Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Headquarters One Liberty Plaza
New York City
No. of offices 16
No. of attorneys 1,200+
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Mark Leddy, Managing Partner[1]
Revenue $1.131 billion (2012)[2]
Date founded 1946
Company type Limited liability partnership

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is an international law firm headquartered at One Liberty Plaza in New York City. The firm currently has offices in Washington DC, Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Rome, Milan, Brussels, Moscow, Frankfurt, Cologne, Paris, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Abu Dhabi, and Seoul.

The Firm employs over 1,200 lawyers worldwide.[3] It was the first U.S. firm qualified to practice law in Japan, and has represented governments throughout Latin America.[3]

The firm is known for its representation of national governments in sovereign-debt cases.[4] Lee Buchheit, a partner in the firm who has led debt-restructuring negotiations for several countries, is the originator of the "collective action" clause in debt agreements, whereby a supermajority of bondholders can compel all bondholders to accept a restructuring. As of 2016, the website ranked Cleary Gottlieb #9 in their "Vault Law 100" list.[5]


The firm was founded in 1946 when six partners from the firm of Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland left to found a firm which they initially called "Cleary, Gottlieb, Friendly, & Cox." One of those partners was Henry Friendly, whose name was removed from the firm's name after he was appointed as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1959.


The New York office is situated in One Liberty Plaza, across the street from the World Trade Center site. The Washington office is located at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, four blocks northwest of the White House.[6]

Notable lawyers

Some of the notable attorneys who have practiced at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP include George W. Ball, Henry Friendly, and Melvin Steen. Current notable attorneys include former two-time SEC general counsel David M. Becker; former president of the New York City Bar Association, Evan A. Davis; former SEC general counsel Giovanni Prezioso; a former FDIC general counsel; and capital markets lawyer Leslie N. Silverman.

Alumni of Cleary Gottlieb include: former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin; Supreme Court Justice Dewey Ballantine; a former President of the U.N. General Assembly; U.S. National Security Council Director for Russia; Belgium’s Ambassador to the United States; Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation; and Renaud Laplanche, founder of Lending Club.

Notable cases and mandates

Buchheit and collective action

"Much of Cleary Gottlieb's success in sovereign debt," according to Reuters, "is based on the work of partner Lee Buchheit, who has led restructuring negotiations for 20 countries." Buchheit’s "academic papers, books and legal briefs over the past three decades fill much of the void where no formal law exists." For example, in 2002, "Buchheit developed a collective action clause, which says that if a supermajority of bondholders votes in favor of a restructuring, it becomes legally binding for everyone, even for those who voted against it." Buchheit was a lead author of a 2013 Brookings committee report that proposed changes in the approach to sovereign debt, including the collective action clause.[10]

Awards and recognition



  1. "Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP - News - Cleary Gottlieb Elects Mark Leddy Managing Partner".
  2. Retrieved January 15, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. 1 2 The Lawyer Global 100 2006 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton Profile
  4. "The default choice". The Economist. September 27, 2014.
  5. "Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP|Company Rankings|". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  6. "Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP - Our Offices - Washington".
  7. 1 2 3 Longstreth, Andrew. "Argentina debt battle puts NY law firm in spotlight". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  8. Kriegler, Yun. "Cleary and DLA act on Sichuan Hongda's $3bn African energy deal". The Lawyer. Centaur Communications Ltd. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  9. MichelleKaske, Michelle Kaske. "Puerto Rico Spends More Than $60 Million on Debt Restructuring". Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  10. Buchheit, Lee; Gelpern, Anna; Gulati, Mitu; Panizza, Ugo; Mauro, Beatrice; Zettelmeyer, Jeromin. "Debt: Revisiting Sovereign Bankruptcy" (PDF). Brookings. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  12. "Global 20: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton".
  13. "Firmwide Awards and Achievements".
  14. "Law Firm of the Year 2014 -".
  15. " Law companies to work for-Vault Law 100".
  17. 1 2 Goldhaber, Michael. "The Global Lawyer Clearys Litigation Slump". The American Lawyer. The American Lawyer. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  18. Lin, Anthony. "Cleary Sanctioned for Trying to Interfere With Testimony" (PDF). New York Law Journal. Retrieved September 30, 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  19. Lin, Anthony. "Cleary Sanctioned for Trying to Interfere With Testimony". The New York Law Journal. ALM Media Properties, LLC. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  20. Lammi, Glenn. "Judges take harder line against lawyer misconduct". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  21. Brickman, John. "CIVILITY IN EVERYDAY LAWYERING" (PDF). Brickman & Limmer, LLP. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  22. 1 2 Kanenguiser, Martin. "Vultures: the country spent on lawyers about $ 400 million". The Economist Newspaper. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  23. 1 2 "H.Cámara of Deputies". Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  24. 1 2 Rosner, Joshua. "Argentina: The Real Holdouts". Scribd Inc. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  25. Frankel, Alison. "Argentina's comments put U.S. lawyers in awkward spot". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  26. "MEMORANDUM FOR THE MINISTER OF ECONOMY AND PUBLIC FINANCE" (PDF). Inside Sources. Inside Sources. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  27. Humes, Hans. "Who to blame for Argentina's disastrous default? Its lawyers, of course". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  28. Hong, Nicole; Huang, Daniel. "U.S. Judge Threatens to Hold Argentina in Contempt of Court". Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  29. "Griesa threatens contempt ruling". Buenos Aires Herald. NEFIR S.A. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  30. "Arrest of Russian Opposition Leader Raises Tough Questions for Country's Legal System". Stop the Untouchables. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  31. "Russia Loses Major Law Suit In Oligarch Oil Case". Forbes. PARS International Corp. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  32. Spencer, Robert. "Muslim with ties to 9/11 jihad mass murderers living in U.S., virtually immune from deportation". Jihad Watch. Jihad Watch. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  33. Gray, Jeff. "From $100-e-mails to $300,000 for photocopies and meals, how Nortel racked up a $755-million tab". The Globe and MAil. The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved September 30, 2014.

External links

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