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ESG REALITY CHECK – As companies focus more on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, firms with ESG practices are looking at a significant growth opportunity—if they can win their clients’ work in the first place. And it’s not as easy as having the best legal experts on staff. Dan Packel reports that clients want firms that ‘walk the walk’—in other words, ones for whom ESG is not just a practice but a way of life. Clients are looking for firms with young, diverse talent, where ESG is a part of the leadership strategy and not just delineated to volunteer groups. And of course, many want to see firms that have made a positive, real-world impact on issues like the environment and diversity. “What they’re looking for is not the pure regulatory advice,” said former Baker & McKenzie global chief strategy officer Julia Hayhoe. “They want firms that are taking a role in policy-shaping forums.”

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