20 Oct 2021

Greenspoon Marder launches ESG advisory affiliate group

National firm's new affiliate will focus on helping companies and investment firms leverage ESG strategies to benefit their businesses

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AmLaw 200 firm Greenspoon Marder has formed an affiliate specialising in environmental, social and governance (ESG) to advise public and private companies as well as investment firms on their ESG-related operations. 

The Value(s) Management and Investing (VMI) group will assist companies and firms in the investment space to benefit from how they manage sustainability-related operations, communication, risk management and assurance processes as well as capital allocation and attraction decisions, the Florida firm announced on Tuesday. 

The new entity’s primary aim is to zoom in on client’s core products and services while ‘avoiding the often expensive and unproductive quagmire in which ESG work can often get stuck’, the firm added in a statement.

Leading the affiliate is firm partner Sarah Teslik, a seasoned expert in the ESG and investor spaces. She focuses her practice on investment, corporate governance, sustainability reporting, investor engagement, board governance and other ESG-related matters. 

Before joining Greenspoon Marder, Teslik was a partner at Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, a New York-based financial communications and investor relations firm. She has also served as the founding executive director of the Council of Institutional Investors, as well as senior vice president of public affairs, communication and governance at hydrocarbon exploration company Apache Corporation (now APA Corporation), according to her Linkedin profile. 

Teslik said she believes VMI sets itself apart from other ESG advisory groups through the affiliate’s “willingness and ability to tell clients what is not worth doing as well as what is essential to address” while keeping the focus on high-value work products. 

“We pride ourselves not just on understanding topics on a technical and granular level, but on being able to apply that knowledge with creativity to enable clients to be the leaders where they wish to be and not just safely average,” Teslik explained. 

VMI’s wider leadership team also includes ESG experts Julian Hamud, Peter Taylor, Michael Patrick and Jen Fante as well as Australia-based governance expert Daniel Smith and London-based attorney and communications professional Jef McAllister. 

Commenting on the launch, Hamud, who previously led governance advisory company Glass Lewis’ executive compensation research group, said: “Governance issues were the first to gain prominence and then environmental ones, but increasingly companies and their investors recognise that social issues drive everything from reputational and risk exposure, to recruiting and retention potential, to financial sustainability, and yet many companies’ abilities to track and analyse these metrics and opportunities lag behind what is possible.”

A number of other US law firms have been turning their attention to their ESG agendas this year amid wider focus on sustainability issues across all corners of the legal industry. In July, Jenner & Block launched a new culture risk and sensitive investigations practice focused on helping companies navigate cultural and compliance issues amid a rise in demand for advice related to unhealthy workplace cultures, particularly over matters concerning gender and race. 

And last month, former Kirkland & Ellis restructuring partner Jon Henes launched his own New York-based diversity and inclusion-focused consultancy firm, C Street Advisory Group, to help companies navigate corporate governance, communication and crisis advisory, talent search advisory, and diversity, equity and inclusion issues. 

 

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