Cleary Gottlieb Excels in The Legal 500 U.S. 2012 Guide: 94 Lawyers and 28 Practices Recommended

June 1, 2012

The Legal 500 U.S. 2012 guide has distinguished 94 of the firm’s lawyers and 28 practice areas as leaders in their field.

The following Cleary Gottlieb practices were recommended as among the best in the United States, based on The Legal 500’s survey of in-house counsel and lawyers across the country.


Bank Lending (Including Other Sources of Financing): “[The firm’s] ‘excellent, knowledgeable, extraordinarily responsive and pragmatic’ team has an excellent reputation for sponsor-side acquisition, allied to the firm’s strong private equity credentials.”

Capital Markets: Debt Offerings - Advice to Issuers and Capital Markets: Debt Offerings - Advice to Managers: “At ‘top-tier firm’ Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, the ‘excellent and intelligent’ team continues to provide market-leading advice on debt capital market transactions to issuer and manager clients. Lauded for its ‘cost-effectiveness’ and ‘superlative industry knowledge and responsiveness,’ the group has widely admired capabilities across all securities matters, and is highly regarded for its depth of experience in advising both U.S. and non-U.S. clients. It is particularly rated for its ‘superb underwriter advice.’” 

Capital Markets: Equity Offerings - Advice to Issuers and Capital Markets: Equity Offerings - Advice to Managers: “Remaining a forerunner in capital markets work, [Cleary Gottlieb], ‘one of the most technically capable firms,’ has an ’extremely diligent and detail-orientated’ team. On the equity side, the group has a renowned depth of expertise, and represents both issuers and managers in IPOs and other offerings. The firm of ‘thought leaders’ is particularly noted for the strength of its underwriter advice.” 

Capital Markets: Global Offerings - Advice to Corporate and Capital Markets: Global Offerings - Advice to Financial Institutions: “A recognized leader in the global capital markets arena, Cleary Gottlieb is noted for its standout debt and equity capabilities, and particularly for its activity across Latin America, opening of a new office in São Paulo in 2011. Top tier for advising both issuers and managers, the New York-based team receives high praise from clients and peers alike.”  

Capital Markets: High-Yield Debt Offerings - Advice to Issuers and Capital Markets: High-Yield Debt Offerings - Advice to Managers: “[The firm’s] experienced team assists issuer and underwriter clients on US and global high-yield offerings. The firm has an excellent reputation in the arena, and benefits from a superb track record. It is also rated for its extensive knowledge of the Latin America and Europe markets.”

Corporate Restructuring: “[Cleary Gottlieb] is a cross-border powerhouse. The firm’s niche strength in advising on sovereign debt matters has stole a march on the rest of the market and as national finances buckle around the world.”

Financial Services – Litigation: Cleary Gottlieb “has a ‘flexible’ group but its greatest strengths derive from its leading regulatory practice. It handles government investigations, banking disputes and litigation regarding securities and other complex financial products.”

Financial Services - Regulatory: “A ‘financial services powerhouse,’ Cleary Gottlieb has vast knowledge and practical experience within all the relevant regulatory issues affecting the industry coupled with cross-practice integration and cross-geographic reach. This ability to work closely with other practices and international offices within the firm is particularly well-served on addressing the regulatory issues associated with financial services M&A.”  

Project Finance: Advice to Lender and Project Finance: Advice to Sponsors: The firm’s “well-balanced practice is ‘a real force in the project finance market’ and acts for a range of financial institutions, leading developers, public sector entities, equipment suppliers and infrastructure funds. From its New York and Washington DC offices, the group covers a range of domestic and international projects in areas such as energy and natural resources, transportation and telecommunications, and has particular strengths in Latin American mining projects and sponsor-side deals for private equity clients in the domestic U.S. market.”

Structured Finance: Cleary Gottlieb “is ‘probably the best expert out there when it comes to structured finance.’ In 2011, a strong source of activity surrounded aspects of restructurings, mergers, acquisitions and investments, but the firm was also kept busy representing financial institutions on repurchase agreements, forward contracts, securities contracts and structured products, including in connection with bankruptcy proceedings.”

Industry Focus

Energy: Regulatory: The firm “is recommended for its quality of work in complex FERC filings and provides timely, knowledgeable advice that represents ‘extremely high value for money.’”

Investment Fund Formation and Management

Private Equity Funds: Cleary Gottlieb “continues to draw praise from its GP clients, which highlight the ‘high-quality, timely and attentive delivery every time,’ and the ‘excellent knowledge of market terms’ among the two partners and one counsel that make up the investment management practice.”

Labor and Employment

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation: The firm “‘has depth of experience and knowledge, and a strong understanding of the current legal landscape, and provides prompt and timely advice.’ The comprehensive, New York-based EBEC practice spans compensation aspects of M&A, executive compensation and corporate governance, and ERISA fiduciary matters. All four partners practice at the highest level.” 


International Arbitration: Cleary Gottlieb “represents sovereigns and investors in both treaty and commercial arbitration. … Clients praise the team as ‘responsive, capable, sophisticated, flexible and strong.’”

Securities: Shareholder Litigation: The firm “leverages off the firm’s premiere capital markets capability to specialize in advising banks, shareholders, corporations and corporate directors and officers on the full spread of complex securities litigation.”

White-Collar Criminal Defense: Cleary Gottlieb’s “New York and Washington DC-based team provides ‘extraordinary high and sophisticated advice’ to clients engaged in regulatory enforcement actions, internal investigations and litigation. Benefiting from ‘deep and lateral industry knowledge,’ the team is particularly active handling various matters arising following the fallout of the financial crisis.”

Mergers, Acquisitions and Buyouts

Antitrust: “Clients state Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is the ‘best firm for antitrust matters’; ‘the team has a deep understanding of the law and is zealously committed to its client’s success.’ Based in Washington DC, the ‘very deep bench of partners and associates’ is commended for its international antitrust expertise, working closely with the highly regarded competition practice in Europe.”

M&A: Mega-Deals ($5bn+): The firm’s “‘overall service level is extraordinary. The attorneys are available 24/7, have excellent business acumen and knowledge, and give sound advice. … I have always felt that I got excellent value for the money spent.’”

Private Equity Buyouts: Cleary Gottlieb’s “‘really strong,’ ‘outstanding’ and ‘best in the business’ department has developed a mightily impressive stable of private equity clients.”

Real Estate and Construction

Real Estate: “The New York-based real estate team at Cleary Gottlieb … covers the full range of real estate transactions, and spans the U.S. and beyond. It has seen a surge in development financing instructions, and a steady flow of sale-and-purchase work, private equity transactions and workouts.”


Domestic Tax: East Coast: Cleary Gottlieb’s “‘top-notch’ East Coast practice focuses on corporate and capital markets advice and planning and is ‘unsurpassed in the financial industry’; the firm also handles ancillary areas such as employee benefits.”

Financial Products: “Providing ‘excellent’ service, Cleary Gottlieb’s New York tax department is the equal of the firm’s market leading structured finance and derivatives practice. The team advises a number of major financial institutions and investment banks in relation to a wide range of capital markets and derivatives transactions, including matters involving credit default swaps, convertible bonds, hybrid debt securities and loan swaps.”

International: “New York office works closely with its London-based U.S. tax practice as well as other offices in Europe, Asia and an affiliated office in Argentina.”