group,’ which ‘excels in complex transactions – it’s one of the most superior and excellent competition practices around.’ Clients are also full of praise for the high level of partner involvement: ‘It’s a big firm but the responsibility is always taken by a partner. It is not an anonymous group – all its partners are in the front line and they deliver outstanding and first-class service.’ The large multinational team is regularly involved in high-profile merger, cartel and Article 82 matters for an impressive plethora of international clients.”

“Standing at the top of the Belgium market, this team is highly praised for ‘the pure excellence of its service – high-quality work, quick reactions, and a tremendous knowledge of private and public law.’ It has an impressive number of high-profile domestic and international clients, and focuses on M&A, private equity and equity capital markets.”

Public Law
“A well-established team of excellent individuals is the main draw here, according to sources. Although the firm does not yet have a dedicated public law practice, the quality of its staff means that the group can handle a variety of transactions. Its services are often called upon by the Belgian government, and although this type of work dominates its caseload, the overall client roster here is relatively diverse.”

“This team benefits from an extremely visible presence in competition and antitrust matters and, with excellent expertise in local and EU law, it provides competition advice across the continent. The group is very experienced in the technology sector … ‘The lawyers know how the competition business works inside-out’ explained one client, ‘and they also really understand highly technical matters in complicated industries such as the software sector.’”

Capital Markets: Derivatives
Capital Markets: Equity
“Well established at the top of its field, this esteemed outfit received nothing but compliments. Firmly rooted in the French market, Cleary is described as ‘the most French of the American firms.’ It is ‘tremendously well equipped to advise in equity capital markets, because it has in-depth experience of both French and US markets.’ With an impressive portfolio of issuers and underwriters as clients, it is no surprise that Cleary features on the most prominent and significant operations. … Clients and peers point out that the firm’s solid track record and its exceptional lawyers make it ‘the best for equity capital markets.’ … Behind the immense success of the firm lies ‘a very consistent, highly reactive, first-class team,’ assert clients.”

Competition/European Law
“This Paris team works closely with the firm’s Brussels office, and it is adept at the European and French legal aspects of merger control cases … The group is also very active in abuse of dominant position files, state aid questions and litigation before the Commission…”

“One of the leading players in the sector, this firm plays a key role in high-end transactions and its expertise is both local and international in scope. The 11 partners also assist clients with M&A-related litigation. Interviewees were unanimous in their praise for the team’s ‘unwavering excellence, long-established practice and solid track record,’ adding that the service and advice on offer here is ‘always flawless.’”

Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration
Dispute Resolution: Litigation
“Renowned for its activity in litigation and arbitration, ‘this excellent team’ at Cleary Gottlieb demonstrates expertise in commercial, tax, bankruptcy, securities and competition matters. It particularly shines in the corporate work through its smooth collaboration with the firm’s widely acclaimed M&A department, and is involved in major transactions in that field.”

Private Equity: High End
“This four-partner team is a popular choice for large-cap private equity deals, although clients also come from other segments of the market and include both buyers and sellers. Working closely with colleagues from the tax and antitrust departments, the team provides a full service and can handle all aspects of an LBO. Multi-jurisdictional work is also a recurring feature of the practice. … The firm’s strong experience in M&A has been extremely useful in the development of its private equity expertise.”

Projects: International Projects
“Hailed by clients for its ‘responsible and creative lawyers,’ the team has a traditional Africa-centred practice, advising private investors and foreign governments on mining, telecoms, oil and gas, infrastructure and energy projects.”

“This undisputed leader wins compliments for ‘its talented lawyers and broad geographical coverage.’ Not overly specialised, the team has particular experience in areas such as real estate, employee benefits and tax litigation, and it often works closely with the firm’s M&A and capital markets departments.”

Banking & Finance: Acquisition Finance & Syndicated Lending
“Working in combination with the firm’s capital markets experts, this large group has established a considerable presence in acquisition finance and syndicated loans, where its flexible approach enables it to work in the lending and borrowing portions of the market. [The team is] highlighted by clients for its ‘personalised approach, which replaces uniform products with tailored and unique solutions to complex problems.’”

Banking & Finance: Regulatory
“This compact team works closely with the firm’s capital markets and financing departments, developing a good reputation for its regulatory and compliance expertise in banking and capital markets. The group also often co-operates with sister offices in London, New York and, increasingly, Italy, Belgium and France.”

Capital Markets: Debt
Capital Markets: Equity
“Clients rank this US-based firm among the market leaders for equity work, with one going so far as to say: ‘It’s in a league of its own.’ The practice benefits from a close working relationship between the US and European offices, enabling the group to offer technical and cross-border expertise on a broad range of equity and equity-linked matters to issuers and underwriters. Clients praise the firm’s outstanding quality of work and appreciate its substantial international presence. … The debt practice is largely focused in Frankfurt and its high-volume output belies its relatively modest size.”

Competition/European Law
“This team handles several high-profile cases, and ‘enjoys a supreme range of knowledge, experience and geographic reach,’ according to clients. Market sources agree: ‘Cleary is always a great firm to turn to, offering a large number of very bright and highly reputed individuals, full service in any transaction and an impressive international network for cross-border matters.’ Offering a seamless service between the Brussels and Germany offices, the team covers the full breadth of merger control, cartels, procurement and state aid.”

“Delivering ‘a truly remarkable service,’ this team has developed an enviable reputation in the field... While the group’s widely acknowledged expertise in capital markets is the foundation of its presence in the M&A scene, the practice has developed its service and claims a place among the top advisers in the German market.”

“This compact team operates an integrated service that combines its tax skills with the corporate, capital markets and banking departments. Sources refer warmly to the practice, praising above all its ‘comprehensive advice on complex, multi-departmental matters.’”

Banking & Finance
“This compact firm has a unique structure under which its lawyers are not organised into strictly distinguished departments, and so takes a broader approach to assisting clients by drawing on resources from throughout the firm. Strong capabilities in corporate and M&A work contribute to the success of this method of counsel, and clients enthuse about the ‘excellent level of service and value-for-money advice’ they receive.”

Capital Markets: Equity
“This firm is considered ‘at the top for international deals,’ if less prolific on purely domestic matters. However, clients agree that on both international and domestic transactions the lawyers are ‘co-operative, proactive and experienced,’ and possess ‘finely honed technical skills and never need prompting.’”

Competition/European Law
“In line with this firm’s global focus on competition and antitrust, the Italian branch has developed a strong department…”

“Benefiting from a strong international network, this team of ‘knowledgeable and influential lawyers’ works on some of the largest M&A cross-border deals…”

Dispute Resolution
“This firm’s expertise in antitrust matters has attracted some of Italy’s largest clients, who turn to the firm for advice on all legal matters, including litigation. … While the dispute resolution lawyers often work hand in hand with their colleagues in the competition department, they remain an independent group working in other areas of the law, such as breach of contract. … The group also handles international arbitration.”

Private Equity
“This firm’s private equity practice is particularly recommended for large and complex deals with an international dimension. … The lawyers win praise for their commercial approach: ‘They are great at focusing on the business needs without getting overly tied up in the legal details.’”

“Clients appreciate the international outlook of this multinational firm, which provides ‘consistently high-quality people’ right across its practice areas. The restructuring and insolvency team is already well known for its expertise on the financial side of transactions, and it has recently been developing the litigation strand of its work.”

“Working predominantly with foreign clients, this tax group benefits greatly from the firm’s strong presence in other sectors such as M&A, finance and capital markets.”

TMT: Telecommunications
“The Italian arm of this international firm has developed particularly strong expertise in the telecoms sector, with a 14-lawyer group that advises international and domestic TMT clients on the full range of issues.”

Banking & Finance
“Increasingly recognised for its banking work, this firm is unanimously acknowledged for its work on the borrowers’ side. … The firm is getting work on the other side too. … Clients report the team is ‘dedicated to our deals and really works to find solutions in complicated negotiations.’”

Capital Markets
“This is a ‘dedicated cross-border team with no weak link at all; it gives real peace of mind to clients.’ The London and Moscow offices work hand cin hand on Russian deals. The workload is ‘impressively balanced’ between debt and equity matters, with a good share on both fronts. In addition, the team gets particular praise for its IPO expertise, where it represents an important client roster of international and Russian clients and acts on both the issuer and manager side.”

“In addition to its impressive reputation in capital markets, the firm is noted for its increasing profile in M&A work ... An almost 30-strong team in Moscow handles both M&A and capital markets work, and an additional 20 lawyers are on hand in the firm’s other office to assist on Russian deals across Europe. ‘Cleary’s multi-jurisdictional teams work in perfect co-operation; the lawyers are always available and always attentive,’ contented clients report.”

Private Equity
“Moving up to the top tier, this firm wins exceptional market praise for its private equity advice and is a popular port of call for a number of prominent private equity players such as CVCI and Capital International. … Sources agree that the firm has an impressive track record of deals and is able to co-ordinate work smoothly across its offices.”

United Kingdom
Banking & Finance: Acquisition Finance (Borrowers)
“This US law firm operates across practice areas with lawyers based in offices in France, Russia, Italy, Germany and Brussels. It enjoys a stellar reputation for the evenness of the quality across its offices, its committed international outlook and its work in the finance sector. In the UK the firm is highly regarded for representing US private equity sponsors in major leveraged and acquisition financings.”

Corporate Finance: High-end Cross-border
“This is a pedigree US law firm with a premier reputation for its work in the capital markets, derivatives, financial services and tax arenas. The firm has a long-established international outlook and operates as an integrated global partnership, with over 1,000 lawyers in more than 50 countries. Illustrative of this global presence, the firm’s website covers the mother tongue of every office, and in Europe the firm has highly rated operations in Paris, Brussels, Moscow, Frankfurt, Cologne, Rome and Milan. Cleary frequently focuses on quality complex transactions rather than volume, and matters often involve several offices.”

For the full text of these rankings, please visit Chambers’ web site at