Cleary Gottlieb

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP (Cleary Gottlieb) is an American multinational law firm headquartered at One Liberty Plaza in New York City. Cleary Gottlieb is the law firm that successfully represented CEO  in a lawsuit against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). [1][2]


Established in 1946, Cleary Gottlieb originated from a group of six partners departing from Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland to establish a new firm initially named "Cleary, Gottlieb, Friendly, & Cox." Henry Friendly, one of the original partners, had his name removed from the firm's title after he was appointed a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1959. Melvin Steen was also one of the founding partners. [3][4]

The firm is more active on large merger and acquisition deals involving Russian companies under sanctions or restrictions than any other law firm since 2010. The firm advised Russian state-owned energy groups Rosneft and Gazprom. [4]

Cleary Gottlieb serves clients such as International and national business organizations, Financial institutions, Sovereign governments and their agencies, Nonprofits and community organizations, and Civil rights and human rights groups. [3]

Cleary Gottlieb & Ripple & SEC

In December 2020, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an action against . and two of its executives, who are also significant security holders, alleging that they raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered digital asset securities offering. The complaint alleged that Ripple raised funds, beginning in 2013, through the sale of digital assets known as  in an unregistered securities offering to investors in the U.S. and worldwide. [6]

Cleary Gottlieb law firm through partner, represented Ripple Labs Inc.'s executives and in successfully obtaining the dismissal with prejudice of the claim by the SEC that he aided and abetted certain of Ripple’s offers and sales of , the native digital asset of the XRP Ledger, a public . [5]

By dismissing this claim, the SEC abandoned a trial that was slated to begin in April 2024. This follows Mr. Garlinghouse’s successful summary judgment motion with the Court dismissing all of the primary liability claims against him. He now has the full dismissal of all of the SEC’s claims against him. [5]

On July 13, 2023, Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to all of personal sales of and “programmatic” sales of XRP on digital asset exchanges. The Court also denied the SEC’s motion for summary judgment against Mr. Garlinghouse on the aiding and abetting claim, setting up a highly anticipated trial on this claim for April 2024. On October 3, 2023, the Court denied the SEC’s motion for leave to appeal and to stay the trial. [5][6]

On October 19, 2023, rather than attempting to prove its claims at trial, the SEC voluntarily dismissed the sole remaining claim against Ripple's executives. All claims against and have now been dismissed, resulting in a victory for the defendants over the SEC in a litigated case. [5][6]

“This case was approved in the waning days of the former chairman’s tenure,” - Cleary partner said.

“We always believed that the case was meritless, and that the SEC compounded its error by personally targeting Brad, who did absolutely nothing wrong. The Court was right to dismiss the core of the SEC’s case this summer. Faced with the prospect of having to prove its remaining claim against Brad in court, the agency was right to abandon it.”[5]

There were several lawyers involved in the SEC v. Ripple case. [11]

and its executives were represented by attorney  from  and attorneys Andrew Ceresney and Mary Jo White from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. On the other hand, the SEC was represented by attorneys Marc J. Jones and Peter Bryan Moores. [11][12]

Awards & Recognition

  • Law360 recognized Cleary in its "Global 20" List of Preeminent Global Law Firms, 2014. [7]
  • Cleary was selected as the Americas Law Firm of the Year for 2015 and the Russian Law Firm of the Year in 2013, 2014, and 2015 by the International Financial Law Review. [8]
  • Legal Business ranked Cleary as its Law Firm of the Year in 2013. [9]
  • Vault ranked Cleary Gottlieb as the #8 Best Law Firm in 2016, based on prestige to work for from branche-internal surveys. [10]
  • The Chambers USA Guide gave Cleary Gottlieb the Chambers & Partners' inaugural International Law Firm of the Year award in 2016. [10]
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Cleary Gottlieb

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Edited On

January 11, 2024

Reason for edit:

added info on lawyers


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