Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy

A Law Firm-Led Effort to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services to Sustainability-Focused Entrepreneurs and Nonprofit Organizations

The Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative matches nonprofits and startups working in the field of environmental sustainability with law firms providing pro bono legal services. The initiative continues to grow, with 17 law firms providing pro bono legal help to over 120 startups and nonprofits over the past four years as part of their overall dedication of over $80 million in pro bono services over the past four years to support sustainability efforts both inside and outside of the initiative.

Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy facilitate connections between participating firms and potential pro bono clients and track the effort’s impact, including directed research aimed at eliminating the barriers green startups face in accessing pro bono legal services.


Major, private U.S. law firms


Startups and nonprofits assisted


Corporate and non-profit partners

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

Inflation Reduction Act webinar series

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The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history, offering funding, programs, and incentives to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

Stanford’s Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative is facilitating educational opportunities and pro bono legal help for NGOs, community organizations, Tribes, and early stage entrepreneurs to access the benefits and funding from the IRA.  Since two-thirds of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $369 Billion flows through the tax code, helping these groups navigate the complex IRS guidance and take advantage of these tax provisions will be a critical component of deploying new clean electricity resources, lowering GHG emission footprints, and accelerating the clean energy transition.

Stanford Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative is partnering with the law firms in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative to provide several webinar series on tax opportunities under the Inflation Reduction Act.


The first series will be three webinars focused on Tax Opportunities for Tribes in the Inflation Reduction Act:

  1. Overview Webinar – Inflation Reduction Act: Tax Opportunities for Tribes – August 3
  2. Deep Dive – Inflation Reduction Act: Direct Pay for Tribes – August 28
    1. Recording
    2. Powerpoint Presentation
  3. Deep Dive – Inflation Reduction Act: Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) for Tribes  – September 25

The webinars will feature presentations and live Q&A by tax partners, Tribal law experts, and policy experts at Holland & Knight in Washington, D.C., with a keynote in the overview seminar by PaaWee Rivera, Senior Advisor and Director of Tribal Affairs, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, a keynote in the Direct Pay webinar by Wahleah Johns, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.  Those who still need additional help to take advantage of the IRA can apply for direct pro bono legal assistance through the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative.

The second series will be focused on Tax Opportunities for Early Stage Entrepreneurs in the Inflation Reduction Act. The first webinar will feature presentations and live Q&A by tax partners and energy experts at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, with a keynote by Karen Skelton, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. This webinar will focus on :

About the Initiative

Entrepreneurial and community-based efforts to advance sustainability are surging within the United States, but these efforts are often slowed by limited access to top-flight legal services. Even obtaining legal help on first-order matters associated with formation and incorporation can present hurdles for entrepreneurs. Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy provides an easier way for entrepreneurs and environmental non-profits working on sustainability projects to find firms that are offering pro bono help on these types of important matters. The Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative was incubated to facilitate this match.

The LSE initiative was announced at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and dedicated to the memory of Nancy McFadden, former Chief of Staff to Governor Jerry Brown. Karen Skelton, David J. Hayes and Ali Zaidi worked with Governor Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy to launch the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative.  Stanford Law School will continue to provide periodic updates on the matters member firms are taking on as part of their commitment under the initiative.

The types of legal services that firms participating in Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy may be able to provide include: support with incorporation, corporate governance (e.g., bylaws, policies), contracts, real estate, IP protection, website-related issues (e.g., privacy policies, terms of use), structuring advice for financing and investment, tax advice, and litigation.

Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy
Environmental & Natural Resources Law and Policy Program Logo
We applaud the work of Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, which has connected entrepreneurs and community-based non-profits with the expert legal advice they need to advance climate and environmental justice efforts. While the threat of climate change is immense, we look optimistically forward as our efforts and partners grow. We will continue to harness the power of the public and private sector together, moving forward to build a brighter, cleaner, and more sustainable future.

Xavier Becerra, Former California Attorney General

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 […]

Who's in the Initiative?

Law Firms

The firms have pledged the amounts below in free legal services for on-going and new sustainability matters in 2022:

*Lead founder of the LSE Initiative

Corporate Partners

The initiative is truly a collaborative one, with the private sector and NGOs like Grist 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.  Pro bono lawyers from additional companies, including Goldman Sachs, have also volunteered to assist LSE firms.

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.

View Advisory Council


Premium Sponsors

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Partner Sponsors

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Advocate Sponsors

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*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

Beyond Preemption, Toward Metropolitan Governance
"Tackling these tough issues today will create real and lasting impact in communities all over the world for generations to come."

T. Clark Weymouth, Pro Bono Partner at Hogan Lovells