ESG is ‘mission important.’ Can Paul, Weiss get legislation faculties on board?

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  • Firm is launching an ESG institute with UC Berkeley Law
  • It plans to get extra legislation faculties concerned in ESG analysis

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(Reuters) – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has teamed up with the University of California, Berkeley School of Law to launch a first-of-its sort analysis initiative centered on ESG — the quickly rising authorized subject of environmental, social and governance points.

As the primary associate college within the agency’s ESG and Law Institute, college students and professors related to Berkeley Law’s Business and Society Institute will work with Paul, Weiss attorneys to conduct analysis, convene roundtables and assemble thought leaders within the ESG area. Paul, Weiss will present two annual $25,000 scholarships to Berkeley college students concerned within the new institute within the hopes that they may assist set up a cohort of younger attorneys who’re nicely versed within the many points of ESG follow. The agency plans to develop the institute and contain extra legislation faculties sooner or later.

The Berkeley partnership additionally displays Paul, Weiss’ current Bay Area growth. The agency launched a Northern California workplace in July 2020. It now has 17 attorneys.

Institute director Dave Curran, who can be co-chair of Paul, Weiss’ ESG advisory follow, stated the institute will sort out the large image, “existential” questions surrounding ESG in a method that attorneys advising shoppers on day-to-day issues don’t have the capability to ponder. And it should carry educational rigor to the dialog round ESG, he stated.

“We need a way to convene thought leadership at an elevated and expanded level that I can’t simply do in running a practice,” Curran stated. “We also need to involve a broader community, including academics.”

Amelia Miazad, college director of Berkeley Law’s Business in Society Institute, stated she envisions the brand new partnership with Paul, Weiss bridging the hole between theoretical discussions about ESG and what’s truly occurring inside firms. Current ESG analysis tends to fall into both a really sensible class like company case research, or very theoretical legislation assessment articles.

“What’s exciting here is that we can do something that is really framed for executives and professionals but still leverages that academic rigor and research,” Miazad stated.

The analysis, polling and discussions that the Paul, Weiss ESG and Law Institute produces will likely be publicly accessible, Curran stated. The subject is evolving quickly, he stated, noting that Paul, Weiss was the primary main agency to launch a devoted ESG follow, in March of 2020.

“ESG has been around forever,” Curran stated. “The difference in the last two years is lawyers recognizing that companies making obligations like social or environmental commitments have to actually live up to those commitments.”

Paul, Weiss and its chairman Brad Karp have been notably vocal about social and political points corresponding to marriage equality, voter safety and reproductive rights. But the agency has additionally been focused by critics who say its illustration of fossil gasoline shoppers makes it complicit in local weather change.

Both Curran and Miazad stated they hope the brand new institute will immediate legislation faculties to include extra ESG coaching into their curriculum. Beyond Berkeley Law, few legislation faculties provide ESG programs aside from an occasional class taught by an adjunct, Curran stated.

“We want the legal industry to recognize that it’s mission critical for lawyers to deeply understand ESG and how it intersects with the law,” Curran stated. “We need students to be thinking about it. This is the fastest growing specialty that no one knows about.”

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REUTERS/Andrew Kelly