Cleary Gottlieb silent over claims it bills clients for students’ work

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Blogosphere report says London office of US firm is charging out its vac schemers


The London office of elite US megafirm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is not responding to requests for comment about claims that it has been charging clients for work done by work experience students.

The allegations were published this morning on legal blog RollOnFriday, which reported that “vac schemers at [Cleary’s] London office are expected to produce a certain number of hours of chargeable work during their stay”, continuing:

The actual billing target is not known, but one vac schemer confirmed it was firm policy and understood that research they had been charged out [sic].

This morning Legal Cheek reached out to Cleary for comment and, after various attempts to make contact, was told that the firm had received our email request but was still considering whether or not to respond. A deadline which we agreed for Cleary to make up its mind passed without further communication.

Cleary’s website states that its London work experience schemes “aim to provide potential training contract applicants with a practical insight into life as a Cleary lawyer”, adding:

Our objective throughout is to involve participants directly in client work.

The firm — where newly qualified solicitors earn a whopping £105,000 — pays work experience students £500 per week. It takes on up to 48 of them each year.



£105,000? They might struggle to attract top talent. How can they justify not paying £140,000 like Kirkland?



Lol, where do you work son?



Probably for Dentons



Rather think Kirkland are making up for something by paying so much. Cleary and some of the other top US firms with UK TCs can attract top talent without needing to pay pegged US salary rates



Kirkland have been hemorrhaging associates/partners in the last year or two, so might not be the most attractive place to work atm.



“Reached out”

10 points scored in LC Bingo



Is that not normal? I know for a fact that the work I did on work experience at a smaller firm years ago was charged out. The work was still done for the client and checked by an employee there? Is that such a big deal?



This news update featured on Roll On Friday this morning. LC lagging behind as usual…



LC is ROF’s backup blog



I don’t see what the issue is here? I could see an issue if the person doing the work wasn’t being paid anything but this clearly isn’t the case here, and £500 per week for a vacation scheme seems a pretty good deal to me.


Love it really

U nawty lil firm.

Pleased your work holds value, or upset at ‘exploitation’?

As a talking point, the latter could be used to boast of the former.



“vac schemers at [Cleary’s] London office are expected to produce a certain number of hours of chargeable work during their stay”

They probably just input it into their timesheets. Whether it is ACTUALLY charged for REAL money is another matter lel


Irwin Mitchell Titan

DWF do the same, I hear. It’s their bread and butter – as many free interns as possible billing as much as possible.

Keeps the equity partners “divorce funds” afloat.


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