Debevoise & Plimpton: A global law firm rising to the challenge of advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Successful implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be a cornerstone for stability and growth. They can help build just economies and level the playing field for whole communities. Doing so requires deliberate action and a commitment to incorporate the SDGs into the daily conduct of business.

Recognizing the unique and important role that lawyers can play, international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton partners with clients, its own workforce, the legal profession and other stakeholders. The firm believes lawyers can be role models who can make a real difference in implementing the SDGs. As wise counselors, Debevoise lawyers advise clients on a broad range of risks and opportunities and, through their own actions and those of their clients, help them achieve those goals.

This video illustrates examples of Debevoise’s efforts in three key SDGs: gender equality, providing decent work and economic growth and furthering peace, justice and strong institutions.


Gender Equality

Laws that prevent discrimination against women are the basic building blocks in the fight to achieve gender equality. However, laws alone are not enough. A relentless focus is needed in key areas including education and embedding opportunities for women to succeed. Debevoise has a strong record of promoting women lawyers to partnership, and many of the firm’s senior positions are filled by women who provide visionary leadership and act as role models for younger generations. This commitment to diversity is consistent with the firm’s collegial, lockstep culture. More than that, the firm’s pro bono cases directly address the most profound examples of inequality around the world. For example, the firm works with the Centre for Reproductive Rights in high profile cases aimed at preserving women’s health choices. It also works with women inmates in New York State prisons who are facing sexual abuse.


Decent Work and Economic Growth

Ensuring level playing fields is crucial to encouraging economic growth, which can be a key driver behind tackling wider issues including poverty and lack of opportunity. Debevoise and its clients have a central role to play by ensuring that capital is deployed around the world in responsible and positive ways. Debevoise also works with its clients to conduct thorough due diligence for investments, identify and eliminate corruption and promote fair labor practices. It also means working with private equity firms to seek and invest in companies that are finding imaginative ways of doing more with less.


Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Lawyers play a critical role in achieving a peaceful, just society. Debevoise is one of the world’s leading law firms helping clients, whether companies, individuals or states, to resolve disputes in ways that avoid conflict. For example, in the International Court of Justice, the firm is representing a sovereign state to help resolve a dispute with its neighbors. Lawyers also have a wider role to play in tackling systemic issues that can be barriers to peace and justice. Debevoise lawyers have always engaged in public service to promote the rule of law. For example, a Debevoise partner led efforts within the International Bar Association to promote the connection between business and human rights and to fight judicial corruption.