Sustainability

A sustainable economy meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Many of our clients seek to be part of a sustainable future by developing business models that achieve growth while using less energy, fewer limited resources and less toxic processes. Drinker Biddle’s multidisciplinary Sustainability Team provides the building blocks for a sustainable organization by helping to identify and act on opportunities from energy efficiency and renewable energy to supply chain management and stakeholder communication. We view sustainability not as a series of unhappy tradeoffs, but as a value creation process.

Our Sustainability Team is lead by lawyers from Drinker Biddle’s Environment and Energy Practice Group. Lawyers from our tax, finance, real estate, intellectual property, and regulatory and government affairs practices also participate, including lawyers who have worked in business as strategists, engineers, developers, regulatory, environmental advocates and scientists. Our team approach allows us to provide clients with the most appropriate representation and assure that they achieve desired outcomes. Just as we take a team approach internally, we are accustomed to working with our client’s internal team as well as their technical and financial advisors to assure the holistic approach necessary to achieve effective sustainability programs.

We draw on technical, market and legal experience finding solutions that protect our client’s interests and the environment, today and tomorrow. From large global manufacturers and energy companies, to small community-focused non-profits and individual landowners, our sustainability clients reflect a cross section of society. Some specific examples of our experience include counseling and advising on:

  • The impacts of climate change and related legislation;
  • Financing for on-site renewable energy and distributed generation; 
  • Energy efficiency improvements; 
  • The use of renewable energy tax credits; 
  • The development implementation of sustainability strategies 
  • Renewable energy certificate origination and procurement;
  • Forestry carbon offset projects; 
  • Biomass GHG life-cycle impact disclosures; 
  • Chartering and incorporating socially and environmentally focused businesses; 
  • "Green" service and product advertising;
  • Clean technology company financing; 
  • Green building development, financing, and LEED certifications; 
  • Sustainability reporting in SEC filings; 
  • Sustainable resource planning and ecosystem restoration; 
  • Mandatory EPA GHG reporting, voluntary GHG inventory development and reporting; 
  • Moderating environmental stakeholder conflicts and innovative collective sustainability program development; 
  • Developing new sustainability voluntary standards and regulatory frameworks; and 
  • Intellectual property rights in innovative solutions to energy issues.

We also take our own advice, with a firm-wide commitment to making our offices more sustainable and reducing our own environmental footprint. Drinker Biddle is a charter member of the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program and our Philadelphia office was one of the first signatories to the "The Greater Philadelphia Green Business Commitment." In addition, many of our office buildings have been certified and won awards for their "green" efforts. Our San Francisco office has been certified as a Bay Area Green Business by the City and County of San Francisco. Our Century City office building is certified LEED Silver from the U.S. Green Council. Our Chicago office building won the 2009 Energy Star Award and has applied for LEED certification, for which it anticipates a Gold or Platinum certification.

We look forward to discussing your sustainability challenges and seeking ways to efficiently combine your mission, strategy, compliance and environmental stewardship.

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Diversity

Our commitment to diversity at Drinker Biddle reflects our belief that by more accurately reflecting our clients and our communities, we are more effectively positioned to understand their needs and objectives, in all their many facets.

Creativity, innovation, cooperation and mutual respect are the natural result of an environment in which individual contributions are valued, where biases based on race, gender and other factors are absent, and legal knowledge combines with unique world views. Drinker Biddle has always had a commitment to civility and respect for all, and this is reflected in our core values and business strategy. We embrace an evolving and tolerant firm culture, one that is eager to engage and include colleagues from a wide range of backgrounds.

Diversity Committee

Our Firmwide Diversity Committee is charged with ensuring our firm reflects the rich diversity of the communities and clients we serve. As such, one of the committee’s primary objectives is to proactively recruit, retain, promote to partner and foster the professional development of talented minority lawyers. The committee is co-chaired by one of our most senior partners, Neil Haimm, and Jesse Ruiz, one of the country’s most energetic and talented Latino lawyers. More broadly, the committee is charged with implementing various programs and processes in the Diversity Strategic Plan, including (but not limited to) recruiting, retention, assignment management and overall associate development.

We also have established Regional Diversity Committees that can concentrate on our diversity goals at the local level. Most have established working groups that concentrate on the areas of hiring, retention and development, marketing and client development, and staff alignment and initiatives.

Recruiting

The firm’s commitment to diversity is demonstrated by its many efforts to recruit minority law school graduates and experienced lawyers. We regularly help coordinate and participate in a number of minority attorney recruitment programs. Members of our hiring committee and recruitment staff travel to law schools around the country, meeting with first-year minority students to increase interest in the firm’s Summer Associate program and conducting interviews with graduating students for our associate positions.

Further, the firm regularly offers time, money and other resources to help support and encourage minority students as they pursue their educational and professional goals. We work with student groups at various law schools to provide mentoring and financial assistance. We sponsor scholarships given annually to deserving minority law students by the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois and the Cook County Bar Association, and we sponsor scholarships and paid internships for deserving minority students at the newly formed Drexel University School of Law in Philadelphia.

In addition, resources are dedicated to ensure that our diversity commitment is reflected in our hiring practices. A few of our efforts include participating in minority job fairs nationally (Vault/MCCA Job Fair, Cook County Minority Job Fair, Philadelphia Area Minority Job Fair, etc.), committing to hire at least one summer associate through a minority-focused organization (Philadelphia Diversity Law Group), ensuring that our firm’s core interviewer group has a diverse constituency, insisting upon diverse representation in interview schedules, financially supporting minority law student organizations nationally (Black Lawyers Student Association, Latin American Student Association, ALIANZA), placing job postings on websites targeted to a diverse lawyer audience (MCCA, Hot Jobs.com, etc.) and holding outreach activities to meet minority candidates and foster minority hiring practices in various cities in which we maintain offices.

Sponsorship and Organization of Major Events

Drinker Biddle sponsors, organizes and participates in a variety of major events addressing issues important to women and minorities both in the legal profession and in the wider business communities that we serve. The following list is a sampling of recent events; you can also click here to see the events that the Diversity Committee has hosted:

  • American Conference on Diversity Humanitarian Dinner
  • Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia Annual Barrister’s Ball
  • California Minority Counsel Program 19th Annual Business Meeting
  • The Enterprise Center’s “Passing the Torch” Awards
  • Garden State Bar Association’s 33rd Anniversary Scholarship & Awards Gala
  • Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois Annual Awards
  • Hispanic National Bar Association National Convention 
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Annual Gala
  • National Association of Women Lawyers Annual Meeting
  • NBA/WLD “Celebration of Firsts” Awards
  • NBA Healthcare Law Symposium 2008
  • National South Asian Bar Association 5th Annual Convention
  • MCCA Midwest Region Diversity Dinner
  • MCCA Northeast Region Diversity Dinner
  • Philadelphia POWER Seminars and Dinner
  • Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Inc. Annual Awards
  • Villanova University School of Law 3rd Annual Diversity Symposium

 

Professional Development

Once a lawyer has joined our firm, our work is far from complete. A stable, supportive environment is critical to encouraging the exploration of professional interests and the ongoing development of legal skills.

The firm has established varied mentoring programs: a peer integration mentor is assigned for every new associate’s first year at the firm, a Diversity Committee Watch Program has been put into place (minority associates are tracked to ensure that they are given ample opportunity to work on our most significant matters and clients) and a voluntary “opt-in” mentor program in which associates select their own mentors among partners has been initiated.