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 (2022)

1K - 1.5K


No. of Partners Named (2022)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)



No. of Summer Associates (2021)

103 total (92 2Ls; 11 1Ls)


Base Salary

All Offices1st year: $215,000

Vault Verdict

Cleary has made its mark in the international legal field, with a presence in some of the world’s most prominent cities, representation of sovereign nations, and attorneys from dozens of countries. The hiring process focuses on top students from the best law schools, but also stresses personality and intellectual curiosity. Once hired, associate attorneys can expect a respectful and welcoming atmosphere in which attorneys seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company and interact amicably with staff. Professional development is offered through formal training, but—not surprisingly—much of the substantive learning comes from mentoring by partners and senior associates. Attorneys value teaching and want younger associates to be successful. Hours can be demanding and unpredictable, 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

  • “Cleary prides itself on being a collegial environment with smart, focused, but grounded lawyers, and I am happy to say that that I have found that to be the case. Now that we are back in the office, weekly wine and cheeses have resumed, and the firm also pays for associates to socialize together once a week—which is a thoughtful and appreciated gesture.”
  • “The great thing about the firm is that people are very friendly while still being driven and intellectually curious. It's completely comfortable to talk about your lives outside of work. Cleary gives us a lot of opportunities to meet others outside of our groups.”
  • “I am good friends with many of my colleagues and socialize with them outside of firm-sponsored events. I genuinely enjoy working and interacting with all of my colleagues, and everyone is treated with equal respect, regardless of seniority.”

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

  • “I think the firm is looking for smart, hardworking, and creative recruits. Most people who work here are nice and a little quirky. People are not exceedingly competitive.”
  • “In terms of recruiting, I think Cleary looks for candidates with an impressive academic records with interesting professional experience. I think the firm is also looking for well-rounded candidates who would be a good personality fit.”
  • “The firm mostly hires from a select few law schools.”

Practice Area Q&A’s

Daniel P. Culley


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Lisa Vicens


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Katie Reaves


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Elaine Ewing


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Lina Bensman


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Perks & Benefits