Students rate best (and worst) law firms for ‘climate accountability’

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By Rhys Duncan on


Group says lawyers should have option to reject work contributing to climate crisis

A group of law students from across the US and UK have ranked law firms based upon their climate accountability.

The group, comprised predominantly of US student with a contingent from UK universities including Cambridge, Bristol, and London Metropolitan University, have allocated a grade to 100 top law firms from across the globe.

The highlighted firms include a number based in the UK, and others with significant presences in London.

Authored by Law Students for Climate Accountability, the report grades firms — A through to F — for their involvement in climate related litigation, and whether “the client’s interest was either mitigating or exacerbating climate change”, transactions, and lobbying.

“Our goal is not just to discourage business with poorly ranked firms, but also to incentivise improvement among all firms, even and especially those with the most harmful work,” the group states.

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Comparing the new results to the last set in 2023, the document notes that the 100 firms have decreased transactional work for fossil fuel clients while increasing work for renewables clients, with fossil fuel lobbying also decreasing whilst renewable lobbying has increased.

In their recommendations, the group focus on the position of clients in choosing which firms to give their business to. “Many clients have commitments to climate justice, racial equity, and social justice more broadly, and may question whether they should give additional business to the same lawyers who represent companies and corporations making the largest contributions to the climate crisis,” the report continues.

A number of pledges and suggestions are also given to law students and law firms. Students are encouraged to focus on “recognising the unprecedented immensity of the climate catastrophe”, and doing all that they can to “stigmatise and ultimately eliminate the legal industry’s complicity in perpetuating climate change”.

Law firms, on the other hand, are implored to not take on any new work that supports the fossil fuel industry, and phase out any existing work “by 2025, at the latest”. For firms currently taking on work related to the fossil fuel industry, it is suggested that “employees have the opportunity to decline work that will perpetuate the climate crisis and harm frontline communities”.



A fantastic resource, albeit an indictment of our industry as a whole.


Trust a gang of students to come up with this woke nonsense. No doubt in a few years they’ll be desperate for a job at one of these firms, pushing aside whatever faux morals they pompously portray now.

alan's mum


A normal human

Unserious data from an unserious group of students, unsure why this gets oxygen


Associates “having the option to reject work” is not a term I’ve heard before. Excellent way to ensure you have as short of a career as possible.

Also – we are a service industry. If law firm a cant do it, they will just go to law firm b. We dont decide that oil company a will buy oil company b.


Every legal person is entitled to representation every legal person is entitled to representation every legal person is entitled to representation.

Both parties are represented. The judge’s decision is based on the law which may “mitigate or exacerbate” the climate crisis, not the lawyers who perform their constitutionally prescribed function. The lawyer is not the client, and assessing the lawyer based on the client’s actions is a very poor understanding of this profession.

Data analysis

So all the good firms scored D or F. This paper is authored by a few sanctimonious rich kids who can afford top law schools in the US (100k a year ballpark? Including living expenses?) without aiming to work at the top firms to pay off their debt (because they’re not incurring it). And before anyone womp womps about the over-referenced ad-hominem fallacy, my argument is that this paper advocates a sanctimonious moral standard that is unfeasible for most of their peer law students, and whose only useful function will be to prop up the holier-than-thou egos of these NYU Harvard and Columbia students. To all undergrad students: please go work for whatever firm you like, it doesn’t make you a bad person unless the bar for that is set by a champagne socialist with too much time on their hands.

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