Our key takeaway: “Climate change is a risk to you, your firm and your clients. Navigating the issue isn’t just an aspiration, it’s often a professional obligation.” Words from the Law Society of England and Wales, the first to issue guidance to lawyers on how to practise law within a context of climate change. But it won’t be the last. Climate change is with us, whether we like it or not, and is impacting business and the legal practice in a major way. Laws are rapidly evolving; business risks are increasing; professional expectations are changing. The Law Society points to a number of reasons why any solicitor should have at least a basic level of understanding of the impact of climate change - just like other areas such as tax and competition law. With time, it will start to be malpractice to not consider climate change in legal advice. The guidance tackles the elephant in the room when it comes to law firm emissions: it’s not about travel to client meetings. It’s about those emissions associated with matters solicitors advise on (referred to as ‘advised emissions’ or ‘scope four’ emissions). It delves into actions solicitors can take - whether in law firms or in-house - underscoring that in-house solicitors will have to do this to provide holistic advice to the organisation. Yes, definitely a changing world for solicitors too.
The Law Society published ‘The impact of climate change on solicitors’ (April 2023):