Part III: The imperative for law firms to take a stand on societal issues
In the previous blog of our series, we heard from Yannick and Adrian of impactvise about how the role of the legal profression can move simply from providing advice on compliance towards driving impact.
In Part III, we'll heard more about the importance of law firms stepping into the limelight and taking a stand on broader societal issues, especially in light of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
In the past, law firms have been mainly seen as providing advice. So fees and skills were the main focus when corporates are deciding which law firms to work with. But nowadays, the ESG behaviour and values of law firms come into play.
In light of the big and important social issues of our day, law firms need to - and are expected to - take a position. As every organisations has experienced, that position won't satisfy everyone, but not to take a position is not acceptable anymore.
Taking a position on the situation in Ukraine is of course an extreme example of what we mean. But there are many other situations where employees expect their law firms to take a position. If you look at something that is long-term, such as ascreening policy on whether or not you serve a fossil fuel company or a coal company as a legal advisor, no one would expect a black and white answer. It’s more about having a perspective or principles on how you serve these clients.
Do you, for example, only work with those clients on projects that move us towards a more sustainable world, or do you have a basic screening without much consequence in taking on a fossil fuel client?
It is a key opportunity to create internal discussions within the firm about the client acceptance policy, as well as the wider ESG discussion and whether or not you have defined your values.
Stay tuned: In our fourth blog, we will look at the other side and hear from Yannick and Adrian about the changing role of the General Counsel to support sustainability aims of its organisation.
In case you missed it, read part 1 here.
Ampersand Partners is a management consultancy bringing strategic clarity and execution momentum to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, regenerative economy. The Energy Transition and Sustainability practice helps energy companies navigate the energy transition and non-energy clients deliver their net zero ambitions.
impactvise enables lawyers to act and advise for positive impact by providing industry-leading ESG data analytics, sustainability-oriented consulting, and educational training for the legal services sector.