Bloomberg's Green Legal Tech Collaborative
In House Pro Bono Stories
We sat down with Mitesh Jagatia, EMEA Media Counsel at Bloomberg, and Mia Motiee, Data Security Counsel at Bloomberg to hear about their pro bono legal support for green-tech startups.
Please tell us a little bit about a recent successful pro bono project
The Green Tech Legal Collaborative (GTLC) is in its third year of providing pro bono legal support for greentech startups from Imperial College's Enterprise Lab. We started this collaborative pro bono programme with Ropes & Gray, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher from the founding members’ shared vision of supporting climate action and sustainability through a legal/compliance pro bono initiative.
How did you source this project? Did you partner with a law firm?
GTLC launched in 2021 with the initial goal of helping six greentech startups navigate a wide range of complex legal and compliance challenges, from corporate governance to IP protection. Over time, the programme has grown and evolved to support more startups across additional practice areas, with further law firms joining in to create a full-service collaborative programme for legal and compliance professionals who want to do their part in supporting climate action.
This year, we have been joined by Ropes & Gray, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Ashurst, Mayer Brown, Travers Smith, Shearman & Sterling, and Venner Shipley in supporting 18 greentech startups through the GTLC.
Walk us though how you launch a project internally. How do you get from an idea to sourcing volunteers?
Generally when we have an idea that we want to explore, we discuss and develop within the pro bono committee, ensuring we have buy in from our EMEA and global pro bono leads. We are concurrently having conversations with senior regional leadership and our Philanthropy team, to discuss any questions and address any potential conflicts. Once we have cleared these internal due diligence checks and have buy in from the legal and Philanthropy senior leadership, we will roughly plan the stages of the project and the various workstreams each would require. No amount of planning will ever account for all eventualities so every year of an ongoing project we apply changes and refine the existing documentation and procedures for a more effective project.
What made this particular project successful in your view?
We were all motivated to find pro bono projects focused on environmental action, so a common goal along with strong working relationships/friendships have been the foundation for the programme’s success. We all believe in the work and in each other, which is what has helped us work through the various issues that crop up with big projects like this and how to work together to search for solutions.
How did you ensure volunteer engagement/senior stakeholder buy in?
This project was in line with Bloomberg’s broader environmental interests. We were also excited to try something new that had not been done before and a combination of the type of work along with our enthusiasm and project planning helped smooth the way for approvals. We also had strong internal advocacy within our global pro bono committee.
What lessons did you learn from this project which you will apply to future projects?
Pro bono is a labour of love, especially for in-house pro bono teams where you have to do it on top of your day job. In that vein, the key lesson we’ve learned from this project is the need to be passionate about your pro bono project. We’ve faced many obstacles and we’ve needed to draw on our passion, grit and determination to work through them as we’ve grown the project into the successful and sustainable (no pun intended) initiative that it is today.