New York and Berkeley, Calif., September 29, 2021 – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP today announced the launch of the ESG and Law Institute, a forum of businesses and academic institutions dedicated to the independent study of issues relating to the intersection of ESG (environmental, social and governance), business and the law. 

As organizations ramp up their sustainability and social impact commitments, new legal risks and regulations arise, creating an urgent need for centralized, solutions-oriented research and analysis that will help boards, executives, institutional investors and lawyers navigate this new legal landscape.

The Institute’s inaugural academic partner is UC Berkeley School of Law’s Business in Society Institute, one of the nation’s leading academic programs focused on ESG, business and the law. Paul, Weiss lawyers and Berkeley Law professors will convene roundtable discussions and collaborate on research within the Institute, creating a centralized hub of ESG resources and thought leadership.

“Companies urgently need guidance in areas where legal risks and corporate governance are colliding with corporate sustainability and social responsibility initiatives,” said ESG and Law Institute executive director and co-chair of the ESG Advisory Practice at Paul, Weiss, David Curran. “GCs, boards and executives need to navigate this nuanced and important area, and the Institute aims to provide the kind of detailed, up-to-the-minute information and analysis required to make sound business decisions that are in compliance with current and emerging regulations.”

Under the innovative partnership, the ESG and Law Institute will also provide two $25,000 fellowships to select Berkeley Law students to conduct research and analysis and be involved in programs and events focused on leading-edge ESG topics. Additional academic partners and fellowship recipients will be selected following the Institute’s launch.

“ESG issues are increasingly part of sound risk oversight for corporate directors and executives today, and our mission is to prepare Berkeley Law students for this new business reality,” said Amelia Miazad, faculty director and senior research fellow at Berkeley Law’s Business in Society Institute. 

“We are excited about this wonderful partnership, which will deepen the experience for our students and support important research,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of Berkeley Law. “We are grateful for the investment into our ESG program and the creation of the new fellowships, affording new opportunities for analysis of this important area.”

The Institute’s launch comes nearly a year and a half after Paul, Weiss created its Sustainability and ESG Advisory Practice to help clients navigate the legal, business and political ramifications of developing and implementing ESG initiatives. The practice will maintain an active leadership role within the Institute and partner with business and professional associations, ESG experts, and other academic institutions to organize roundtable discussions, conduct research and identify emerging issues in the field.

“As we expand our firm’s presence in the Bay Area, we are proud to partner with the region’s premier public university to bring businesses the best intel in ESG,” said Paul, Weiss chairman Brad S. Karp. “The fellowships that Paul, Weiss underwrites will help make Berkeley Law’s best-in-class legal education accessible to the next generation of lawyers, who will undoubtedly need a sophisticated understanding of ESG in their future practice.”

Sign up to receive regular updates on the ESG and Law Institute’s website and follow the Institute on LinkedIn for updates on upcoming events and to learn more about how to collaborate with the Institute’s stakeholders.

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Photo of David Curran David Curran

Dave Curran is the Executive Director of the ESG and Law Institute, a forum of businesses and academic institutions dedicated to the independent study of issues relating to the intersection of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues, business and the law. Dave is…

Dave Curran is the Executive Director of the ESG and Law Institute, a forum of businesses and academic institutions dedicated to the independent study of issues relating to the intersection of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues, business and the law. Dave is also the Co-Chair, Sustainability and ESG Advisory Practice, at Paul, Weiss, where he leads the Practice and develops and promotes the firm’s internal ESG practices.

As one of the nation’s foremost experts in ESG, Dave has a longstanding history of convening best-in-the-business ESG experts, business leaders and members of the legal community to discuss the myriad corporate sustainability and social responsibility imperatives that businesses face today. More than 1,000 lawyers, C-Suite executives, board members, industry experts, academics and students have attended these immensely popular roundtables and events, hosted by Paul, Weiss. Dave has also done adjunct work and lectured at Harvard, Boston University, New York University, New York Law School, The New School, Rutgers, and others.

Dave is a recognized leader in helping complex organizations build resilience. In addition to his work in the ESG space, he has more than 30 years of experience in legal, technology, compliance, risk and ethics roles. Dave has led many popular Thought Leadership conversations with senior executives on a variety of topics where business and technology intersect with the legal, compliance and risk ecosystems, including Transforming Law, Big Data, #MeToo and many others.

Dave began his career as a media trial and appellate lawyer before moving to senior in-house legal, compliance and regulatory affairs positions. He was previously Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer at FiscalNote, a legal AI/technology company, and held senior business and legal leadership roles with Thomson Reuters, IntraLinks, Integrity Interactive, Havas, Vertis and Campbell Soup Company.

Dave serves as co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s ESG Committee, which aims to educate and engage New York lawyers, law students and faculty on ESG practices and developments through thought leadership and robust educational programs.