Legal Business

Target on your back – the rise and fall of the ESG lawyer?

A lot can happen in a year, and never more so it appears than in the constantly evolving world of the ESG lawyer. Pretty much a year ago to the day, we launched our inaugural ESG report, firms and lawyers having had the bandwidth afforded by the pandemic to get their heads around what they wanted their ESG image to be. In many ways, 2021 felt like a less cynical time. The industry at large was emerging from a health crisis, and we were conditioned to be kind, good corporate citizens because, let’s face it, who knew what personal and professional hell Covid might have wrought on the people we were dealing with?

Last year – the tricky task of getting firms to name mandates they’d rejected on ESG grounds notwithstanding – most firms we canvassed with our ESG questionnaire were tripping over themselves to show off their credentials. In 2021, 77% of firms questioned responded to our survey. With such an encouraging response, this year we went out to more firms, again approaching the top 25 Legal Business 100 firms, but also the top 25 Global London firms, not just the top ten. Only 52% responded.