Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has launched a new global team, led by New York partner Timothy Wilkins, that will help clients tackle sustainability issues starting in the Big Apple.
The team has been formed as environmental, social, and governance issues gain increased visibility in both the public sphere and the corporate world.
Freshfields’ clients were a major motivating factor in the team’s conception, Wilkins said.
They want to have ESG strategies to present to customers, investors, and regulators when they ask for them, he said. And Freshfields stepped up because the firm wants to help its clients with their “most strategic challenges,” including ESG, which has risen to the top of that list, Wilkins said.
The multidisciplinary, global team’s first project will focus on how to solve New York City’s sustainability challenges, including waste, resource scarcity, climate change, and job creation, according to the firm.
Attorneys will work with leading businesses, financial institutions, city authorities, think-tanks, and academic institutions to work on the “Circular New York City Initiative” to identify ways to improve sustainability.
“This is an opportunity to have a round-table, brainstorming initiative that will bring the best ideas to bear on sustainability,” Wilkins said. The New York project will serve as a blueprint on how to bring actors from different disciplines to tackle complex challenges, he added.
Moving forward, the attorneys will focus on three areas to support clients’ sustainability projects. They will advise clients on ESG challenges and opportunities on issues such as climate change, sustainable finance, corporate governance and human rights; help clients identify, develop, and implement ESG strategies and initiatives; and bring together clients, public policy makers, and regulators to take on ESG issues impacting business and society.
Wilkins is a member of the firm’s corporate and M&A practice and joined the international firm in 1999. He has advised a range of Asian, European, and U.S. multinational corporations including Hewlett-Packard Company and Global Alliance on cross-border M&A, private equity, and joint ventures. He’s also involved in civic organizations around New York, and serves as chair of the governance committee for the Board of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Freshfields is a global law firm with more than 2,800 lawyers in offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.