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Cleary Gottlieb makes London paralegals redundant

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Trainees to take on additional work

US outfit Cleary Gottlieb has made all its paralegals in London redundant, with the firm citing a drop in demand for their services as the reason for the decision.

Until recently, Cleary’s UK recruitment website welcomed applications from prospective paralegals who were “detail-oriented, have excellent organizational ability and strong written and oral communication skills”. Now, law grads looking to gain some valuable legal experience at the US outfit are met with the message:

“Cleary Gottlieb’s London office no longer has an active Paralegal recruitment program.”

The firm’s handling of the job cuts hasn’t gone down well with some, with one insider telling RollOnFriday that trainees were “expected to pick up their work after an hour of handover”.

A spokesperson for Cleary said:

“We confirm that we have made three paralegals redundant in our London office. This was regrettable but followed a 9 month review of work patterns that indicated that there was no longer the same level of demand for their services as had historically existed.”

“Those services are now being provided by a combination of our junior administrative staff [and] where it helps to provide additional training in areas such as court work, trainee solicitors”, the spokesperson added.

Traditionally, US law firms have much flatter, leaner hierarchical structures compared to their UK counterparts. This means that while junior lawyers at US firms tend to receive less in the way of paralegal/administrative support (and as a result spend some of the longest hours in the office), they are among the most well-remunerated in the City. A newly qualified (NQ) lawyer at Cleary, for example, receives a hefty salary of £120,000 — a full £20,000 over and above its nearest magic circle rival Freshfields.

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75 Comments

Anonymous

Paralegals are bitches anyway. Manchester be gone.

(11)(75)

Anonymous

Unduly harsh and frankly also unnecessary comment.

(111)(4)

Anonymous

Shut up. Don’t respond to my comments then, you patronising twat.

(10)(88)

Anonymous

Unduly harsh and frankly also unnecessary comment. (Part 2)

(93)(4)

Anonymous

I fight you.

Anonymous

Unduly harsh and frankly also unnecessary comment. (Part 3)

Anonymous

Stop up voting your own comments. So lame.

Anonymous

Unduly harsh and frankly also unnecessary comment. (Part 4)

Anonymous

Everyone knows that paralegals are law graduates who are frankly not good enough to qualify as real lawyers. Like Rachel Zane.

Anonymagic

Very sad even if justified by the firm’s necessity (and right) to remain a competitive and profitable business.

I hope that paralegaling at such a prestigious white shoe firm will at least allow these booted paralegals to land TCs at equally reputable law firms in the City.

What kind of work were they undertaking at Cleary?

(34)(1)

Kirkland NQ

They should have found a second profession to fall back on. I, for example, played up front for Man Utd’s youth teams, and broke all their records for goals before getting tempted into law.

(9)(26)

Anonymous

Piss off

(36)(0)

Anonymous

Paralegals are cocksuckers.

(2)(22)

Kirkland NQ

It’s true. Gareth Southgate was just on the phone asking if I’m available for the Nations League. Unfortunately I’ll be in Monte Carlo that week schmoozing some PE big wigs so had to say no.

(5)(5)

Anonymous

This article is (unsurprisingly) almost identical to the article published on ROF…

(31)(0)

Anonymous

It’s sad that ROF is practically dead as even very good posts rarely attract more than a handful of comments…

Legal Cheek has big shoes to fill in!

(11)(6)

Anonymous

Hi Alex!

(24)(1)

Anonymous

I’m only here for the comments

(5)(0)

Anonymous

… until Alex deletes the ones that are actually worth reading

(39)(0)

Anonymous

Or make him cry about his stupid expensive event

Anonymous

I can confirm this as another paralegal that had the misfortune of working at the Cleary sweatshop. Avoid!!!!

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Get the f*** out of the toilet cubicle and come draft my SHAs before I throw another stapler at your face.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Hope the paralegals get jobs elsewhere and move onto better things. Just hope they don’t think all firms are like this
There remains some firms that don’t abuse their staff.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

same

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Which firms? (Not being snarky just genuinely curious so I can move)

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Were you offered training contracts elsewhere? Would you have picked an MC firm over Cleary?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Paralegals are failed law graduates. Most of them have poor grades/studied at crap universities, and hence can’t secure TCs.

I abuse paralegals like the peasants they are at my firm.

(18)(54)

KNQ

Respect.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

absolutely love the “trainee associate” title. LMAO

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Alex/LC stop deleting comments from Cleary paralegals/trainees.

(38)(0)

Anonymous

Yes. It just makes the firm look even worse, as we’ll assume they are trying to silence people.

(28)(0)

Works at CGSH

Thanks for deleting my comment LC, well done.

(34)(0)

Anonymous

I saw your comment. Would you have picked a MC firm over Cleary?

(3)(0)

Works at CGSH

Had I been offered a role, yes.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Even though it’s less money?

(4)(0)

Works at CGSH

Definitely. What’s the point in making a lot of money if you dread going to work everyday.

Anonymous

But US training contracts are gold dust

Works at CGSH

Is that what they teach you on your LLB course these days?

Anonymous

US TCs != Cleary TCs

Anonymous

Is this real?

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Of course not.

(1)(0)

Fourth seat MC trainee

At my firm they keep the paralegals on fixed term contracts. They are gradually cutting the numbers of paralegals by not renewing contracts (as opposed to using redundancy). As a result, the paralegals that remain are quite often working evenings and weekends (whereas before it was definitely a 9:30-5:30 job). It’s probably the way the industry is going.

(11)(1)

Former Cleary Gottlieb Paralegal

Thanks for deleting my comment, Alex.

(35)(0)

MoneyLaw Honey

1.2 times the pay; twice the workload.

(6)(0)

Kirkland & Ellis Senior Associate

Absolutely terrible from Cleary to mistreat employees.

Paralegals – come join the Corporate M&A team, we are recruiting.

(38)(0)

Anonymous

What salary is being offered?

(13)(0)

Kirkland & Ellis Senior Associate

£40-42k + OT + 5% annual bonus. Send your CV to our HR team.

(26)(0)

Anonymous

Trolling or serious about hiring these people?

(10)(0)

Kirkland & Ellis Senior Associate

Serious post.

Birmingham NQ

“£40-42k + OT + 5% annual bonus.”

This is literally better than any regional firm pays in Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds to me as a newly qualified lawyer. I’m outta here.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Rates in London are completely different. A lot of paralegals working at US firms in London earn more than trainees due to overtime hours being paid x1.5 or x2 and a high starting salary!

Anonymous

You surely mean PE as K&E are not that renowned for their M&A capabilities…

(1)(17)

Anonymous

And that would prevent them from looking to expand their M&A practice how exactly?

(21)(0)

MC Trainee

Incredible short-sighted decision. Paralegals are amazing – the ones in my department take off massive burdens from the shoulders of trainees and associates, work like workhorses, and work across multiple deals – far more than trainees do, and I’ve never heard them complain. At the end, they also generate cheaper fees for clients as well.

The firm recently laid off tons of cap markets and finance paralegals with the expectation to offshore these roles to (cheaper) regional centres (recruitment is still ongoing). Except that people outside of London leave the office at 5.30pm… How the f do you expect trainees and associates to organise closings alongside all their other work without this in-office support? Firing junior staff overstretches everyone else in the department – you can see the effect of this (associates fighting over trainees, weekend working, tiredness and stress, anger at the way work is allocated, face-time culture…)

Also, why are comments FROM THOSE INSIDE CLEARY OF ALL PLACES being deleted? Can LegalCheek please disclose how much sponsorship money they get from Cleary? Why isn’t the comment section on RollOnFriday as active as on LegalCheek, where there is no censorship? Or can someone please create a website where there isn’t an underlying profit motive?

(88)(1)

Anonymous

Great comment! Alex will probably delete your post because of the last paragraph. Legal cheek are horrendous.

(39)(0)

MC Trainee

And just before you delete my above comment (if you do), I do sympathise that you guys need to pay the bills. But you also have a responsibility to give students and those wanting to enter the profession an honest reflection of what working in city law is like. It is not always glamorous. So that includes not deleting comments from those working in law firms where negative news does come to light.

You published a comment from a Cleary spokesman – why delete comments from Cleary paralegals and trainees?

(35)(0)

Anonymous

The Clearly spokesman comment was definitely just a wind-up.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

But from the partners’ perspective:

“They take burdens off the trainees and associates”. No benefit to PEP.

“They generate cheaper fees for clients”. Negative for this year’s PEP (probably beneficial for long term relationship, but partners want to hit this year’s numbers and get cash out.)

“How the f do you expect trainees and associates to organise closings alongside all their other work without this in office supports?”. The partners don’t know, but you can bet they do expect it. Canning the paras and making trainees work harder is good for this year’s PEP.

So all in all, when it comes to what partners care about (making as much money as possible right now), this was a no-brainer for management.

(5)(5)

Cleary para

🙁

(33)(0)

Anonymous

What I find amazing is the rate at which LC delete comments revealing the truth, yet they leave somewhat offensive comments alone. In the next breath, LC are writing articles on mental health in the profession?!

LC, you will be doing our MH a favour by letting the truth run free. We need to know what Cleary is truly like so that we can avoid it. Please.

(37)(0)

Legal Cheek spokesman

We’re very passionate about mental health, unless it gets in the way of the money we receive from law firms to delete any negative comments about them.

(31)(1)

Anonymous

(BTW that was a joke, I doubt very much LC are paid by firms to remove comments)

(4)(2)

Cleary trainee

Alex is defiantly paid to remove comments. We had a lot of comments from trainees and paralegals working at Cleary which reflected the truth about working at the firm. Alex deleted all of them…

(16)(0)

Anonymous

Ok Alex…

(3)(0)

Cleary trainee

Good to see LC deleting my comments reflecting the truth about working as a trainee or paralegal at Cleary.

(36)(0)

Anonymous

Instead of getting annoyed that your comments are getting deleted, just pop them on ROF. I’m sure we’d all like to hear the inside views. Bye Alex.

(25)(0)

Anonymous

Look you freeloading bastards, this site needs to make money and I don’t see any of you contributing any time soon. So what if I take a little greaser here and there to make ends meet?

(3)(1)

Comments are closed.

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