The Chancery Lane Project: Practical Law Resources for Drafting Climate-Conscious Clauses
Earlier this month, The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP) released its 2021 Impact Report, gauging the impact of the group’s efforts to bring together legal professionals to fight the climate crisis. Practical Law is among the organizations featured in the report’s case studies, and as TCLP explained on LinkedIn: “Thomson Reuters has encouraged its editors to work with TCLP from the outset, recognising that the US translations of TCLP clauses will address increasing client demand for climate-conscious drafting.”
Thomson Reuters editors are incorporating climate-conscious clauses – given children’s names to remind readers of the impact these clauses can have on future generations – into Practical Law online resources. Legal Current talked with Thomson Reuters colleagues leading Practical Law’s efforts with TCLP for an insider’s perspective on their work.
Roger Horner, senior legal editor, Government Practice, Practical Law, explained how Thomson Reuters became involved with TCLP. “In late 2020, a small group of Practical Law editors joined TCLP’s efforts to promote the use of climate-conscious clauses in a wide range of legal matters. Here in the U.S., we were able to take advantage of the great work lawyers in the UK had done for TCLP. We started out with a translation project that involved adapting some of the UK clauses for use by US lawyers.”
He noted plans to continue adding TCLP clauses into Practical Law resources.
“Our 2021 content plan for the Government Practice team includes publishing some of these new versions of TCLP’s clauses in Practical Law resources,” he said. “It’s a win-win because it provides another way to bring attention to TCLP’s work, while expanding Practical Law’s offerings to include climate-conscious content. Moving into 2022, we’ll continue to adapt and publish TCLP’s clauses.”
Brandon Moss, senior legal editor, Litigation, Practical Law, shared how Practical Law users can encourage their clients and business partners to adopt TCLP clauses in their contracts. “As with Practical Law’s existing Standard Documents and Standard Clauses, Practical Law users can easily adopt and adapt TCLP clauses to suit the individual needs of their clients and business partners and the circumstances at hand. Practical Law users can adopt TCLP clauses – without having to reinvent the drafting process – because, once incorporated into Practical Law Standard Documents, the clauses are ready for immediate use. Alternatively, Practical Law users can adapt TCLP clauses by customizing clauses to a particular transaction or circumstances.”
“We hope our climate-conscious legal clauses will help Practical Law users realize that every lawyer can fight climate change,” Horner added. “We want clauses like these to become standard, so the broader legal community will see their benefits, incorporate them into their precedents, and generate their own ideas for positive environmental impacts.”
“TCLP clauses cover a broad footprint and address various litigation and transactional issues across a wide base of industries and settings,” Moss said. “Given the broad reach of TCLP clauses, there are multiple opportunities for counsel, clients, and business partners to incorporate TCLP clauses in the immediate term for a particular matter or in the long term as part of future customs and practices.”
Becky Clissmann, environmental law editor at Practical Law and a member of the TCLP steering group, will chair a workshop, Leveraging Contracts to Get to Net Zero, at The Business Green Net Zero Festival on Sept. 30. It will provide tools, tips and case studies on using contractual relationships to deliver on climate as well as value.
Clissmann’s workshop is a preview of TCLP’s Net Zero Toolkit that will launch soon to show legal professionals how to draft climate-aligned legal agreements that help their clients deliver their net zero targets. The toolkit is in advance of the COP26 summit, the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties that kicks off in Glasgow on Oct. 31.