Cleary Gottlieb Reviews

Updated August 27, 2014
Updated August 27, 2014
53 Reviews

2.9
53 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Cleary Gottlieb Managing Partner Mark Leddy
Mark Leddy
2 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good benefits (I'm thinking about you, free Equinox membership) (in 5 reviews)

  • Cleary is a great firm to work for, if you want to work for a firm (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Obviously long hours and managers can be hit or miss (in 7 reviews)

  • Global working hours often require working "after hours (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Cleary served its purpose....for the time I was there.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great pay and good benefits at first....benefits and overtime rates reduced over the years. Nice friendships formed. Great parties and food, nice memories.

    Cons

    Preferential treatment, politics top down, inflexibility, frosty attitudes amongst peers and management, big brother IS watching...everything!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep putting the bottom line over employee satisfaction and you may end up as your 'cousin' firm Dewey Ballantine did...take heed.

    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    worst place I have ever worked-no respect, no appreciation, low morale and full of politics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb

    Pros

    coworkers are the only positive

    Cons

    70% of the people working in one of the staff department who have been with the firm for more than 5 years have been either fired or left for other jobs. The remaining veterans will have the same fate (being fired) or luck (find other jobs).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Saving cost to boost bottom line is important to a business, but if you have to layoff people , treat long term employees with respect and distribute severance pay like other law firms. Creating false performance warning or giving hard time to employees hoping they will leave on their own may save you a few pennies, but is definitely not the practice.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    The people I worked with (the paralegal team) was fabulous but everything else was horrible.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Paralegal  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Washington, DC

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good Pay and good food

    Cons

    Treatment of employees, degrading, long hours and not flexible or reasonable, preferential treatment

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    REVAMP THE PARALEGAL DEPARTMENT

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great substantive and international experience early on

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at Cleary Gottlieb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Cleary is a great firm to work for, if you want to work for a firm. There's plenty of opportunity to get meaningful work as a junior, especially if you seek it out. The partners and senior associates are respectful and, generally, very nice and interesting people. It's also a great place to work if you're diverse in any way (sexual orientation, nationality, race, etc.).

    Cleary is also involved in some very exciting international work, including litigation and arbitration. It's one of a handful of firms that represent foreign governments not just in restructuring their debt, but also in litigation in court.

    Cons

    While the people are great, it's still a firm and the hours can be long, and sometimes brutal. You're expected to be on call at all times, and that can get stressful.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great lawyers, little pay for professional staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb full-time

    Pros

    culture, nice office, friendly staff

    Cons

    long hours, not great pay for professional staff

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Happy enough until change of management and mass layoffs

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Cleary Gottlieb full-time

    Pros

    Pretty good compensation and good benefits.

    Cons

    Unstable. Layoffs despite what they say. Many admin staff are very unmotivated, bored and boring.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Smart quirky people doing interesting legal work in a pleasant environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at Cleary Gottlieb full-time

    Pros

    * People love to say it but the culture really is different at Cleary. Whether it is a result of the old-school pure lock-step approach or the fact that almost every attorney here has Ivy growing on her office walls, Cleary definitely has a unique vibe.
    * You will be working with/for the brightest of the bright
    * Good benefits (I'm thinking about you, free Equinox membership)
    * Great office environment
    * Friday wine and cheese!

    Cons

    * At the end of the day, it is still a large law firm with the usual downsides: poor work-life balance and little chance of making partner, but if you've made peace with these inevitabilities, then you'd be hard-pressed to find a better shop.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do what you can to preserve the unique culture.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    worst place I've ever worked

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb full-time

    Pros

    none I can think of - many long term employees there stated the company is no longer what it used to be - they are disappointed at the changes

    Cons

    management only cares about profit for partners- it's ok if the company truly values the employees and rewards them with what they deserve - unfortunately this is not the case. micro management, high turnover rate, hiring junior level people to do senior level work, constant restructuring to get rid of competent employees to cut cost, depressed employees and low morale

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    advice - what advice - they will listen? i doubt it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Stellar firm, stellar employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Summer Associate  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Summer Associate in New York, NY

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Interesting work. Significant responsibility as a summer associate. Opportunity to work abroad during the summer. Excellent compensation. Willingness to accommodate unexpected needs. I was treated very well by all employees that I came in contact with at the firm. Also, the firm's extracurricular cultural activities for the summer associates were top-notched. And we were able to dine at very fine restaurants occasionally during the summer.

    Cons

    The stellar experience that I had as a summer associate may not have translated to similar treatment as a full-time associate, according to others that I know who worked at Cleary after graduating from law school and had some negative experiences with administrators and other lawyers.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Former Paralegal

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Paralegal  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Paralegal in New York, NY

    I worked at Cleary Gottlieb full-time

    Pros

    Very professional environment. Interesting cases. Daily interaction with attorneys and the attorneys tend to be very nice and agreeable.

    Cons

    Long hours. Due to the size of the firm, must take own initiative and actively communicate with supervisor to stay afloat

    Recommends

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