Pro Bono Legal Assistance for Sustainability: Celebrating the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative’s Fifth Anniversary

2023 Annual Report for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program by Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy

The Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy (LSE) initiative is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Since its inception, the initiative has grown exponentially and currently has 20 firms that have collectively provided over $26 million in pro bono on sustainability matters in 2023. Some of the notable contributions include $2 million by Arnold & Porter and Orrick, $6 million by Wilson Sonsini, and $7 million by Morrison & Foerster.

In addition to the LSE initiative, the Stanford Law School launched an experiential education class called Startup Law: Sustainability. This class provides pro bono legal assistance and support to early-stage nonprofit and for-profit startups addressing climate, sustainability, and social impact challenges. The class has been a great complementary addition to LSE as it often forwards more complex matters to the LSE network.

Together, LSE and Startup Law: Sustainability vetted over 80 applicants and were able to provide pro bono legal help to nearly 50 sustainability-focused startups and nonprofits in 2023. The firms in the LSE initiative worked on a variety of interesting matters this year, including projects related to sustainable aquaculture and agriculture, coral reef restoration, renewable energy production, green financing, and carbon capture technologies.

With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative worked closely with attorneys in the initiative to offer webinars and direct pro bono services to startups and Tribal entities on how to take advantage of IRA incentives and accelerate renewable energy implementation. Overall, LSE is excited about its growth and looks forward to continuing its work towards a more sustainable future.

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