Cleary Gottlieb Among Top Three Most Innovative Firms in Financial Times’ U.S. Innovative Lawyers Report

November 3, 2011

Cleary Gottlieb was ranked among the top three most innovative firms by the Financial Times in its second annual U.S. Innovative Lawyers Report, a survey on the state of innovation in the U.S. legal industry. The firm earned “standout” rankings in the Technology, Media and Telecoms; Finance; and Business of Law categories, and was also “highly commended” and “commended” for its work in the Corporate, Finance, and Energy categories. Overall, Cleary Gottlieb was listed as a “standout” firm in more categories than any other firm. “Standout” is the highest ranking possible and one that reflects true innovation.

The research for the report was conducted by RSG Consulting, a legal research group. Each firm was permitted to submit up to three entries in each category and each entry was scored on originality, rationale, and impact. The scores were determined through RSG’s independent research and through client interviews. RSG evaluated 272 submissions from 53 law firms and interviewed more than 300 clients and lawyers, but only 108 submissions were included in the final report.

A summary of Cleary Gottlieb’s rankings is below.

FT Law25: The firm placed third in the FT Law25—a ranking of the top 25 law firms based on overall scores received in all categories. Mark Leddy was quoted in the overview article on how the firm’s lockstep compensation system and fully integrated structure promotes collaboration on a global basis.

Technology, Media and Telecoms: Cleary Gottlieb received a “standout” ranking for its role representing Nortel in the auction of its patents and patent applications. Paul Shim was quoted in the overview article, which detailed the impact of the Nortel auction on the tech industry and said the deal “made waves in the technology world.” The article also highlighted the firm’s role in persuading representatives of Nortel affiliates globally to allow the auction to take place under the U.S. bankruptcy code and said this decision was instrumental in maximizing the final auction price.

Energy: The firm was “highly commended” for its role representing JPMorgan in its acquisition of RBS Sempra’s energy and commodities business. The report credited Cleary Gottlieb with handling a “complex transfer of trading relationships in different market sectors before the deal closed” and said that the deal “transformed” JPMorgan’s business in the sector. The firm was also “commended” for its role advising Petrobras on its $67 billion offering, the largest share offering in history and one that required the firm to navigate restrictions across multiple jurisdictions.

Corporate: The firm’s role representing FEMSA in its share exchange with Heineken was “commended” in the Corporate category. The report noted the firm’s development of an “allotted share delivery instrument” to allow the deal to close in record time. This met the demands of FEMSA to remain independent while not diluting the Heineken family’s majority shareholding.

Finance: Cleary Gottlieb’s role representing the underwriters in AIG’s return to the capital markets received a “standout” ranking. In describing the firm’s contribution the report said, “Going through what amounted to doing a ‘Rubik’s cube’ in the dark, the firm acted on a spate of transactions to enable AIG to re-access capital markets. Lawyers were praised for their ability to anticipate and deal with issues in a highly unusual and closely scrutinized situation.”

Business of Law: The firm’s Regulatory Reform Initiative received a “standout” ranking. The report recognized the firm’s development of a customized interactive database that tracks financial regulatory reform for clients and said that this “meets a pressing business need.”

To view the full report, click HERE.