legal community


Law firms need more legal foresight and planning to push client ESG achievements

  • May 6, 2023

As ESG begins to carry more weight with clients, their outside law firms should use this opportunity to expand their ability to advise and execute on clients’ ESG initiatives

The rise of environmental, social & governance (ESG) amid converging crises is spurring the need for law firms to use more effective legal foresight by way of contextual and detailed scenario-planning and transformation governance, according to an online, cross-regional gathering of law firm leaders and legal futurists that was hosted by Inside Practice.

One consistently reinforced message from the group involves the interconnectedness of the ever-increasing pain our collective human decisions are putting on the planet and the continued degradation of nature’s ecosystems, which in turn is worsening the negative multiplier effects on the most vulnerable communities around the world. Indeed, the climate crisis is leading to irrevocable harm to the air we breathe, our food supply, and our habitable land, all of which instigates human migration patterns, geopolitical conflicts, and increased spending on reactions to the crises instead of proactive prevention.

The connection between these converging crises and the rise of investor institutional interest in ESG — including around climate transition risk — is clear. “Firms with trillions under management have become too big to let the planet fail,” stated a 2019 Harvard Business Review article. Yet, at the same time, the standing power of the hope and commitment of legal and justice strategists, leaders, and futurists is a fundamental element that’s needed to support the ambitions for positive actions now and in the future.

The legal community plays a pivotal role in the outcome and in transformational governance, a concept defined by the United National Global Compact. For “business to be more accountable, ethical, inclusive, and transparent to drive responsible business conduct, improve ESG performance,

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