Episode 1 – COP28, From a Young Lawyer’s Perspective

Episode 1 – COP28, From a Young Lawyer’s Perspective

The Sustainable Law Podcast

If you work in the legal sector and you have an interest in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises then this podcast is for you. How do these challenges affect law firms and what can lawyers to take positive action on climate change for their firms and their clients?

Episode 1 - COP28, From a Young Lawyer’s Perspective

by The Sustainable Law Podcast

Episode 1 – COP28, From a

Young Lawyer’s Perspective.

This first episode explores how it feels to be facing twinned climate and nature crises as a young corporate lawyer. What does it feel like to be a young professional at COP28? Was it a game changer? Or a fudge hijacked by fossil fuels?

COP28 attracted over 97,000 people, including nearly 2,500 fossil-fuel lobbyists who out-numbered nearly all individual country delegations. Can meaningful change be accomplished in such an environment or is the COP process broken? Is COP finally taking the youth voice seriously? Do young people need to be more radical?

With Sarah Hill Smith – Associate, Clyde & Co specialising in complex international arbitration and commercial litigation, with a strong interest in climate law and Charlie Bevis – Trainee Solicitor at Norton Rose Fulbright, G20 (Youth) UK Head Delegate & Climate Delegate, COP26 ’27 ’28 Delegate, Stop Ecocide UK Ambassador.

More about our guests:

Sarah Hill-Smith is an associate at Clyde & Co. Sarah specialises in international arbitration and commercial litigation and works in Clyde & Co’s climate risk and resilience team where she advises clients on climate- and nature-related liabilities, risks, and opportunities. Sarah is a volunteer with Legal Response International, with whom she attended COP26 and COP28 to provide free legal advice to climate-vulnerable countries. She previously worked at The Chancery Lane Project, an NGO that drafts and helps lawyers implement climate-aligned clauses in commercial contracts, and is acting Vice Chair of Legal Voices for the Future, an educative initiative upskilling junior lawyers on the climate and ecological crises through

Charlie Bevis is a trainee solicitor at Norton Rose Fulbright, and is looking to specialise in energy and environmental law to apply his passion for advising clients on the challenges and opportunities arising from the energy transition. Beyond his training, Charlie advocates for youth inclusion within climate policymaking. At COP26 and COP27, he reported on the negotiations for youth NGO ClimaTalk and his team received a European Parliament Charlemagne Prize for their work. In 2023, he was appointed to be the UK’s head delegate and climate change delegate to the G20 (Youth) summit, and successfully negotiated the most climate-ambitious Y20 communique ever agreed. Most recently, he attended COP28 to deliver the Climate Youth Negotiator Programme, which trains and funds young people to attend climate summits, and was proud to support the 120 youth negotiators the programme had at the conference.



Miranda’s Tree Planting Event

Tree planting campaign involving colleagues and their families to offset the firm’s carbon footprint from air travel.

LSA member Miranda and Associados decided to compensate the carbon emissions resulting from the firm’s air travels by planting trees that can chew up the gases that air flights release into the atmosphere. Tree planting events were organised involving around 50 Miranda professionals plus family and friends and colleagues also learnt about forest management practices in the natural reserve Mata da Machada.

Why we did it

Our network of law offices, the Miranda Alliance, covers 18 jurisdictions over 4 different continents. Moreover, our clients are located in dozens of different countries around the Globe. Although some of these locations are very remote, we work hard to stay close to our clients, providing local support whenever possible. The downside of our international scale is the fairly high carbon footprint associated to our frequent and long-distance flights. During 2018, the miles we traveled by air were equivalent to two round trips from planet Earth to the Moon!

What we did

We decided to compensate the carbon emissions resulting from our air travels by planting trees that can chew up the gases that air flights release into the atmosphere. The Firm’s Green Team organized two tree planting events which were tremendously successful: around 50 Miranda professionals, encouraged by family and friends, and in many cases accompanied by their enthusiastic children, spent a Saturday morning planting trees (240, to be exact), sowing acorns, and learning about forest management practices in the natural reserve Mata da Machada. In light of the success of this initiative, the Green Team is already working on other tree planting events to further mitigate the damaging ecological effects of our air travels.

What we learnt

We learnt how to calculate the carbon footprint resulting from our air travels throughout 2018, and we deepened our knowledge on land-based carbon sequestration mechanisms. We also discovered a way to fulfill our sustainability targets, whilst having fun as a team and inspiring and educating our children.


Although we did not manage to fully offset our employees’ portion of carbon and other gas emissions released into the atmosphere as a result of business-related air travels, we were able to mitigate a part of our footprint and are very proud to have potentially contributed to the birth of almost 1000 new trees in our forest in the future.

How this has benefited our business

Although it is too early to measure the impact of this initiative in our business, the human element associated with our mornings in the forest was extremely positive and rewarding. In fact, people easily grasp the concept of trees absorbing the carbon dioxide that airplanes release into the atmosphere and feel very good about this type of forestry initiative. Also, this has proven to be the perfect team building event for our organization.