The ESG report – Overview: Turning on a greenback

The ESG report – Overview: Turning on a greenback

‘Two years ago, if you asked top firms about their ESG credentials they would tell you about the beach clean-up they organised or how they don’t use plastic bags. Now everyone’s got an ESG website and I’m sure many have made statements they wish they hadn’t.’

The words of Ben McQuhae, founder of specialist sustainability law firm Ben McQuhae & Co, speak of the conundrum facing pundits attempting to scrutinise the environmental, social and governance (ESG) bona fides of the top 25 Legal Business 100 and top 25 Global London firms. Continue reading “The ESG report – Overview: Turning on a greenback”

The ESG report – Russia: All bite, no bark

The ESG report – Russia: All bite, no bark

It was uncharacteristically decisive. Rapidly after Russia did the unthinkable and invaded Ukraine on 24 February, many international law firms with Moscow operations hurried out strongly-worded statements at the behest of a hysterical legal press. Linklaters was the first of the major players to react, announcing on 4 March that it would ‘wind down’ its Moscow office, and vowed not to represent any clients connected to the Russian regime. Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) promised the same, even swearing to withdraw ‘as quickly as we can’, while a host of firms ominously, and vaguely, pledged to ‘review the situation’.

The next few months saw many firms ostensibly live up to promises, albeit at varying speeds. Some favoured a hard and fast exit, and some went as far as to cease acting for any Russian nationals, irrespective of perceived guilt or innocence connected with the war. Fewer took more time to gently spin out their Moscow hubs to become new separate entities, with an optimistic view to reconnecting if the global situation ever makes that politically viable again. Continue reading “The ESG report – Russia: All bite, no bark”

The ESG report – Diversity and inclusion: A false start?

The ESG report – Diversity and inclusion: A false start?

‘I haven’t seen progress like I’ve seen it in the last 18 months or so at any point in my career,’ proclaims Harold Brako, head of Addleshaw Goddard’s Manchester office. ‘It’s been fuelled by a number of reasons, not least the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd.’

In June 2019, when Legal Business last wrote about ethnic diversity in the legal profession, the world was a very different place. Theresa May was still prime minister, and most people would have guessed that Covid was some new media-sharing platform. Continue reading “The ESG report – Diversity and inclusion: A false start?”

‘I’ve acted for every villain you can name’: Lessons in ESG from its trailblazers – and how to dodge the greenwashing bullet

‘I’ve acted for every villain you can name’: Lessons in ESG from its trailblazers – and how to dodge the greenwashing bullet

Big Law came late to the ESG party compared to regulated financial services industries, with many law firms only getting the memo as recently as the pandemic.

At the forefront of this movement for approaching 20 years are professor Paul Watchman, senior UN legal adviser and former Freshfields partner, and Paul Clements-Hunt, founder of The Blended Capital Group, a former adviser to the UN on sustainable finance and the person who coined the term ESG. Legal Business sat down with these trailblazers to discuss why lawyers must embrace good corporate citizenship. Continue reading “‘I’ve acted for every villain you can name’: Lessons in ESG from its trailblazers – and how to dodge the greenwashing bullet”

The ESG report – Event: Advising and acting for clients on ESG-related risks

The ESG report – Event: Advising and acting for clients on ESG-related risks

ESG imperatives have never been more at the fore for partners, general counsel (GCs), or indeed any professional with exposure to related reputational risk. A webinar, hosted by Legal Business and sponsored by Travers Smith brought together partners, experts from in-house, the Bar and a crisis-management guru for a diverse and challenging debate on the ESG-related risks – and rewards – at the top of the agenda.

*****

Nathalie Tidman, Legal Business: What are the main ESG risks that corporates are facing right now? Continue reading “The ESG report – Event: Advising and acting for clients on ESG-related risks”

‘The most tonto year ever’: the story behind a frenetic 12 months for private equity – and what’s next

‘The most tonto year ever’:  the story behind a frenetic 12 months for private equity – and what’s next

‘Ten years ago, PE didn’t do take-privates that often; what’s changed over the last five years in particular is that they are now completely accepted as buyers of public businesses. All the regulatory authorities get it, the banks understand it, so there’s no limit on the deals.’ So comments David Higgins, Kirkland & Ellis private equity (PE) heavyweight on the ever-increasing influence buyout houses now have on the public markets.

Of course, public-to-privates are nothing new but the volume and profile of deals and the breadth of sectors they are investing across is continuing to rise to new heights. Inevitably, as it does so, many firms are responding by reshaping their corporate practices – not to mention the way they do deals. Continue reading “‘The most tonto year ever’: the story behind a frenetic 12 months for private equity – and what’s next”