Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy 2022 Annual Report


Stanford’s Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy (LSE) Initiative continues to facilitate critical pro bono legal services to advance sustainable solutions. In 2022, the 17 private law firms in the initiative exceeded their 2022 environmental pro bono goals by over $10 million, providing over $27 million in legal services for sustainability matters sourced from within and outside of the initiative.

Since January 2022, the LSE initiative vetted nearly 60 applicants and “matched” nearly 40 sustainability-focused startups and nonprofits with pro bono legal help from law firms in the initiative. LSE is also working with Stanford Law School alums and additional corporate, intellectual property, and immigration attorney consultants to provide pro bono guidance to startups.

Some of the many startups and nonprofit organizations that benefitted from pro bono help through the LSE initiative this year include:

  • Sustainable agriculture entities focused on environmentally-friendly pesticides and tackling fertilizer overuse;
  • An eLearning platform focusing on climate-change reversing education;
  • Nonprofits focused on combating biodiversity loss and environmental injustice in their communities;
  • Crowdfunding platforms for direct investment in renewable energy projects; and
  • Hard climate tech solutions to permanently store atmospheric CO2.

With increasing awareness about the ubiquity and toxicity of microplastics in our environment—and the role of polyester and other plastic-based fabrics in that pollution—the LSE also onboarded new companies tackling sustainability issues related to fabrics and fashion.

Read on below for more about the entities tackling climate and environmental issues, including highlights of some of the startup “success stories” which have received LSE pro bono help over the past few years.

2022 Pro Bono Project Highlights

Great Falls National Park

Land and Water Conservation

Beveridge & Diamond provided pro bono support to help several land and water conservancies, including: helping the Georgetown Pike Rural Preservation Trust...
Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network

Beveridge & Diamond provides general legal services pro bono to the Food Recovery Network (FRN). In 2022, B&D assisted FRN with developing a conflict of interest policy and adapting a […]
Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Research

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Research

Morgan Lewis, in collaboration with the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) undertook an Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) research project in the EU and UK. On their behalf, Morgan Lewis responded […]
Urban gardens in Chicago

Green Era

Latham & Watkins has provided pro bono support to Green Era as it seeks to transform a nine-acre vacant brownfield site in Chicago into a renewable energy and urban farming […]
Washington Wild

Washington Wild

In 2022, Seyfarth attorneys provided pro bono legal services to Washington Wild, a nonprofit organization that protects wild lands and rivers in Washington State through advocacy, education, and civic engagement. […]


Finpublica is a nonprofit focused on convening finance executives interested in exploring ESG issues and implementing environmental, social, and governance initiatives inside their organization and across the sector more broadly. […]
Wind turbine

Cool Effect

Nixon Peabody attorneys are assisting Cool Effect, Inc., a Delaware nonprofit corporation based in California...
Tree-lined street San Francisco

Friends of the Urban Forest

Nixon Peabody provides advice and counseling services to Friends of the Urban Forest, a San Francisco nonprofit committed to revitalizing the city’s urban forest, building community, and taking a local […]
Oak sapling


Trees4Travel is a start-up, established in 2020 and at the cutting edge of mindful travel...
Tejon Ranch Litigation

Tejon Ranch Litigation

In November 2022, after a nearly two-year court battle, the Tejon Ranch litigation was settled. Wilson Sonsini represented a consortium of prominent environmental groups comprising the Natural Resources Defense Council […]

Types of Legal Support

NGOs and startups can apply for free legal assistance in a variety of areas, including:

  • Structuring: Selecting the right legal entity for your NGO or startup.
  • Staffing: Employment and volunteer agreements.
  • Advocacy: Research on laws in multiple jurisdictions.
  • IP and brand protection: Trademark registration, copyright, patents and licensing.
Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy 2022 Annual Report 5

LSE “Alumni” Success Stories

Many Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy “alumni” have been springboarded to success by the pro bono legal help they have received. Read more about the recent milestones and accomplishments in just a handful of these companies below!

Oil well


Renewell is working to create a low-cost, GHG-abating, flexible energy storage network by repurposing oil and gas infrastructure. Specifically, Renewell incentivizes oil and gas companies to seal and convert inactive […]
Semi truck driving through landscape


Verne is a clean-tech startup aiming to accelerate the decarbonization of heavy-duty transport by developing advanced hydrogen storage systems for use onboard trucks. Heavy transportation makes up 10% of global […]
Cows in Washington forest

Working Trees

Working Trees’ mission is to grow trees where the interests of farmers and the climate overlap. Incorporating trees into agricultural systems can yield production benefits while storing significant carbon, but […]
Electric car


Voltpost is a purpose-driven startup that aims to decarbonize mobility by retrofitting lampposts into a modular Level 2 charging platform managed by a mobile application. Voltpost is growing quickly: they […]

Who's In the Initiative?


Major, private U.S. law firms


In pro bono services on matters within and outside of the initiative


Corporate and non-profit partners

The firms offer pro bono legal assistance to entrepreneurs and non-profits taking on key sustainability challenges.

Law Firms

The firms committed to providing free legal services for on-going and new sustainability matters in the amounts below in 2022, though many exceeded their pledges for a total of over $27 million:

*Lead founder of the LSE Initiative

Corporate and NGO Partners

The private sector and NGOs like Grist are working with law firms to support connections between law firms and pro bono recipients. For example, Microsoft helped to connect grantees from its AI for Earth program – a five-year, $50 million initiative that supports and partners with environmental groups, academic researchers, and start-ups – with the initiative for legal support. In-house counsel from additional companies, including MetLife, have also volunteered to provide pro bono assistance. 

Companies participating in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy are making a commitment to assist the initiative in a number of ways, including by:

  1. Enabling company in-house lawyers to provide pro bono assistance to clients directly, or in coordination with outside LSE-member law firms, on company time;
  2. Encouraging outside law firms and other companies to participate in the LSE initiative; and
  3. Using their community outreach activities to identify potential clients who may qualify for, and benefit from, pro bono services provided through the LSE network.

How it Works

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Step 1:

Fill out the form.

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Step 2:

Discuss legal request with Stanford Law School.

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Step 3:

Stanford Law School provides your project description and request to the firms in the Initiative.

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Step 4:

Stanford Law School will help to connect you with a firm.

Client Testimonials

"The BioSIPs team benefited greatly from the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy experience. The absolutely brilliant legal team at Morrison & Foerster LLP, helped me, as CEO, understand and work through important patent questions and issues that had been pending for some time and were holding back critical business decision-making. As an early start-up with limited funding, resolution of the patent issues through pro bono support came at an essential time. We thank you and are extremely grateful for having had this opportunity."

Julee Herdt
CEO and Founder, BioSIPs, Inc.

"It's really hard to raise money for capital intensive climate technologies. We've had to bootstrap for years, and there's no way we could have afforded extensive legal support. By matching us with exceptional pro-bono patent lawyers, this program has dramatically boosted our chances of pushing our concept prototype through funding and into commercialization."

Eric Chaves
Founder, Terrament

"Thank you so very much for helping us help the planet. What you are doing is a brilliant idea and extremely helpful."

Rebecca Truman
Co-founder and Director, Climate Foundation

“The Akin Gump London team have been incredibly responsive and supportive and have also really engaged with the work that we're doing.”

Nico Nicholas
CEO and Co-Founder, Trees4Travel

"Thanks again for this great program!"

James Kahn
Founder, Skybaron

"This program is a huge help and has provided a great boost of motivation to see the recognition for our efforts. The services provided by Morrison and Foerster were incredibly efficient, tailored and super-prompt."

Zina Yudina
Founder and CEO, Babylat GmbH

"The initiative was super helpful. We got matched with WSGR and Watson Immigration Law. Couldn't be happier with both."

Gus Marquez
Co-Founder, RockFix

"Super grateful for this opportunity! The attorneys at MRLLP were very kind and generous with their time."

Alexa Rosenthal
Chief Ecosystem Organizer, Ecoversity LLC

"I really appreciate this program and would definitely recommend it."

Sanza Kazadi
Founder, Kazadi Enterprises


Premium Sponsors

Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy 2022 Annual Report 13
Logos: Morrison Foerster and Nixon Peabody
Logos: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and orrick

Advocate Sponsors

Logos: Wilson Sonsini and Wilson Sonsini Foundation
Logos: Latham Latham & Watkins and Cooley
Logo: Fenwick

*Premium Sponsors are sponsors providing over $15,000, Partner Sponsors are sponsors providing over $7,500, and Advocate Sponsors are sponsors providing over $2,500