Cleary Gottlieb Achieves Outstanding Results in Chambers Global 2010: 106 Lawyers and 82 Practices Selected as “Leaders in the Field”

March 5, 2010

Cleary Gottlieb and its lawyers continue to be recognized internationally in the Chambers Global legal directory. Evidencing the strength of the firm’s overall practice and extent of its geographic reach, the 2010 edition of Chambers Global highlighted 106 Cleary Gottlieb lawyers and 82 practices for work in Belgium, Brazil, China/Hong Kong, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as regionally throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and globally.

As the publication has evolved, Chambers has redefined its geographic and practice area categories, subdividing some into narrower niches while truncating others. Recognizing the firm’s commitment to new markets, the firm was profiled for the first time in the following new or reorganized categories: Public International Law in Global; Capital Markets and Corporate/M&A: Central and Eastern Europe in Europe-wide; Capital Markets: U.S. Law and Corporate/M&A: China/Hong Kong Foreign in China/Hong Kong; Capital Markets: Derivatives in France; Overseas Counsel: Capital Markets and Overseas Counsel: Corporate/M&A in India; Restructuring/Insolvency in Italy, Germany and Russia; Overseas Counsel: Capital Markets and Overseas Counsel: Corporate/M&A in South Korea; Banking & Finance: Sponsor-side Specialists in the United Kingdom; and Projects: Infrastructure and Projects: Power in the United States.

The following Cleary Gottlieb practices are recognized for being among the best in the world, based on Chambers’ interviews of the firm’s clients and competitors:


  • Arbitration (International): “This group’s arbitration work is split evenly between commercial and investment treaty matters. In the past twelve months, the team has noticed a particular growth in bilateral investment treaty arbitrations, which have become a major part of its practice. The team is renowned for its strong multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary approach, sharing matters between offices and individuals.”
  • Banking & Finance: “This firm is ranked in Chambers’ banking and finance tables in New York, London, Germany, Russia and Latin America. It challenges larger players and is a notable presence on large, complex multi-jurisdictional transactions.”
  • Capital Markets: Debt, Capital Markets: Equity and Capital Markets: Structured Finance & Derivatives: “Highly rated for its debt, equity and structured finance work, this broad and deep practice is an international leader. … Its international coverage is considerable, and it is noted for its market-leading work and impressive local presence in the USA, Asia-Pacific, CEE, Europe, UK, Latin America and the Middle East.”
  • Competition/Antitrust: “Cleary Gottlieb offers an impressive international network of resources, and its well-established reputation as a market leader for competition and antitrust remains firmly in place. It handles diverse and intricate matters for clients, and is noted for tackling the most difficult of issues with ease. The firm is one of the original international players, and boasts an impeccable practice on both sides of the Atlantic.”
  • Corporate/M&A: “This firm has a large global network, in comparison with some of its Wall Street elite peers. It is clearly at the pinnacle of the US market, as proven by its extensive rankings in Chambers USA, and is also generating praise for its good performance in Europe and Asia.”
  • Dispute Resolution: “With litigation specialists all over the world, this firm’s well-developed practice has benefited from the global economic turmoil. Interviewees note the team-based culture at the firm, which encourages co-operation between the various global outposts and offers clients an intelligent approach to cross-border matters. The group is especially strong for arbitration in Latin America, and fields a number of highly rated specialists in its North American offices.”
  • Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation: “This firm is strongest in the USA, but is also involved in private equity deals in Europe, Asia and Latin America. … ‘A low-key but excellent team,’ [according to sources].”
  • Private Equity: “Cleary Gottlieb’s private equity practice has a good international footprint, with strength in Asia and Europe in addition to its US base. … ‘The firm is very integrated and puts good teams in place.’ … ‘More than any other firm I know, Cleary is great at passing on clients to the person who can advise best – the team is extremely helpful.’”
  • Public International Law: “This firm has substantial experience in BIT work, acting for both states and investors. … ‘An up-and-coming firm in PIL that provides first-class service,’ [sources say].”
  • Tax: “This US firm maintains a strong tax presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, France is a particular area of strength, as well as Italy and Germany. … [Sources find the firm to be] ‘exceptionally strong in Paris,’ [and] … ‘big competitors in the USA.’”


  • Corporate/Commercial: “This outfit fields a dedicated team of Africa specialists from its Paris and London offices, ensuring impressive continent-wide capabilities. The group is highly commended for its sovereign debt work [and] … is also a go-to firm for M&A matters. [Sources note] ‘an extremely talented and exceptional team of lawyers who are very proactive and very prompt in their reactions.’”


  • Capital Markets: Debt and Capital Markets: Equity: “This firm is well known as a player in the US capital markets. In Asia, it operates out of offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, offering US law expertise on a range of capital markets deals centered principally on the Chinese and Korean markets. Handling both debt and equity work, the firm has most recently been active in the convertible bonds and rights offering spheres, where it is primarily called upon to act as underwriters’ counsel.”
  • Corporate/M&A and Corporate/M&A: Private Equity: “This firm directs its Asia practice through its Hong Kong and Beijing offices. As well as a strong presence in China itself, the firm enjoys great standing in the Korean market and is also strong in Taiwan, most notably in distressed acquisitions within the technology sector. The firm is particularly popular with US private equity players.”


  • Arbitration (International): “Paris is the European hub of this international firm’s arbitration practice. Cleary is also one of the more successful firms to enter the Italian market, with its Rome office earning applause for its representation of high-profile Italian and European entities across a broad range of industries.”
  • Capital Markets: “Cleary features in Europe’s major financial centers as a first-rate offering on the equity side. The firm is often top of the list for work with governments in many jurisdictions and operates at the highest level for multinational companies placing equity offerings. The French team’s derivatives expertise is as warmly received as its equity work and the group is a favorite for transatlantic clients. The German group’s efforts earn similar ratings and it has lately demonstrated its expertise in renewable energy matters, as well as handling mainstream deals … ‘They have some very talented people; they use their network in a very intelligent way and can find innovative solutions.’”
  • Competition/European Law: “Interviewees laud Cleary Gottlieb for its consistently high quality of work and its helpful partners and associates. The group’s international spread enables it to provide excellent competition advice that bridges the Atlantic. Many lawyers in the team split their time between Brussels and other European jurisdictions, allowing all the offices to work as an integrated team on cross-border matters while keeping close to the heart of European law.”
  • Corporate/M&A and Corporate/M&A: Central & Eastern Europe: “The emphasis at Cleary is on top-level international transactions where the European branches each play a part as a cohesive unit. The firm is a solid favorite with governments … [in] handling numerous legislative matters and recapitalization issues. The Belgian and French teams offer an elite service, with their regulated industries expertise making them a popular choice with the banking community. … Sources also note the value the firm adds on deals involving US parties.”
  • International Trade/WTO: “This global firm acts on a variety of European trade cases from its Brussels base. … ‘Cleary Gottlieb will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of a client’s interests.’”
  • Tax: “Cleary Gottlieb was one of the first US firms to establish itself in Western Europe and its tax practice is a mainstay in such countries as Italy, France and Germany, where it is noted for maintaining a particularly strong local presence. The practice is commended for its excellent handling of joint ventures, international securities offerings and cross-border acquisitions.”
  • Technology & Communications: “This firm is lauded in Europe for its technology and communications work in Italy and Belgium in particular. … The Brussels office is similarly expert in antitrust and other regulatory concerns, and in transactions. … [Sources describe the firm as] ‘a strong player in the market’ [and] ‘a good choice for a cross-border deal.’”

Latin America-wide

  • Arbitration (International): “This team works closely with the firm’s Latin American corporate group and has a strong track record in related disputes, especially sovereign debt and investment treaties.”
  • Banking & Finance: “This firm has historically leaned towards representing borrowers, but has developed its practice to work increasingly with a number of lenders in the region … The group tackles a wide range of banking matters in Latin America, including acquisition finance and general syndicated lending, through its New York office. Clients are impressed by the lawyers’ depth of knowledge, and their ability to pre-empt issues. … ‘Absolutely top-tier – you don’t get much better than these uniformly excellent lawyers.’ …[They provide] efficient, constructive advice of an extremely high standard.’”
  • Capital Markets: “For an overwhelming majority of market observers, Cleary represents the gold standard of capital markets practices in Latin America. Longevity is just one of the factors that set this group apart. The practice is geographically varied: while the group is busiest in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, it also handles a scattering of interesting deals in many other jurisdictions. In terms of expertise, the firm enjoys a tremendous reputation for sovereign and quasi-sovereign issues, and for cross-disciplinary matters including IPOs, SEC-registered offerings, regulatory capital transactions, liability management and SEC reporting obligations. The group is based in the firm’s New York office but the lawyers spend a considerable amount of time in Latin America, advising on some of the largest offerings originating in the region. … ‘In terms of volume, diversity and excellent work, the firm has markedly distanced itself from its competitors. … It has been around forever, and has been exposed to most types of securities transactions across the entire region [and is] … simply the best counsel across disciplinary lines.’”
  • Corporate/M&A: “Cleary Gottlieb is one of the finest outfits currently operating in the region and is noted for its long-term commitment to Latin America. … ‘You can always depend on what the lawyers at Cleary say; they get to know our company and the region inside-out. The finished product is always of the highest quality.’”
  • Projects: “This New York-based practice has an impressive reputation in the region, particularly for infrastructure and power transactions in Brazil, Peru and Chile. … ‘A responsive and experienced team, [sources say] … [with] solid insight into clients’ needs and a sound, creative approach.’”

Middle East

  • Capital Markets: “This firm coordinates its solid practice in the Middle East capital markets domain from its London and Paris offices. It covers both debt and equity issuances. In the past it has advised on a number of cross-border transactions and is highly regarded for its ability to manage deals on a global scale.”
  • Corporate/Commercial: “This firm offers a wealth of expertise to clients targeting the Middle East, which is provided through offices in Europe, Asia and the USA. It carries out work in both inbound and outbound investments across a variety of industries and is especially noted for its capabilities in property matters, and in the retail and hotel sectors.”
  • Investment Funds: “Though this powerhouse of a firm doesn’t – at the time of writing – have a presence on the ground, its high-caliber partners still manage to pull off an impressive number of Middle East-focused deals.”


  • Banking & Finance: “[T]he group’s first-rate corporate practice and the sheer quality of its individual lawyers enable it to secure complex instructions … ‘Creative and experienced; truly a delight to work with.’”
  • Competition/European Law: “This huge team of 70 practitioners is extremely well regarded in Brussels, where it provides a first-class EU competition law service. The group is well integrated and networked with its other offices in Europe, which makes it a perfect fit for multi-jurisdictional filings. … ‘It has great connections with the regulators, so the lawyers are aware of what is possible to do at any given time.’”
  • Corporate/M&A: “Clients compliment this responsive, inventive and creative team, which benefits from a long-standing and impressive track record in corporate, M&A and capital markets matters.”
  • International Trade/WTO: “This global firm acts on a variety of European trade cases from its Brussels base. … ‘Cleary Gottlieb will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of a client’s interests.’”


  • Capital Markets: Overseas Counsel: “This international outfit is renowned for its excellent corporate finance practice that covers debt, equity, securitizations, loans and M&A.”

China/Hong Kong

  • Capital Markets: U.S. Law: “This well-rounded team was instructed on a combination of debt and equity deals over the past year. It handles regional debt transactions from its base in Hong Kong, and is particularly strong in the Philippines.”
  • Corporate/M&A: China/Hong Kong Foreign: “Cleary is a significant player in corporate and M&A work. It combines its robust M&A practice with excellent financing capabilities. Private equity is also a focus of the firm.”


  • Capital Markets: Derivatives and Capital Markets: Equity: “This global powerhouse is renowned for handling high-end equity deals and in particular disclosure work for complex transactions. The team also advises on high-end niche derivatives work as it arises. Clients fall broadly into three categories: investment banks as underwriter counsel, blue-chip and other major French corporations, and financial institutions.”
  • Corporate/M&A: “This firm’s strength lies in the depth of its corporate practice, which houses a wealth of dual-qualified restructuring, capital markets and M&A specialists, all praised for their consistent quality and versatility. Energized by its excellent Brussels office, the group is especially famed for cross-border M&A transactions, and attracts high-profile clients.”
  • Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution: Litigation: “The arbitration practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is regarded as a team of hard-working and skilled lawyers, able to attract high-profile cases. This ‘classy outfit’ represents a wide array of sovereign clients as well as an impressive roster of commercial groups.”


  • Banking & Finance: Acquisition Finance & Syndicated Lending: “A group of nine partners advises on a broad range of banking and finance matters at this firm.”
  • Capital Markets: Debt and Capital Markets: Equity: “This firm impresses peers with the depth and strength of its lawyers. Commentators identify the seven-partner team as one of the busiest capital markets practices in the market. It regularly acts on complex cross-border transactions, and has a highly regarded US capital markets team.”
  • Corporate/M&A: “This firm fields a small but high-quality corporate/M&A team based in Cologne and Frankfurt. The absence of fixed departments provides the group with a great degree of flexibility.”
  • Restructuring/Insolvency: “Clients are drawn to the firm for its strong network, endorsing it as ‘a truly international operation with very professional and accessible lawyers.’”


  • Overseas Counsel: Capital Markets and Overseas Counsel: Corporate/M&A: “[One source tells us] ‘I have not met anybody at Cleary with whom I was disappointed.’”


  • Banking & Finance: “The bulk of this firm’s activity is centered upon LBOs, with M&A being its notable area of specialization.”
  • Capital Markets: Equity: “Based in Rome and Milan, the Italian offices of this international giant provide clients worldwide with integrated legal services. [The firm has] widely noted strengths in the equity sphere [and] … ‘has achieved the right balance between international and domestic approaches.’”
  • Corporate/M&A: “This firm has offices in Rome and Milan. It has an impressive list of domestic clients as well as international clients doing business in Italy, and is equally adept at providing the full range of corporate services for both. … ‘It strikes an excellent balance between legal rigor and an understanding of business needs,’ [according to sources].”
  • Dispute Resolution: “International clients appreciate the global resources of this firm, finding it to be ‘uncomplicated and efficient, among other things because the lawyers are fluent in several foreign languages.’ … Speaking of the firm’s local offices, clients affirm: ‘You can still breathe the air of a boutique, but you also feel the power of the machine which is ready to make itself felt when necessary.’”
  • Restructuring/Insolvency: “With offices in Milan and Rome, and of course its famous international network, this team of four partners and one counsel is frequently engaged in many of the market’s most notable, multinational operations. … ‘They are truly multidisciplinary, which is an important and useful trait.’”


  • Overseas Counsel: “Clients agree that ‘the firm is easy to work with, approachable and always takes the time and effort to explain the risks of a deal properly.’”


  • Banking & Finance and Capital Markets: “Since establishing a Moscow practice in the early 1990s, Cleary has built a stellar reputation in capital markets, offering a team of top individuals with cutting-edge expertise. The practice represents issuers and underwriters equally. It is also able to draw on the firm’s first-class London team when necessary.”
  • Corporate/M&A: “Flanked by its top-flight capital markets team, this M&A department is notably well resourced in Moscow and supported by the dedicated firm-wide Russian team. The department handles prominent cross-border deals with expected aptitude, but also has a premium local client base. … [One source says] ‘I am astonished by the quality of service.’”
  • Restructuring/Insolvency: “Cleary enjoys famously strong ties with the top Russian companies, who have now turned back to the firm for restructuring advice. Clients are vocal about the firm’s strengths: ‘Their effectiveness was perfect; they are great at negotiating and reasoning with logic, bringing banks to the table and understanding the Russian clients.’”

South Korea

  • Overseas Counsel: Capital Markets and Overseas Counsel: Corporate/M&A: “Dedicated, smart, professional and commercially savvy are some of the words used by clients to describe this talented team, which advises primarily on capital markets and M&A. The group is historically known for its strong ties to issuers and has handled several impressive deals, despite the market downturn.”

United Kingdom

  • Banking & Finance: Sponsor-side Specialists: “Like many others, this low-volume, high-value practice has followed the shift in the market to restructuring work. However, it still maintains a busy acquisition finance practice, often handling matters with emerging market components.”
  • Capital Markets: Debt and Capital Markets: Equity: “This well-regarded team represents issuers and underwriters in equity and debt offerings in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and beyond. The equity capital markets practice has a good market share and a particular reputation for emerging markets work. … ‘A top-notch group,’ [according to sources].”
  • Corporate/M&A: “One of the first US firms to establish itself in Europe and the UK, Cleary has some of the finest M&A and financing talent around, thanks to its commitment to excellence. It can handle domestic deals, but is most active in multi-jurisdictional matters. … ‘A tight team that adds value to a transaction thanks to its economic view about what is necessary on a deal,’ [sources say].”

United States

  • Banking & Finance and Banking & Finance: Mainly Regulatory: “‘A strong firm qualitatively,’ this group has an excellent reputation for its established borrower and private equity work and is praised by clients for business common sense and good judgment.”
  • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity: “A ‘strong, diverse practice and impressive global footprint’ have kept this firm active and agile.”
  • Capital Markets: Derivatives and Capital Markets: Structured Products: “Bolstered by a deep bench, the firm’s regulatory and transactional expertise shines … The firm’s across-the-board strength in structured finance means that SIFMA, ISDA and other regulatory bodies routinely seek out the group’s advice.”
  • Capital Markets: Securitization: “This team has increased the breadth of its work across various areas of securitization. … One of the firm’s great draws is its efficient interdisciplinary approach to client service.”
  • Competition/Antitrust: “Cleary Gottlieb is considered to outstrip many of its peers when a merger or dispute demands expertise on both domestic and international fronts. ‘Without a doubt deserving of its place among the US elite,’ the substantial team has maintained a superb reputation for antitrust work over the years and continues to represent the world’s largest companies in complex and high-stake matters in the most closely monitored industries. The group handles merger and dispute matters on both a national and international scale.”
  • Corporate/M&A: “Cross-border transactions are central to the workload of this international firm, and its strong ties to major financial institutions provide it with a bedrock of large-scale deals.”
  • Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation: “As activity in the deal market slows, the Cleary team has witnessed increased work in rescue financings, a number of which have private equity elements.”
  • Investment Funds: REITs: “This team has established itself in real estate financing.”
  • Private Equity: Buyouts: “Distinguished by its expertise in sovereign wealth funds and its experience in Asia and the Middle East, this practice is also noted for its advice on setting up partnership agreements, document formation and its capabilities in all aspects of M&A transactions. Sources say: ‘The lawyers appreciate, tactically, how to make an important point without disrupting the process.’”
  • Projects: Infrastructure and Projects: Power: “A team of thorough attorneys of exceptional quality provides the project finance and infrastructure expertise here. Though without a dedicated department, the firm fields outstanding individuals at every level. The lawyers are generalists, working across power, infrastructure, mining and metals, and oil and gas, and the firm exhibits particular strength in sponsor representation in Latin American power projects and North American port financings.”
  • Tax: Corporate & Finance: “This New York-centered firm has a transactional tax practice of national repute and has made its name in cross-border and international M&A financing. Sources say: ‘The attorneys are marvelous and their terrific practice representing the prominent investment banks really makes them stand out.’”