The Thomson Reuters Institute has launched an ESG resource center, offering insights for law firms, corporations, and governments on issues concerning environmental, social, and governance topics.

“As the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement gains momentum, law firms have been positioning themselves to provide ESG advice to their clients while also getting their own houses in order,” Global Legal Post noted. “Clients, meanwhile, having been ramping up pressure on law firms to improve their records over a range of ESG-related factors.”

The ESG emphasis was reinforced in findings of the Stellar Performance: Skills and Progressions 2021 Mid-Year Survey: 85% of respondents indicated their clients’ businesses increasingly focus on ESG issues.

Whether attorneys are helping their clients tackle climate change, pay equity or supply chain issues, meeting ESG expectations provides them with a sense of purpose. The Finding purpose and having a social impact: Lawyers and tax professionals speak out survey revealed lawyers’ desire to work on ESG initiatives:

  • More than one-third (36%) of in-house attorneys said making a “direct impact on society” is how their job has a purposeful social Respondents said creating ESG initiatives for their companies and clients are among the ways they make a direct impact.
  • Nearly one third (29%) of attorneys in law firms feel the same.

An ESG focus also may help firms in the competitive talent market. As reporter Karen Sloan explained in Reuters, Reed Smith “will soon grant billable hour credits to attorneys for non-legal work related to sustainability – a move industry experts predict will catch on as firms compete for clients’ attention and lawyer recruits.”

Law firms’ use of ESG initiatives as recruiting and retention tools was reflected in the 2022 Dynamic Law Firms Report, which characterized high-growth firms as “Dynamic.” The report noted that factors beyond compensation play an important role in retaining talent, and that Dynamic firms tend to have lawyers who rate their firms highly for embracing ESG initiatives.

Firms are increasingly prioritizing ESG efforts both to meet clients’ needs as well as to recruit and retain talent. As ESG evolves, check out the ESG resource center for continually updated content.

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