Justice Bid adds law firm ESG metrics to outside counsel DE&I selection service
Influential Chicago-based platform teams up with European ESG specialist impactvise
Justice Bid, an influential diversity-focused outside counsel selection service, has formed an alliance with Swiss ESG data startup impactvise that promises to propel ESG considerations up the agenda within the US legal sector.
The agreement will see impactvise’s data on law firms’ ESG performance added to Justice Bid’s metrics on firms’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) credentials.
Around 300 law firms work with Justice Bid to self-report their DE&I data while more than 1,000 submit tenders for work through its legal services sourcing platform. Clients which use the DE&I data include Starbucks, Abbott Laboratories and Equitable.
Although many leading US law firms actively engage with Justice Bid over DE&I policies and reporting, greater consideration of other ESG factors, including around governance, may prove more challenging for them.
Transparency is a key ESG principle and, unlike their UK counterparts, US firms are not legally obliged to publish their accounts - in order to enjoy protection as limited liability partnerships - or gender pay gap data, in accordance with UK legislation.
US firms were noticeable by their absence from a ranking published by impactvise of the world’s 25-best performing law firms for ESG that was dominated by UK firms. Am Law firms in the ranking were confined to DLA Piper (1), Baker McKenzie (4), Norton Rose Fulbright (9), Reed Smith (11), Hogan Lovells (19), and White & Case (24); all of them with a substantial international presence.
Omar Sweiss, founder and CEO of Justice Bid, said: “As Justice Bid continues to disrupt both diversity analytics and legal sourcing, we are thrilled to incorporate impactvise’s leading ESG metrics into our solution, making it a one-stop shop for making data-driven decisions when selecting outside counsel.”
The Chicago-based company’s growing impact on DE&I within the US legal profession was demonstrated in May when it teamed up with the ACC Foundation to advise legal departments on how “to evaluate and advance outside counsel DEI practices using diversity data”.
Impactvise, meanwhile, was launched in 2021 by two former general counsel at Zurich Insurance Group. The platform is designed to help GCs compare law firms’ ESG performance and make it easier to select firms whose ESG values align with their own.
Adrian Peyer, impactvise’s co-founder and CEO, said: “By forging this exclusive alliance, we are empowering the legal industry with a rich blend of data and expertise to be used in selecting outside counsel. We are ecstatic to enter this transaction with Omar and his team at Justice Bid, who have proven they are looking to set the standard in the industry around DEI, and share our commitment to sustainable practices, innovation, and driving the legal ESG market forward.”
Impactvise’s ESG ranking, which was released in May, measured the ESG performance of more than 1,000 firms globally and was based on how well law firms meet the World Economic Forum’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, which measures ESG efforts through the lens of governance, people, planet and prosperity.
DLA Piper scored 91 out of 100, holding off Clifford Chance in second spot and DWF, the UK’s largest publicly listed law firm, in third.
Almost half of the top 25 ranked firms are headquartered in the UK, with six based in mainland Europe, six in the US and one in Asia. Baker McKenzie, Linklaters, Burges Salmon, Garrigues, Ashurst, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Norton Rose Fulbright completed the top 10.