Beth Boland Comments on Evolving Law Firm ESG Practices Following Dobbs

02 August 2022 Law360 News

Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Beth Boland was quoted in a Law360 article titled, “Abortion Emerges as Social Issue in Law Firm ESG Practices,” discussing the rise of abortion access as a focus for law firm environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practice attorneys tasked with helping their corporate clients navigate the new legal landscape following the US Supreme Court’s recent overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Boland, who is vice chair of the firm’s ESG team, said, “ESG is that broader conceptualization of corporate purpose. Abortion, in my mind, falls squarely in that bucket.”

As companies develop their positions and policies on the issue, ESG attorneys will have to help their clients carefully maneuver through both the legal and business consequences that result from a company’s claims about reproductive care. Boland said, “it is a concern for our clients and for companies.” Less actionable and harder to track than other goals, companies will need to proceed with caution as they decide what approach is right for them.

She added, “Vague, aspirational statements — you are seeing companies being sued more often on that, but typically those cases are not successful," Boland said. "It's only when it becomes very specific and factual that it could be a basis for an investor suit about disclosures into the market."

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As the impacts from the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade continue to evolve, so too do new business and legal implications for companies around the United States. For more information on how to alleviate risk and safeguard your business, please contact a Foley lawyer today.

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