This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts.

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The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.”  (www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/)

The world is changing and so is the way we must do business.

Companies and their clients and vendors are being called to join in a global corporate sustainability initiative to create a better world by working toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Why should lawyers care about the UN Global Compact and the UN SDGs?

Whether you are working within an in-house legal department, in the public sector, or in a private law firm, all lawyers must familiarize themselves with these goals and the entire movement and understand what it means for their company, their firm, their employees, their clients, and their community. By understanding the Global Compact initiative, and the corresponding Sustainable Development Goals, lawyers will be better positioned to advise clients, to engage in their firms, and become active with their clients in support of this blueprint for a better planet.

What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? 

As follow on to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000 and were largely achieved within their 15-year timeline, the United Nations developed the roadmap for the next 15 years—the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) with a target date of 2030. Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, this framework provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet—now and into the future.

The UNSDGs website describes the goals (often referred to as the Global Goals) as an urgent call for action by all developed and developing countries in a global partnership to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth—all while addressing climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. With fewer than 12 years remaining to the target date, there is much work to be done. Achieving these goals will take the efforts of the entire global village, including public and private sectors, as well as civil society.

Goal #17 – Partnerships for the Goals

The last (but certainly not least) of the UNSDGs is Goal #17—Partnerships for the Goals. This goal recognizes and reminds us all that it will take partnerships and collaborations of all types to make greater progress toward the goals than would be possible if working alone or independently. What an amazing opportunity for outside law firms to join their clients’ efforts! What support could you provide your clients as they work to make progress toward the selected UNSDGs that are relevant and material to their business success? Collaborating with clients to make progress toward the goals is an incredibly meaningful way to strengthen the depth and breadth of the relationship, and, at least for the short term, may differentiate your firm.

Longer term, however, understanding and being engaged in the UNSDGs will simply be standard requirements for service providers and other vendors. Recently, one company’s RFP required successful bidders to provide their firm’s CSR policy and to sign the UN Global Compact. Just as clients are driving the focus to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within and amongst their outside law firms, so too will they be driving greater commitment and engagement in the UNSDGs. Law firms who recognize and embrace this movement will have an advantage over those who don’t recognize this trend and its importance to clients.


Pam Cone is the Founder and CEO of Amity Advisory, and Global Social Responsibility Officer at Milliman. 

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.