Why Cleary?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:13 pm

Anyone have the scoop about Cleary NY for litigation? Culture, kinds of assignments, ease of doing litigation assignments in various practice areas, amt of doc review, etc.? I've scoured the website, talked to some people, and I want to know all I can to make the most informed decision (I'm a 3L, so this decision is more permanent than it was for SA).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:24 pm

I am also curious about this. Cleary has more corporate work, and I am leaning towards lit. Would it be a mistake to come to Cleary over other V10 firms with stronger lit groups? I liked the feel of Cleary and connected to it much more than other firms, but am concerned about this.

It does seem to have more of an international lit practice than any other firm.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:42 pm

I plan on doing litigation and picked Cleary over S&C, Skadden, PW and other V10 "litigation firms." I really liked and connected with the people in litigation. They are unparalleled in international arbitration and litigation, which translates into some really interesting white collar work (FCPA, etc). At the end of the day, Cleary has enough good litigation to give any associate a steady diet of interesting work (this might not be true of, for example IP). From there, I picked based on fit and best opportunity for growth and mentorship. Not everyone would agree, but I am convinced Cleary has the same exit options to say DOJ as any of the other V10. The smaller department still has a stellar reputation, which I think translates into senior people going to bat for associates looking to leave and avoids the "wait in line" phenomenon at more litigation focused places. Also, for the record, litigation brought in more money that corporate for the past few years. So the department is in no way marginalized within the firm. This isn't to stay the other firms aren't excellent at litigation. Just for people like me, who feel like Cleary is the right fit, it doesn't make sense to talk yourself out of it based on the corporate reputation.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:46 pm

OP here. The associates I had lunch with on my CB said that Cleary was "disorganized," administratively (I sensed this, too), but this was something that they found "lovable" about the Firm (I have no idea what that means). The disorganization kind of freaks me out, because a big place like Cleary should have the resources to ensure that the trains run on time, so to speak. But I'm not sure how much impact a disorganized HR department is going to affect our everyday lives as associates. Ugh, it's great to have the luxury of choice between good firms, but I fear that the ultimate decisions is going to come down to a coin toss (unless any generous TLS-ers want to chime in).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:48 pm

How did you assess "fit"? Like was it just clicking with partners/associates, or were there particular qualities about Cleary you found attractive (some say that Cleary is touchy-feely or something, some say they like the bigness and anonymity)?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How did you assess "fit"? Like was it just clicking with partners/associates, or were there particular qualities about Cleary you found attractive (some say that Cleary is touchy-feely or something, some say they like the bigness and anonymity)?


I think it is a number of things. The people I met at Cleary struck me as smart but not aggressive. A number of litigators tried to sell their firms as "killers" and "winners", but Cleary sold me as being a firm about common sense and advising clients through difficult deals and times. Part of that was the individual people I met, but part of that is the core firm culture. I'd take a little goofy, awkward, or disorganized over slick or arrogant. I also liked the office and the way attorneys interacted with support staff. Ultimately, it was the "gut feeling" people talk about. I could see myself in that office, doing that kind of work, with those people.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:30 pm

Any credence to Cleary's higher hours benchmark (2000 compared to, say, STB's 1800)?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:36 pm

anyone know if cleary still gives 1st years their own office? i know they stopped during 08 and 09 and were doubtful about it last year, i think.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:anyone know if cleary still gives 1st years their own office? i know they stopped during 08 and 09 and were doubtful about it last year, i think.


They still do in NY.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:06 pm

Do you know their deal with Lexis/Westlaw? Unlimited access like they have at Paul Weiss would be awesome for lit.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:06 pm

I was told during my callback by a few associates that single offices from year 1 are a thing of the past

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:51 pm

Most people share to start with but have their own within 6 months. If you pick a later start date(December or January) you may share for a bit longer. There is no billables requirement.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:12 pm

I know Cleary doesn't make you specialize, but how are assignments assigned as an associate? Do you have to go out and find your own work, or is there an assigning attorney/partner?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I plan on doing litigation and picked Cleary over S&C, Skadden, PW and other V10 "litigation firms." I really liked and connected with the people in litigation. They are unparalleled in international arbitration and litigation, which translates into some really interesting white collar work (FCPA, etc). At the end of the day, Cleary has enough good litigation to give any associate a steady diet of interesting work (this might not be true of, for example IP). From there, I picked based on fit and best opportunity for growth and mentorship. Not everyone would agree, but I am convinced Cleary has the same exit options to say DOJ as any of the other V10. The smaller department still has a stellar reputation, which I think translates into senior people going to bat for associates looking to leave and avoids the "wait in line" phenomenon at more litigation focused places. Also, for the record, litigation brought in more money that corporate for the past few years. So the department is in no way marginalized within the firm. This isn't to stay the other firms aren't excellent at litigation. Just for people like me, who feel like Cleary is the right fit, it doesn't make sense to talk yourself out of it based on the corporate reputation.


The international litigation & arbitration bit ("unparalleled") is not true at all. They are an international-ish firm, but their international dispute resolution practice is third tier (and comparatively tiny). If I wanted to do transnational litigation or int-arb I would definitely go elsewhere within the v10 (i.e. Debevoise, Skadden, etc.). That said, Cleary is a great firm in many other respects.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I plan on doing litigation and picked Cleary over S&C, Skadden, PW and other V10 "litigation firms." I really liked and connected with the people in litigation. They are unparalleled in international arbitration and litigation, which translates into some really interesting white collar work (FCPA, etc). At the end of the day, Cleary has enough good litigation to give any associate a steady diet of interesting work (this might not be true of, for example IP). From there, I picked based on fit and best opportunity for growth and mentorship. Not everyone would agree, but I am convinced Cleary has the same exit options to say DOJ as any of the other V10. The smaller department still has a stellar reputation, which I think translates into senior people going to bat for associates looking to leave and avoids the "wait in line" phenomenon at more litigation focused places. Also, for the record, litigation brought in more money that corporate for the past few years. So the department is in no way marginalized within the firm. This isn't to stay the other firms aren't excellent at litigation. Just for people like me, who feel like Cleary is the right fit, it doesn't make sense to talk yourself out of it based on the corporate reputation.


The international litigation & arbitration bit ("unparalleled") is not true at all. They are an international-ish firm, but their international dispute resolution practice is third tier (and comparatively tiny). If I wanted to do transnational litigation or int-arb I would definitely go elsewhere within the v10 (i.e. Debevoise, Skadden, etc.). That said, Cleary is a great firm in many other respects.


I'd add to this that their international practice is growing--they opened their Buenos Aires office not too long ago, and launched their Sao Paulo office late this summer. While most of their int'l opportunities are on the corporate side, I've been told there is int'l lit work to be done.

Anyone have tips for assessing fit on a re-visit? They're setting me up to talk with a partner and go to lunch with some first years (the standard deal, I'm sure), and I want to maximize this experience. Thoughts?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know Cleary doesn't make you specialize, but how are assignments assigned as an associate? Do you have to go out and find your own work, or is there an assigning attorney/partner?


It's not free market--there's an assigning team of partners/counsel. That said, a partner told me that associates often knock on doors to get the ball rolling (and then the partner/senior associate then contacts the assigning people to request you). So, initiative can pay off if you are tactful, I would imagine.

FWIW, I've also been told by that same assigning partner that they really do try to make you choose between lit and corporate your first year, and don't encourage you to do both simultaneously. So you don't have to specialize in, say, securities litigation, but you do have to choose to focus on litigation or corporate at a given time.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know Cleary doesn't make you specialize, but how are assignments assigned as an associate? Do you have to go out and find your own work, or is there an assigning attorney/partner?


It's not free market--there's an assigning team of partners/counsel. That said, a partner told me that associates often knock on doors to get the ball rolling (and then the partner/senior associate then contacts the assigning people to request you). So, initiative can pay off if you are tactful, I would imagine.

FWIW, I've also been told by that same assigning partner that they really do try to make you choose between lit and corporate your first year, and don't encourage you to do both simultaneously. So you don't have to specialize in, say, securities litigation, but you do have to choose to focus on litigation or corporate at a given time.


There's some room to do both in bankruptcy. And while you do have to chose, I've heard you have up to about two years to realize you made a mistake and you can switch.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote: The international litigation & arbitration bit ("unparalleled") is not true at all. They are an international-ish firm, but their international dispute resolution practice is third tier (and comparatively tiny). If I wanted to do transnational litigation or int-arb I would definitely go elsewhere within the v10 (i.e. Debevoise, Skadden, etc.). That said, Cleary is a great firm in many other respects.


Is this true? Everything I have heard from the firm suggests otherwise. I was under the impression that they were the premier firm for international litigation.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: The international litigation & arbitration bit ("unparalleled") is not true at all. They are an international-ish firm, but their international dispute resolution practice is third tier (and comparatively tiny). If I wanted to do transnational litigation or int-arb I would definitely go elsewhere within the v10 (i.e. Debevoise, Skadden, etc.). That said, Cleary is a great firm in many other respects.


Is this true? Everything I have heard from the firm suggests otherwise. I was under the impression that they were the premier firm for international litigation.


(I'm not the original poster) The measure really depends on region. I know, at least, for Latin American lit, there are better firms than Cleary. For representation of foreign sovereigns generally, I believe there are better firms than Cleary. Now, I think Cleary is pretty unmatched when it comes to Latin American transactional work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: The international litigation & arbitration bit ("unparalleled") is not true at all. They are an international-ish firm, but their international dispute resolution practice is third tier (and comparatively tiny). If I wanted to do transnational litigation or int-arb I would definitely go elsewhere within the v10 (i.e. Debevoise, Skadden, etc.). That said, Cleary is a great firm in many other respects.


Is this true? Everything I have heard from the firm suggests otherwise. I was under the impression that they were the premier firm for international litigation.


(I'm not the original poster) The measure really depends on region. I know, at least, for Latin American lit, there are better firms than Cleary. For representation of foreign sovereigns generally, I believe there are better firms than Cleary. Now, I think Cleary is pretty unmatched when it comes to Latin American transactional work.


This is also at diametric odds with my knowledge of the firm. If you are referring to what NY associates do in terms of international work (my understanding is it is still substantial) the unparalleled objection might hold. But in terms of the quantity and quality of international litigation coming out of the integrated foreign offices (single partnership pool) other V10 firms don't even come close. Saying the international dispute resolution practice is "third tier" is false.

imchuckbass58
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24 pm

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(I'm not the original poster) The measure really depends on region. I know, at least, for Latin American lit, there are better firms than Cleary. For representation of foreign sovereigns generally, I believe there are better firms than Cleary. Now, I think Cleary is pretty unmatched when it comes to Latin American transactional work.


This is also at diametric odds with my knowledge of the firm. If you are referring to what NY associates do in terms of international work (my understanding is it is still substantial) the unparalleled objection might hold. But in terms of the quantity and quality of international litigation coming out of the integrated foreign offices (single partnership pool) other V10 firms don't even come close. Saying the international dispute resolution practice is "third tier" is false.


Ok, let's get rid of some misconceptions:

-Unless you are a foreign-qualified lawyer, you will not be doing "international litigation" in the sense of litigating for foreign parties in foreign courts. You will either be doing litigation in US courts for foreign clients (which is basically the same as regular litigation) or international arbitration before transnational arbitral bodies.

-For rankings in international arbitration, see here: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Editorial/42672 Cleary is quite literally band 3. There are other firms (Skadden, Debevoise, Freshfields) that do a lot more and are more highly rated.

-My understanding of Cleary's US-based international practice from people who work there is that it is a heavy transactional slant. Not that there isn't international dispute resolution work coming out of the foreign offices, but it's a very small fraction, especially when you take into account that a lot of it doesn't make it to NY and is sucked up by the litigators who are actually in the foreign offices.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:30 pm

So is the conclusion not to go to Cleary if you're leaning towards litigation? Over firms like S&C, Paul Weiss, etc?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273405
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:So is the conclusion not to go to Cleary if you're leaning towards litigation? Over firms like S&C, Paul Weiss, etc?


the recent comments have concerned international lit/arbitration, specifically. IMO, Cleary is better known for its corporate practice. However, it is growing its lit ranks and strengthening its lit practice. In fact, their incoming class this fall is comprised of more litigators than corporate people. Do you have a specific interest/focus within lit?

imchuckbass58
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24 pm

Re: Why Cleary?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:So is the conclusion not to go to Cleary if you're leaning towards litigation? Over firms like S&C, Paul Weiss, etc?


I wouldn't go that far. Cleary's probably right up there generally speaking. I know plenty of lit people who chose it over those two firms.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.