19 April 2023

Milestone climate change guidance has been launched by the Law
Society of England & Wales.

The release of the Guidance on the Impact of Climate Change on Solicitors follows on
from the Law Society committing to its Climate Change Resolution in 2021.

“The effects of climate change – even on legal practices – are wide-ranging and constantly
evolving,” said Law Society President Lubna Shuja.

“Solicitors should be aware of this changing landscape and its potential impact upon their organisations, as well as on the legal advice they provide.

“We encourage solicitors to take the initiative to understand and pre-empt the climate
legal risks with the help of our guidance. This will ensure they can continue to run their
businesses and advise their clients competently and compliantly.

“Solicitors and law firms should consider how the way they practise law may be affected
by climate change. They should make sure they not only operate their business in
accordance with current and future climate-related regulations and legislation, but also
correctly advise clients on climate-related risk.

“Our guidance sets out how organisations can manage their business in a way which is
consistent with the transition to net zero.”

It also provides guidance for solicitors and law firms on:

  • Greenwashing both in the context of any statements their firm has made and any
    advice offered to clients.
  • How climate change physical risks and climate legal risks may be relevant to client
    legal advice.
  • Issues which may be relevant when considering the interplay of legal advice,
    climate change and solicitors’ professional duties.
  • Issues which may be relevant when considering the solicitor-client relationship in
    the context of climate change, including considerations when accepting client

I am delighted that on behalf of the Law Society, the Climate Change Working Group has produced the first guidance of its kind for the solicitors’ profession we believe anywhere in the world. This is a landmark event and I trust will enable the profession to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges of climate change which impacts all areas of the legal practice. Law and lawyers have an important role to play in shaping the changes necessary to meet the challenges of climate change

Caroline May, Chair of The Law Society’s Climate Change Working Group

Further sector-specific guidance will be published in due course.