Cleary Gottlieb’s longstanding commitment to public service dates back to three of its founders: George W. Ball served as Undersecretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Fowler Hamilton served as Director of the Agency for International Development and Henry J. Friendly became Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Cleary Gottlieb’s presence as the first international law firm in Europe was a direct consequence of the close relationship between George Ball and Jean Monnet, the chief architect of the European Community. In his role as General Counsel of the French Supply Commission, the central purchasing agency headed by Mr. Monnet that worked to rebuild post-war France, Mr. Ball led the firm in advising Mr. Monnet on the implementation of the Marshall Plan and on the development of an economic plan for post-war Europe. The latter work helped lay the foundation for the European Coal and Steel Community (established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris), the first treaty organization of the European Union.
Cleary Gottlieb’s commitment to public service continues today. In the United States and abroad, many of our senior lawyers currently hold or have recently held prestigious government and public sector posts. For example, four of our senior lawyers currently serve as Executive Committee members of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association, and one partner recently served as its Chair. Others have held senior roles within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Air Force. In Europe, partners served as Special Advisor to the EU Commissioner for Industry and Telecommunications, and as a member of the Commission Bancaire et Financière, the Belgian banking and supervisory authority. Our lawyers have also trained as judicial clerks before or shortly after joining the firm, including for justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice.
In response to the global financial crisis, several members of the firm have been active in regulatory reform and other related public service advisory work in the financial services industry. In addition to providing pro bono legal advice on these matters, the firm continues to maintain an active pro bono practice. Many of our lawyers act as directors of community planning organizations; are active within national and international bar associations; serve on the boards of municipalities, schools and hospitals; and participate in numerous civic organizations committed to the arts, community welfare, civil rights, education and the environment.
We count among our alumni former partners who have held distinguished roles in the U.S. government.