Legally Green®



Sustainability is one of Nixon Peabody’s core values, a commitment made clear by our LEED-certified offices, our pro bono service, and our work to advance our clients’ green initiatives.

Our approach

We take a holistic approach to sustainability, providing integrated services across legal, scientific, and engineering disciplines—both internally and externally. Whether we are helping our clients deliver sustainable solutions in their industries, or shrinking our own environmental footprint across the firm, we keep our focus on environmental resources, human resources, and the green economy.

Our attorneys are experienced partners on environmental, renewable energy, and corporate social responsibility projects, forging strong relationships and finding solutions to strengthen our clients, our communities, and our world. We believe clients who are dedicated to making a positive difference to this planet should have access to the legal resources they need. That’s why we are leaders in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy coalition, contributing $3.7 million worth of pro bono legal services over the past two years to foster high-impact sustainability efforts.

This commitment extends to our own organization, integrating sustainability into our supply chain, use of resources, and individual office initiatives. We opened the first LEED-certified law office in the country, in San Francisco in 2007. Since then, our offices have earned LEED certification in cities around the country, including LEED Platinum status in Washington, D.C. This truly unique green office hosts an innovative community solar rooftop array—all energy generated from the solar panels is donated to low-income families in the form of free energy credits on their monthly electricity bills. This model spurred the creation of NP Solar, an impactful nonprofit supported by the firm’s pro bono program, which now delivers more than $100,000 in annual energy savings to Washington-area low-income families.

How we’ve made a difference

Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy—We’ve proudly joined the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy project sponsored by Stanford University. LSE is a coalition of 18 BigLaw firms and corporate legal departments that have pledged more than $20 million in pro bono legal services to “advance sustainability in energy, transportation, and land use.” Our firm committed at the highest pledge level—$2 million of pro bono services in the first two years—and nearly doubled that total.

NP Solar—An independent nonprofit (New Partners Community Solar) founded at our Washington office in 2015, NP Solar uses a unique model to increase solar power adoption and energy savings throughout the District of Columbia. Starting with the firm’s downtown office tower, NP Solar is now generating clean renewable energy from solar arrays on several buildings throughout the area, with all energy generated provided at no cost to low-income families. Together, the NP solar rooftops are expected to generate more than $100,000 in free utility bill credits annual for more than 200 low-income families.

Jubilee Housing’s Solar+Battery Storage Low-Income Resiliency Hub—Partnering with Jubilee Housing, the DC Department of Energy and Environment and Pepco (DC’s regulated utility company), Nixon Peabody attorneys assisted in the financing, development, and implementation of DC’s first “shelter in place” resiliency center in Jubilee’s Maycroft Apartments—providing solar and battery storage emergency power to the complex’s community room during power grid outages.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance—Our attorneys led the effort to obtain 501(c)(3) certification for this San Francisco-based nonprofit startup accelerator, which aims to provide seed money, marketing assistance, and ancillary services to startups that have piloted ideas for innovative sustainability initiatives designed to solve problems in the world’s oceans—from plastic pollution to overfishing to sea level rise.

Kinetic Communities Consulting Corporation (KC3)—Attorneys from our Corporate, Energy, Intellectual Property, and Affordable Housing teams worked with Kinetic Communities Consulting Corporation, New York City’s first minority- and woman-owned social enterprise benefit corporation. KC3 is dedicated to helping low-income households transition to a democratic clean energy future, serving underrepresented New Yorkers through education, networking, and making energy efficiency easier to understand. Nixon Peabody has supported KC3 as it has partnered with others to create solar rooftop gardens at 24 buildings in eight developments and organize efficiency awareness workshops.

The Nature Conservancy—Attorneys from our Real Estate, Energy and Environmental, and Litigation practice groups proudly work hand-in-hand with the Nature Conservancy. We advise the nonprofit on everything from conservation easements to floodplain restoration projects, all in furtherance of its mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Who we work with

  • Investors and developers of renewable energy projects including solar, geothermal, wind, and biogas
  • Manufacturers looking to improve operational efficiency while reducing raw product usage, emissions, water, and waste
  • Businesses trying to manage sustainability-related risks such as climate change, supply chain, and license-to-operate
  • Marketers of green products and services responding to regulatory enforcement and private litigation regarding environmental claims
  • Builders of commercial and large residential buildings negotiating green building design, green leases, renewable energy, efficiency, and other performance contracts
  • Developers and financing parties seeking to mitigate, remediate, and develop brownfield properties
  • Companies pursuing innovative financing for sustainable capital and environmentally beneficial projects
  • Institutions using demand response to provide energy reliability and additional revenue
  • Businesses seeking access to capital for innovative technology and solutions
  • Incubators seeking to support, promote, and finance businesses with a sustainability or environmental focus
  • Public and private companies reporting under voluntary and mandatory disclosure frameworks
  • Middle-market companies responding to sustainable supply chain demand
  • Companies seeking to establish and maintain public parks, conservation easements, and remediation agreements

Recognition

  • DC Sustainability Award—based significantly on NP Solar, where DC Mayor Bowser and DOEE Director Tommy Wells commended Nixon Peabody on its strong leadership, innovation, thought leadership, and community focus
  • The Interstate Renewable Energy Council—Community/Shared Renewables Project of the Year—for NP Solar, presented at the annual meeting at the Moscone Center in San Francisco
  • Designation as a Clean Energy Champion by the Clean Energy States Alliance
  • Editor’s Choice—Low-Moderate Income Project of the Year—Solar Builder Magazine
  • Founding member of Professional Services Sustainability Roundtable
  • Founding member of the Law Firm Sustainability Network
  • First law firm to participate in EDF Climate Corps, an innovative fellowship program that helps build the business case for energy efficiency
  • Piloted American Bar Association’s Sustainability Framework for Law Organizations
  • LEED® certification for seven offices, including the first LEED Certified Law Office

Solar Power Access: A Matter of Justice

Washington Lawyer | March 01, 2020

This in-depth profile of New Partners Community Solar features Nixon Peabody’s role in the project and quotes Washington, DC, Community Development Finance senior counsel Jeff Lesk and senior counsel Herb Stevens.

Can DC meet its ambitious solar energy goals?

Washington City Paper | February 24, 2020

This article quotes Washington, DC, Community Development Finance partner Jeff Lesk discussing the social impact of NP Community Solar, which was the first project to join Washington’s community solar program and has expanded to several commercial rooftops throughout the district.

Deals & Dealmakers: Ugly buildings offer greatest rewards, says Brookfield’s Ric Clark

Real Estate Weekly | February 19, 2020

This article mentions Nixon Peabody in connection with New Partners Community Solar’s collaboration with Brookfield Properties to install solar panels on downtown rooftops in Washington, DC, and convert the energy generated into utility bill credits for low-income families.

The General Counsel’s Big Opportunity to Protect Reputation: 6 Tips

Corporate Counsel | December 16, 2019

This article, covering six tips for general counsel to fortify their corporate reputations, cites New Partners Community Solar Corporation as an example of effectively collaborating with others for greater impact. The authors mention Nixon Peabody’s collaboration with the District Department of Energy & Environment, Brookfield Properties, National Housing Trust Community Development Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, and Sol Systems in forming NP Community Solar.

2019 Building Tours: D.C. solar for all

Better Buildings ( U.S. Department of Energy) | August 06, 2019

The blog post from the U.S. Department of Energy chronicles a recent solar-focused learning session, hosted by New Partners Community Solar at Nixon Peabody’s Washington DC office.

DC affordable housing building gets solar panels, 'resilience center'

NBC 4 Washington | July 25, 2019

This broadcast news clip highlights New Partners Community Solar, the Nixon Peabody-adjacent nonprofit creating innovative sustainability projects throughout Washington, DC. New Partners helped to develop a ‘resilience center’ in a DC-area affordable housing complex, which will keep residents connected to key services and emergency resources in the event of a power grid disruption.

Introducing the resiliency center

National Housing and Rehabilitation Association | July 20, 2019

This story mentions New Partners Community Solar, the nonprofit founded in 2017 by senior counsel Herb Stevens and Community Development Finance partner Jeff Lesk, both of Washington, DC. New Partners played a crucial role in the development of the city’s first affordable housing resiliency center—a suite of rooms available to all residents that provides an emergency power supply for residents to use during disasters or outages.

This DC apartment building provides low-income families with solar power and a resilience center

Greater Greater Washington | June 27, 2019

This article highlights the work of New Partners Community Solar to establish a resiliency center in a low-income housing development in Washington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. The center is designed to power essential services, such as lighting and communications, for up to three days after a disruption to the public power grid.

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