Sustainability and ESG criteria in law firms

"Relevant practices in law firms and analyze the different approaches, strategies and alternatives so that the practice of law can respond to the new demands of clients and society."

On February 15 FIDE organized, within the framework of the ESG Forum, the session “Sustainability and ESG criteria in law firms”. We have the participation of William Guerra, Partner of Gómez Acebo y Pombo and Pink Bramble, Partner in charge of Garrigues Sostenible, Managing partner of Garrigues' labor department and co-director of the ESG forum. The session was moderated by Ines Garcia-Pintos Of counsel at Gaberias y asociados, associate professor at UCM, adviser on sustainability and sustainable finance and co-director of the ESG forum.

The objective of the session was to learn first-hand about relevant practices in law firms, as well as to analyze the different approaches, strategies and alternatives so that the legal practice can respond to the new demands of clients and society.

The session highlighted the importance of law firms when it comes to contribute to the implementation of ESG criteria in different aspects: the legal practice, efforts to implement a transversality between departments and an improvement of the internal management, all together with commitment with different relevant social causes.

First of all, the need to become aware of the importance of setting an example as an organization and highlight the role that law firms have in society when it comes to contributing to the improvement of ESG criteria.

the simple legal compliance it does not work anymore to attract customers, but it is necessary to have a perspective what the market expects and wants from law firms. Clients, the youngest and society in general demand a series of issues that they transcend the specific tasks of the departments and require the inclusion and impregnation of ESG criteria in the organization. The criteria of Governance are of special relevance. It is the top managers who, in their decision-making process, must consider ESG criteria as priority in order to establish frameworks, principles and policies that give it a certain visibility and consistency.

We had the opportunity to delve into examples of good practices in legal firms such as:

  • Calculation of the carbon footprint.
  • Improvement of energy efficiency.
  • External action: commitment to society, diversity, equality...
  • Adhesion to international pacts for sustainability.
  • Creation of a transversal ESG committee
  • Provision of ESG services.
  • Actions in mental health.
  • Social activities through foundations.
  • Incorporation of people with disabilities in offices.
  • Obtaining certifications.

During the discussion session, emphasis was placed on the implementation of an ESG culture in law firms and how it should impregnate all areas of the organization, offering a coherent response to the demands and social demands. On the other hand, he advocated for the implementation of training actions inside the offices. Finally, the issue of the importance of credibility and momentum of ESG criteria in law firms involves the need to realize that sustainability, social impact and governance are essential for the proper development of law firm activity and also the environment that surrounds it.

Some key insights from the session:

  • Importance of firms in the implementation of ESG criteria.
  • Need to set an example as an organization.
  • Transcendence of the ESG criteria of the main activity of the firms.
  • Maintain internal coherence to achieve objectives.
  • Determination, by the people who make decisions in firms, for the implementation of ESG criteria. 
  • Sustainability implies advising on new issues and interlocutors in clients that are different from the usual ones.
  • For the new generations, this is a factor for attracting and retaining talent.
  • Sustainability in legal advice has developed in many casos as a reaction to customer demands.
  • Sustainability is beginning to be incorporated decisively into evaluation and remuneration.
  • At the moment there are no homogeneous indicators to measure and compare the performance of law firms in this field, unlike what happens in the corporate-mercantile field. The obligation to report on sustainability will undoubtedly lead to establishing comparability parameters in the medium term.

If the article has been interesting to you,

We invite you to share it on Social Networks


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

Fill out the form and someone from our team will contact you shortly.