As a member of AusLSA, you are part of a highly informed and progressive group 

Take a few minutes every few months to update yourself on the latest thoughts, resources and opportunities to lead your practice toward sustainability.


Legal Sustainability CONNECT 
ideas + people = opportunity  

AusLSA Bulletin
May - August 2019


Welcome to the Australian Legal Sector's Bulletin

The Australian Legal Sector Bulletin keeps you up to date with a collection of the most interesting articles, tools and events from AusLSA, fellow members, legal industry leaders and sustainability leaders.

Spread the word - please recommend this bulletin to your friends and colleagues with an interest in the sustainability of your firm.

AusLSA members won't get caught out for non disclosure!!

The Carbon Disclosure Project is targeting 707 companies over 46 countries for not disclosing their climate change, water security and deforestation data. This is part of CDP's 2019 Non-Disclosure Campaign, which aims to drive corporate transparency around these issues. Investors are asking for this information to make corporate engagement decisions and the need will continue to increase as community ESG awareness grows.

Read the article from Sustainable Business HERE 

AusLSA Member firm confirms new gender targets for 2023

Member firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, has confirmed that women will comprise 35 percent of partners and partner leadership roles by 2023. HSF CEO Mark Rigotti noted that women in partnership increased from 81 to 124 in the five years since the original targets were set and that the firm is making real progress with gender diversity in the partnership.

Read more the Lawyers Weekly article HERE.

The benefits of pro bono work are endless... 

Two lawyers from AusLSA Executive Member firm DLA Piper have spoken about their involvement in DLAs pro bono practice. They say exposure to this type of work is key to job satisfaction and that pro bono work improves broader legal skills and encourages lawyers to be leaders for change.

There is a huge unmet community need for access to justice, and if you haven't yet thought about undertaking pro bono work, be sure to read the Lawyers Weekly article


Markets - Minter Ellison Responsible Business Practice to Meet the Future

For many years the big four accounting firms, and many other specialist firms, have been building successful integrated environmental, social and governance (ESG) advisory practices to meet growing demand from business.

Today Minter Ellison also launched its own integrated Responsible Business Practice focused on climate risk and sustainability, business and human rights, responsible finance and investment, and governance and conduct.


Law Society of England and Wales Report on Advocating Change

The Law Society of England and Wales has recently released a report which they say is "the largest ever global survey of women in the law". The research in this report found that 91 percent of respondents feel that flexible working is key to achieving diversity however flexible working is also seen as not being culturally acceptable due to office based mindsets.

See the article about this report in the Lawyers Weekly HERE, and see the full report HERE.

Going Paperless - BLM starts with a public commitment

BLM has set out its mission to become a paperless firm. 

The firm embarked on a ‘paper-lite’ approach in 2015, reducing its filing space and encouraging the scanning of all case files and post supported by the introduction of collaboration software to support agile working.The paper-lite approach resulted in a reduction of six million less sheets of paper.

BLM will now go one step further with Birmingham becoming paperless. The firm's goal is for half of its lawyers to be working in a paperless way during 2020.


Thomson Reuters - An In-depth Modern Slavery Podcast

Many Australian law firms and AusLSA members are about to face the significant task of evaluating and complying with the Australian government's modern slavery legislation. In the UK the only 22 percent of eligible organisations fully comply with the reporting and disclosure requirements under the act.

This indicates a significant commitment from organisations will be required to fully understand and comply with requirements.  


Its OK to say you're not OK 

The Meritas Australian and New Zealand 2019 Wellness survey has found that a high percentage of legal professionals are,or know someone close, who is suffering depression, and that opening up about this to your employer and colleagues is a barrier.

Mary Digiglio, Meritas ANZ Regional Committee Chair and managing partner of AusLSA member firm Swaab, says that leaders need to be open about how they deal with these issues, and a firm's commitment to well-being should be based on hit it responds.

Read the Lawyers Weekly article


We need to do more to address mental health in law

"While the cultures needed to address mental health in law are stating to shift, there is a long way to go..." says Mellissa Larkin, CEO of Peripheral Blue. Such cultures need to include 'safe spaces' to support staff and need a top-down, collaborative approach to prioritising the well-being of staff.  Flexibility, work-life balance and a collegiate environment are included as critical success factors.

We encourage our members to read this very appropriate and interesting article from Lawyers Weekly


Public Advocacy - American Bar Association Urges Greenhouse Gas Emissions “to Net Zero or Below”

The American Bar Association (ABA) has adopted a resolution urging all levels of government as well as the private sector to “to recognise their obligation to address climate change and take action” to “[r]educe U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or below as soon as possible, consistent with the latest peer-reviewed science.”

The ABA’s House of Delegates, the policy-making body for the organisation, adopted the resolution without dissent at its annual meeting in San Francisco. 


Diversity - The latest in USA Lawyer numbers

It is sometimes useful to look over the fence to see whats happening in other countries to compare progress and top see what we can learn.

 “This report is an important reference for anyone who wants to understand where the legal profession came from and where it stands today,” said ABA President Bob Carlson. 

The ABA provides a great analysis and discussion of lawyer diversity. 


Equality - Equal Pay day - 59 days - Do you know yours?

Do you know your gender pay gap? Improvements in the gender pay gap is one indicator that tells a firm where they are on the journey to gender equality and if women’s full potential is not being realised in your firm.

The national theme for Equal Pay Day 2019 is ‘The gap matters’.

The gender pay gap matters because it measures the extent of the barriers women face in the workforce.


Sustainable Procurement - 5 Steps for Developing, Implementing a Renewable Procurement Strategy 

Studies show that companies actively pursuing a renewable energy strategy appear to be financially more profitable than their competitors. Companies that have a balanced and integrated approach to energy procurement will be better able to balance cost, risk and reliability while meeting their sustainability goals. How can companies get started developing a renewable procurement strategy? It requires taking a holistic approach to their overall energy-sourcing, combined with a practical application of that strategy. 

Here are five steps to begin.

You need to look at sustainability in absolutely everything you are doing

In a recent Corporate Counsel Show, Katrina Bullock, General Counsel for Greenpeace Australia emphasised that shareholders have an expectation that business needs to do what is best for the shareholder, no matter what, and that includes looking at the community - the whole package needs to be considered to provide your social licence to operate.

She also raised the issue of having an environmental judgement rule in terms of director's duties. 

Read the article HERE.

The Formula for Communicating your Environment Social and Governance Programs

ESG can be a dry subject so strong storytelling around sustainability initiatives is needed to help organisations create clarity and amplify social and environmental impact while satisfying demands for increased transparency. 

Sharing your organisation's values and priorities to internal and external audience is critical to sustain a supporting commitment and culture.

Without a clear path to follow, many corporate sustainability leaders find themselves lost in the dark; what they need is a guide. 


Participate or watch and learn - 2019 Workplace Giving Excellence Awards

Awards are one of the best places to get information about what works and what your peers are doing.

Entering awards is a great opportunity to get experts in a field to review and benchmark your programs. Even if you don't enter they are a safe place to see what other firms are doing, come up with new ideas and articulate the business case for increased involvement. A great example is the 2019 Workplace Giving Awards 


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