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

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By Alex Aldridge on

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.