Insight

Why Law Firms are Embracing Sustainable Development Goals

Uria Menendez Abogados is committing itself to Spain's progressive environmental policies.

Uria Menendez's Sustainability Goal
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

March 1, 2019 09:41 AM

For the attorneys at Uria Menendez Abogados, Spain’s 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” winner for Environmental Law, a successful practice is one that can keep up with the needs of its diverse client base—and the rapidly evolving nature of environmental policy across Europe and worldwide.

“Environmental law has changed a lot,” says Carlos de Miguel, a partner in Uria Menendez’s Madrid office. Carlos joined the firm in 1988, going on to practice in environmental, energy, and mining law, as well as prepare reports on environmental issues and draft legislation. “We’re on the edge of the law; after more than 25 years of continuous and constant change, we are always working to better adapt to the needs of the clients.”

Along with their award and some significant litigation, 2018 was a year of marked professional success for the firm. Uría Menéndez is not only committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations´s 2030 Agenda but also, in April, the firm joined the United Nations’ Global Compact, an international initiative uniting businesses in sustainable practice and a commitment to uphold the implementation of its 10 universally accepted principles, which encompass human rights, labor, environmental protection, and anti-corruption. Those of most concern to Carlos and his colleagues of the Environmental Law Department are principles seven, eight, and nine: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

“We want to be transparent,” Carlos says, of joining the compact. “It shows our commitment to society, and as a member of society, and we want to promote these basic principles.”

Certainly, Uria Menendez has taken on this initiative because of its firm belief in its values. But soon enough, everyone else will have to follow its lead in embracing sustainability. In November of 2018, Spain announced its ambitious plan to switch entirely to renewable energy by 2050, as well as to completely decarbonize their economy.

"This comes at an important moment ahead of COP24 where countries are invited to showcase how they meet the goals of the Agreement,” says Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief. Conscious of the European Union’s own goals for reducing emissions and preventing the destructive effects of climate change, Spain hopes to go even further—shutting down coal mines, banning sales of petrol and diesel, reach 70 percent renewable energy as soon as 2030.

We want to be transparent. It shows our commitment to society, and as a member of society, and we want to promote these basic principles

For Carlos and the others in the firm’s environmental practice, these new policy goals present both challenge and opportunity.

“We have clients from different sectors,” Carlos says. “For some, it may be easier to adapt. In some cases, we are helping in implementing the actions they have decided to take. In other cases, we are working more closely to ensure they are taking into account all areas of business that may be affected by these changes.”

As far as the firm’s mining law practice, Carlos believes the work won’t be strongly impacted by Spain’s decision concerning coal mining, as they work with many areas other than coal. Other projects, like the regulations which may halt the progress of the planned Midi-Catalonia pipeline, also raise questions for environmental attorneys and policymakers alike. “If and when the pipeline is approved, it will have to undergo the necessary steps including environmental assessment,” Carlos says. “Spain is rather active in this type of assessment. It is common that stakeholders, green groups, and companies participate in these discussions.”

More than anything, through a busy year of awards, litigation, national initiatives, and the increasing global pressure of their work, Carlos points to his peers at the firm as his greatest source of pride and accomplishment.

“The firm as a whole is what I’m particularly proud of. We keep trying and we consistently provide the best quality possible to our clients. It’s all a matter of the people that form the firm.” Certainly, with a dedication to a cause of inescapable importance, the people that form Uria Menendez Abogados’ environmental practice are doing great work.

Related Articles

Announcing the 2021 Best Lawyers in Spain


by Best Lawyers

Featuring the nation's top 2 percent of practicing lawyers.

2021 Best Lawyers in Spain

What a Time to be in Capital Markets


by Best Lawyers

Fernando Vives and Gonzalo García-Fuertes discuss the future of capital markets in the face of a pandemic.

An Interview With Garrigues

How Spain's Garrigues Trains a Millenial Workforce


by Best Lawyers

In an interview with Best Lawyers, Adriano Gómez of "Law Firm of the Year" Garrigues in Spain offers a look at his career success, labor and employment law, and embracing a millennial workforce.

Garrigues "Law Firm of the Year" Interview

ECIJA on Revolutions in Spanish Information Technology Law


by Best Lawyers

Alejandro Touriño looks at the policy changes impacting information technology law in Spain in this "Law Firm of the Year" interview with Phillip Greer.

ECIJA Information Technology Law Interview

How Preventative Counsel Is Changing Criminal Defense


by Best Lawyers

Ayala Gómez discusses Oliva-Ayala's 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for criminal defense law in Spain.

Oliva-Ayala Spanish Interview

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Switzerland™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Switzerland.

Red flag with white cross

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Austria™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Austria.

Red and white stripes

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Italy™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Italy.

Green, white and red stripes

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa

Summer Voting Season Is Here!


by Best Lawyers

Summer 2021 voting is open to all lawyers listed in Best Lawyers in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain.

How To Vote On Your Best Lawyers Ballot

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Switzerland


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Switzerl

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Austria


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Austria

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Russia


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Russia

Trending Articles

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Announcing The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from the United Kingdom.

The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom 2023

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Best Lawyers Honorees Behind the Litigation


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers takes a look at the recognized legal talent representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their ongoing defamation trial.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Announcing The Best Lawyers in France™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from France.

Blue, white and red strips

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes

Education by Trial: Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom


by Margo Pierce

The intricacies of complex lawsuits require extensive knowledge of the legal precedent. But they also demand a high level of skill in every discipline needed to succeed at trial, such as analyzing technical reports and deposing expert witnesses.

Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Belgium™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Belgium.

Black, yellow and red stripes

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in France


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in France

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany

We Are Women, We Are Fearless


by Deborah S. Chang and Justin Smulison

Athea Trial Lawyers is a female owned and operated law firm specializing in civil litigation, catastrophic energy, wrongful death and product liability.

Athea Trial Law Female Leadership and Success

U.K. Introduces Revisions to Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules


by Gregory Sirico

Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules in

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Destiny Fulfilled


by Sara Collin

Was Angela Reddock-Wright destined to become a lawyer? It sure seems that way. Yet her path was circuitous. This accomplished employment attorney, turned mediator, arbitrator and ADR specialist nonpareil discusses her career, the role of attorneys in society, the new world of post-pandemic work and why new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson represents the future.

Interview with Lawyer Angela Reddock-Wright

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?