Our takeaways from the GAiL conference

Anna Triponel
March 17, 2023
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We decided to have a London team get-together this week at the Global Alliance of Impact Lawyers (GAiL) conference. In case you missed our top three highlights from the event (on our Human Level Linkedin page), here they are:

➡️ Kate Raworth shows us how to translate the doughnut economics into corporate and legal practice. In short, focus on evaluating the company’s purpose, networks, governance, ownership and finance. The desire to be regenerative and distributive needs to be designed into the business model – it’s the only way forward.

Take a look at this photo which is what Kate recommends professional service companies (including law firms) consider in their work:

➡️ Paul Powlesland and Brontie Maria Ansell from Lawyers for Nature run us through how Faith for Nature legally appointed ‘Nature’ to its Board of Directors. Innovative lawyering at its best.

➡️ Charles Conn, Chair of the Patagonia Board of Directors, described the two-year journey they went through to make the Earth the company’s only shareholder – again, creative lawyers – who were able to listen, and be brave, played a key role in this innovative legal development.

So a lot of focus on lawyers. And in particular. being an impact lawyer. But what does it mean to be an impact lawyer? A question the Global Alliance of Impact Lawyers (GAIL) were interviewing us lawyers about (or no-longer-practising lawyers for some of us!)

For me, being an impact lawyer means being a lawyer who is aware that the world around us is very different than we were at law school. A lawyer who knows and understands the law, while understanding where the world is going (the climate and planetary crises), and is able to bring those two together to advise their clients to be ready for the transformation ahead 🌍

I left the law as many of you know to work on where the law was going - the soft law ahead - which became the UN Guiding Principles. But today, you no longer need to leave the law to work on this: soft law has become hard law. And the world around us shows that there is no other way for business than integrating consideration of people and planet into their core business model.

As Kate Raworth said, “What is the portrait lawyers have of themselves? We need to re-write it.”

Let’s advance and learn as we go. “We mustn’t let perfection get in the way of moving forward” – words of Charles Conn.

“Lawyers have a privileged role in society – we have the trust and we counsel. If not us, then who?” Words of Brontie Maria Ansell.