08/03/2020 - Hana Vizcarra

Climate Change Will Impact Your Legal Practice, Panel Says

Tag: Law360

If climate change is not already impacting an attorney’s legal practice it will inevitably do so in the future, affecting a wide range of legal areas from corporate disclosures to litigation over natural disasters and supply-chain disruption, a panel of experts said Thursday. The climate change law experts offered their insight during a virtual panel discussion at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting Thursday on how lawyers’ practices will be impacted by climate change. The panelists included Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard, Hogan Lovells partner Hilary Tompkins, Harvard Law School professor Hana Veselka Vizcarra and general counsel for General Electric’s Environment, Health and Safety operations Roger Martella. “Climate change will affect your practice,” Vizcarra said. “It’s already impacting how we live our lives and how companies do business and when that happens it impacts the law.” Vizcarra pointed to changes in corporate disclosure and risk management, with shifts in what corporations either voluntarily disclose to investors or must disclose to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission when it comes to issues like their environmental impact or climate change-related risks or liabilities they face. “It’s not just a way for values investors to make an impact and encourage companies to do good in the world, but it’s now really a part of what investors integrate into their analyses across the board,” she said. And, it’s not only relevant to securities law, she added, but climate change risks have also begun to impact how the financial sector evaluates assets and the condition of companies seeking financing.

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