In 2016, nine law firms initiated the Law Firm Business and Human Rights Peer Learning Process.
This Law Firm Peer Learning Process seeks to:
- Drive increased engagement by the legal profession with business and human rights developments, building on the IBA Practical Guide and Reference Annex, as well as the leadership of individual bar associations and law firms;
- Establish a community of practice amongst leading law firms and practitioners to support knowledge-sharing, peer learning and leadership/innovation;
- Demonstrate progress by the legal profession in implementing respect for human rights in practice, and create a platform for exploring ongoing challenges and areas where further progress and/or guidance is needed; and
- Support the broader legal profession (and their clients) to access and build on emerging practices, insights and lessons learned from leading firms working to implement their responsibility to respect human rights.
The sponsors of this process are Allen & Overy LLP, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Clifford Chance LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, DLA Piper LLP, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Hogan Lovells International LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and White & Case LLP. Catie Shavin and Anna Triponel are facilitators of the process.
On 27 September 2016, the Law Firm Peer Learning Process convened a one-day peer learning workshop with individuals from diverse functions, including partners and associates from key practice groups, General Counsels and the Heads/Directors of the firms’ Risk, International Regulatory and Compliance, Social Responsibility and Pro Bono teams. Discussion during the workshop focused on the implementation of the law firms’ own responsibility to respect human rights and, in particular, the following areas:
- Policy, strategy and governance;
- Embedding through training, capacity building and awareness raising;
- Client risk mapping and client acceptance; and
- Approaches to supply chain due diligence, including in response to the UK Modern Slavery Act.
The workshop report of November 2016 is based in part on the ideas and comments shared at the Peer Learning Workshop, and presents insights and reflections from those discussions, as well as examples of emerging practices.
Further information on the process can be found here.
If you are from the legal profession and have an interest in this field, please do not hesitate to reach out for further information.