Following its launch on September 29, the Paul, Weiss ESG and Law Institute, a first-of-its-kind research initiative led by Dave Curran, ESG and Law Institute executive director and co-chair of the Paul, Weiss ESG Advisory Practice, garnered significant attention from national media outlets. The Institute is a forum of businesses and academic institutions dedicated to the independent study of issues relating to the intersection of ESG, business and the law.

Dave was quoted extensively in a Reuters article, “ESG is ‘mission critical.’ Can Paul Weiss Get Law Schools on Board?” In the article, published on October 6, Dave discussed how students and professors associated with UC Berkeley School of Law’s Business in Society Institute, the ESG and Law Institute’s inaugural academic partner, will work with Paul, Weiss attorneys to conduct research, convene roundtables and assemble thought leaders in the ESG arena.

“We want the legal industry to recognize that it’s mission critical for lawyers to deeply understand ESG and how it intersects with the law,” Dave said. “We need students to be thinking about it. This is the fastest growing specialty that no one knows about.”

An article published in ALM’s The Recorder on October 5, “Paul Weiss, UC Berkeley Team Up to Close Knowledge Gap in ‘Existential’ ESG Questions,” discussed how the Institute will help organizations address ESG gray areas, such as how to navigate diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly when boards are making public statements in support of such initiatives, and how to address social and environmental risks that require collaboration among competitors.

“Lawyers need to be involved because they have the cross-enterprise ability to weave parts of a larger organization together and create policies and procedures for tracking, measuring and monitoring these obligations that companies have been making ad hoc,” Dave said.

Amelia Miazad, faculty director and senior research fellow at Berkeley Law’s Business in Society Institute, says the partnership “will enrich our research with what is happening on the ground… [and] allow us to have deeper insights into where tensions and business practice lie.” Dave and Amelia are hopeful the partnership will cause a shift in the way ESG matters are studied, addressed and confronted.

Under the partnership, the firm will provide two $25,000 fellowships to Berkeley Law students for research, programs and events. The firm is actively looking for additional partners.