Y2K. Trans fat. Gun violence. A lot of law firms made a lot of plans to make a lot of money from these issues. Not many did. But climate change could be the case to end all cases. (And all civilizations, according to some scientists.) Will the legal fees be as big as the polar ice caps, or will they melt away into nothing?

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman is betting on the practice. In September, the firm took about 10 of its existing lawyers and launched a new “climate change and sustainability” practice. The group will focus on monitoring legislative and international developments and counseling companies in the wake of a new California law that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent.

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