Law Firms

88 of 100 top law firms 'undertook work that worsened climate change,' new report says; which ones got A’s?

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Only three Vault Law 100 law firms received an A grade in a new report by Law Students for Climate Accountability, while three dozen received a failing grade of F.

The A grade law firms are Cooley; Schulte Roth & Zabel; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, according to the Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard released Thursday.

Reuters and Bloomberg Law have coverage.

The three firms got an A grade because they did no work benefiting the fossil fuel industry. Those that got an F either worked on eight or more cases exacerbating climate change, supported more than $20 billion in fossil fuel transactions, or received more than $2 million for fossil fuel lobbying.

The report singled out three law firms for “particularly egregious” work. They were Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, said to have done more fossil fuel lobbying than 91 Vault Law 100 firms combined; Allen & Overy, said to have done more fossil fuel transactions than 75 Vault Law 100 firms combined; and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, said to have litigated more fossil fuel cases than 60 Vault Law 100 firms combined.

“On the whole, 88 of the top 100 firms undertook work that worsened climate change,” the report said. From 2016 to 2020, top 100 firms handled 358 cases and $1.36 trillion in deals for the fossil fuel industry. They received $34.1 million for fossil fuel lobbying.

An Allen & Overy spokesperson told Bloomberg Law that the firm does “more renewables work than any other law firm in the world by most key measures and top[s] the league tables for solar and renewables work.” The spokesperson said the firm is “a leading innovator on green bonds and [has] advised on hundreds of infrastructure projects across the world aimed at reducing carbon emissions, increasing efficient energy use, and otherwise driving sustainability.”

Representatives from Paul Weiss and Akin Gump didn’t immediately respond to an ABA Journal request for comment.

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