Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP logo

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

One Liberty Plaza
New York, NY 10006
(212) 225-2000



With 16 offices in financial centers across four continents and lawyers from more than 50 countries, Cleary is established worldwide as a law firm with a global reach. Known especially for its cross-border work, including representation of national governments, Cleary is among the most prestigious firms around. Good global citizenship takes on a distinct meaning in light of its many pro bono efforts. Intellectual curiosity and an amiable personality will go far in fitting in with the firm’s unique “Cleary Culture.”

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2023)

1K - 1.5K


No. of Partners Named (2023)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2023)



No. of Summer Associates (2023)

101 total (101 2Ls; 8 1Ls)


Base Salary

1st year: $215,000

Vault Verdict

Even with its international reach and reputation, Cleary gives associates the feel of a down-to-earth neighborhood law firm. In the firm’s competitive hiring process, personality fit counts as much as academic performance. Work settings are friendly and laid back, while social events are plentiful but not overwhelming—it’s possible for people to have personal lives. Partners are respectful to associates, welcome their contributions, and provide useful feedback. Cleary seems to do training and mentoring well, with many levels of each available, including on-the-job tutelage. Lateral hires feel welcomed and trained well, though more efforts to integrate them socially would be nice. Work assignments are substantive and cutting edge, and associates are encouraged to push themselves an...

About the Firm

Cleary is a leading global law firm, with offices on four continents and an unparalleled reputation for groundbreaking work. While long known as a dominant player in the international and corporate business world, Cleary has built out both corporate and litigation capabilities that have strengthened and expanded the full suite of resources it offers clients.

Globetrotting Trendsetter

Founded in 1946 by four former partners of the Wall Street law firm Root Clark and three attorneys steeped in government service (including Henry Friendly, who is widely known as a preeminent federal judge from his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), Cleary Gottlieb simultaneously opened offices in New York and Washington, DC. 

The firm almost immediately began...

Associate Reviews

  • “The job is intense hours-wise, but all of my colleagues are friendly and easy to work with. We have a number of firm social events (including weekly wine and cheese), but people also maintain lives outside of work. I have a number of friends at the firm who I socialize with outside the office, but it's pretty balanced.”
  • “Friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with a culture focused on client service. While the firm offers opportunities to socialize, there is no pressure to participate, and lawyers can be themselves.”
  • “The firm is very collegial. Lawyers do socialize, both at firm-sponsored events and after hours. Not super frequently, but with some regularity, perhaps monthly. On the day to day, everyone is respectful and collaborative. Staff are great, and lawyers treat staff with respect.”

Why Work Here

Cleary Gottlieb was founded by prominent lawyers committed to excellence in the practice of law, while maintaining the highest ethical standards and diversity and collegiality in its lawyers. Our reasoning is not complicated. The best work product results from talented people working in a common enterprise, sharing their knowledge, time, and experience with colleagues. Only a handful of firms around the world are so confident of their core values that they are willing to share the rewards of their work in the way that we do. Generations of Cleary lawyers have proven there is no better way to foster excellence for ourselves and superior service for our clients.

Diversity at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

"Cleary Gottlieb is committed to cultivating an inclusive organizational culture, where the values, experiences and perspectives of our diverse professionals are not only celebrated, but reflected in the way we approach legal practice. Cleary talent management and diversity committees strategically identify ways to foster community within the firm among diverse lawyers and to increase communication between Cleary's leadership and the firm's diverse lawyers. This includes attorney development initiatives, curriculum training, speaker series,..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “Hiring is extremely competitive. The vast majority of recruits are hired from the very top law schools, have otherwise excellent qualifications, and display a particular type of Cleary energy that the firm looks for and cultivates once at the firm.”
  • “I think Cleary looks at law school and grades, and then largely looks for a ‘culture fit.’ The Cleary culture is pretty strong—I genuinely enjoy working with almost all of my coworkers, and I attribute that to the Cleary recruitment process looking for candidates who have a strong EQ as well as IQ and who are respectful of colleagues, including diverse colleagues.”
  • “Personality, grades, and law school. Looking for intelligent individuals who are pleasant to work with. Diversity is also a concern as the firm looks to build up a pool of talent suitable for partnership right from the junior level.”
  • “I believe grades and personality are the most important factors. We participate in OCI at T14 schools and we also have reached beyond T14 schools to hire [summers, first years and laterals]. We do have formal training for interviewers and memos with guidelines for interviewing.”

Perks & Benefits

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