This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts. Here is the second in our series.

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You might be surprised to learn what your clients expect from you. A growing number of companies have signed on to the United Nations Global Compact—more than 12,000 in 165 countries. They’re committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and they expect vendors and suppliers to also commit toward a more just and sustainable world.  Yes, this includes law firms and other professional service providers.

Partnership for the Goals—Using your legal expertise to lead change

As your clients and prospects embrace the UNSDGs, many, if not all would benefit from the skills, talents, and knowledge of the legal industry. Perhaps more than any profession, lawyers shouldn’t just BE the change they want to see in the world, but perhaps should be LEADING the change. As client companies step up, so should their lawyers—including in-house and outside law firms—to help achieve the changes necessary to progress toward these goals.

Goal number 17 – Partnerships for the Goals encourages signatory companies to ensure supply chain firms and vendors—including law firms—are also committed to making progress on the global goals. Hence, you may be seeing greater scrutiny than ever from clients during the RFP process, with probing and specific questions about your firm’s corporate responsibility and social impact programs. And these expectations go well beyond ProBono programs and Diversity & Inclusion efforts. This practice will only continue to increase as demands for change and the expectations of all stakeholders grow exponentially.

Goal #17 also encourages partnerships of all types to help make greater progress than any one organization could achieve alone. This is a tremendous opportunity for law firms to engage with their clients to work toward the global goals that are most relevant and material to them. Partnerships deepen relationships between companies when they collaborate to achieve even greater social impact.

Are your clients  signators of the UN Global Compact?

You can take these simple steps to learn whether your clients are signators of the UN Global Compact and/or are working on any of the UNSDGs.

  1. Simply ask. Being proactive in this conversation can only help your position as a trusted advisor for all your clients’ business needs—including social impact and sustainability—as well as legal issues.
  2. Refer to the UN Global Compact website. Use the website search function to find your clients’ names and determine if they’re signators.
  3. Review your clients’ websites. Most companies who have joined the UN Global Compact and/or are using the UNSDGs as a framework for their social impact programs celebrate this on their website. Their specific social impact initiatives often are tied to the relevant UNSDGs their program aligns with. Your clients’ website will reveal their priorities for social impact programs.

Pam Cone is the Founder and CEO of Amity Advisory, and Global Social Responsibility Officer at Milliman. 

Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.