Matthew Fisher, Cleary Gottlieb

Name: Matthew Fisher

Firm: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Position: NQ solicitor

Degree: English Law & French Law, LLB and Maîtrise en Droit (Master 1)

University: King’s College London and Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Hobbies: Thai boxing, running, languages, politics, American literature, cooking

Current department: Non-departmentalized seat abroad in Moscow/Paris 

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 6/4

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

It was a good fit: I enjoy analysing and explaining, and I wanted to do international work that would allow me to use my language skills and work abroad.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

Persuading firms to take me over other candidates who had already completed a vacation scheme with them made the process a little more challenging.

Matthew Fisher, Cleary Gottlieb
Matthew Fisher, Cleary Gottlieb

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

If you’re living in France, doing your degree in France and interning at a law firm in France, why don’t you just stay there?” This was a difficult one because I was considering that option too. I kept that quiet and instead answered that I was very interested in Russian work – for which London is the frontrunner – and that I preferred the method of training under the UK system. 

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

One of the particularities about Cleary is the firm’s non-departmentalized structure. At the moment I am mainly working on M&A, but I have done capital markets, arbitration and plain corporate work too since starting this Moscow/Paris split seat.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

The deals we work on usually have some kind of bizarre legal, commercial or political aspect to them. Throw in colleagues and clients from different cultures and you end up with some interesting experiences.

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

Counter-intuitively, the longest days often pass the quickest.

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

Actually it’s an email from a secretary in Moscow saying that a delivery of food has been made to the office, so I’ll skip to the next one! It’s an email from a Russian client requesting that I prepare a press release on a director’s share purchases, for publication via the regulatory news services of the London and Moscow stock exchanges. 

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

My running buddy at the firm usually has his finger on the pulse. 

Describe your training partner in three words.

During this seat abroad I don’t have a single training partner, rather I have my own office and am supervised by the various senior lawyers I work with directly.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I was once a stowaway.
  • I once visited Rasputin’s house.
  • I sometimes sell tourist souvenirs in underpasses to top up my income.

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

A cook. I like food and the atmosphere of a busy kitchen is not so far-removed from the office on a busy day.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

Think carefully about which seats you want to do – it will most likely dictate what you’ll be doing for the next 40 years or so.