Career Paths


As companies adapt to modern business practices and standards, which often vary vastly from industry to industry, one thing’s for sure: you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sector that remains untouched by the drive towards sustainability—and the legal field is no different.

3 min read

Gone are the days when businesses could afford to prioritize profit over all else. Good governance, social impact and environmental concerns top the list of issues that are steadily becoming more relevant to the corporate agenda. 

This move toward sustainability and greater corporate responsibility is naturally filtering down to the educational institutions training the emerging talent currently filling offices around the world. Nowhere is that more evident than in the legal field.

Making LL.M. Curricula More Green

Law schools are now beginning to change what they teach, which is resulting in noticeable shifts in the global business landscape: companies are adopting entirely innovative approaches to industry and commerce. Consequently, the increasing corporate demand for new, green outlooks is accelerating the evolution of law degree program curricula and driving the increased focus on sustainability.

In a 2020 report on sustainability, the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) notes, “Lawyers are called upon to not only adapt to a changing economy and society but to lead positive change on a grand scale,” requiring them to “take immediate bold action” to ensure a sustainable future for both the legal field and the world at large. 

It seems clear that any push for sustainable business models must be backed by skilled legal professionals who are both willing and knowledgeable enough to advocate for environmental and social responsibility while encouraging their clients to adopt effective green practices.

Driving sustainability in law

This fact is not lost on ambitious, forward-thinking Master of Laws (LL.M.) students. As corporations start to develop sustainability strategies, as well as bring litigation against those who breach environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations, the demand for “green” content in law school programs is growing fast. Young professionals want to understand how legislation and ESG regulations impact sustainability—and law schools are responding to the challenge. 

Students pursuing programs in Law, International Affairs & Public Policy at IE University, for example, now have the chance to explore the intersection between law and a broad range of fields. Because of this multidisciplinary approach, they develop broad, well-rounded perspectives that allow them to address sustainable development issues from multiple contexts, including agriculture, planning, climate change and biodiversity loss, to name a few. What’s more, they are able to use these newly-acquired skills to launch impactful lawyer careers along a variety of paths.

This emphasis on sustainability isn’t likely to fade any time soon, either. It is an ongoing process that requires lawyers to use their unique skill set to mitigate their clients’ ecological impact and advance sustainability goals globally. Legal professionals can accomplish this by centering their engagement around eco-consciousness, gender equality and access to justice, as well as promoting technology and innovation in legal practice. The Talent & Careers department at IE University acts as a helpful resource to students who are ready to find their niche. 

Furthermore, immediate action is needed to tackle roadblocks to sustainability, including the factors that contribute to climate change. It is vital to establish a viable framework guiding international business law, as an ideal first step, to shape public policy and ensure environmental regulations are respected. For this to happen, transnational agreements based on a strong legal footing are essential. This is where the new generation of legal professionals must step up to challenge businesses and governments to act on their pledges to reduce the impact of the climate crisis.

The future of law

The way we do business is inextricably linked future of our planet. Legal professionals have a duty to generate positive change, especially as digitalization and globalization continue to transform modern society. Now more than ever, graduates can look forward to a career centered around meaningful impact and actions that better our world. Without question, sustainability is the future of law.