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Sustainability and the Legal Market

Today, sustainability is the hottest topic in corporate culture and practices. However, beyond the hype, there is often no actual reflection on what “sustainability” actually means, and how it is possible to achieve it (with the risk of empty virtue-signalling, the so-called “greenwashing”). A sustainable enterprise is worth more than a non-sustainable one, because -the economic-financial performance and the quality of products/services offered being equal- it attracts more customers, more investors, and more talent. How is it possible to promote that “magic” virtuous circle whereby value creates value?

The legal market is now beginning to tackle this issue, and corporate legal departments can be the protagonists of the process. For two reasons:

  • firstly, because the observance of pre-existing norms related to ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) parameters on the part of all corporate functions passes through the knowledge and support of the in-house counsels, beginning with the General Counsel;
  • secondly, but perhaps more importantly, because corporate legal departments themselves undertake key activities that, when conducted through best practices, send a loud and clear message on the sustainability of a firm and its value.

This position of corporate legal departments on the increasingly crucial theme of sustainability is unique, but still little considered and discussed: it is time to focus on, and acknowledge, the emerging role of in-house counsels in this area. It is the reason why 4cLegal, together with Great Place to Work and BFC -through the Forbes and Private media- has launched the initiative “La Direzione Legale Sostenibile” (#LaDirezioneLegaleSostenibile, “The Sustainable Corporate Legal Department”).

At the heart of La Direzione Legale Sostenibile stands a survey, through which anyone who works or has worked with a corporate legal department in any capacity (in-house counsel, colleague from another corporate division, external lawyer) may signal the best practices observed in different areas of its activity. In Spring 2021, 4cLegal will organize a convention in which the most voted corporate legal departments will receive an acknowledgement. Every corporate legal department mentioned in at least one survey will receive a Merit for its participation in this unprecedented initiative

La Direzione Legale Sostenibile also consists of a rich editorial calendar with new and original contributions, written and video. We discuss all aspects of sustainability In the legal market, integrating the sphere of corporate legal departments with that of law firms.

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