ESG: What drives our clients to make a difference?

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues are a focus for many of our clients, whether they operate in the public, private, or third sectors.

Each of our clients puts a different lens on ESG issues, and their motivations for seeking to improve their ESG performance are often complex and constantly evolving. Whether in response to the climate and biodiversity crisis; global political events; or local social movements, our clients each have a different ESG ‘fingerprint’, unique to them.

In previous years, we have asked students to write essays on the role of lawyers in tackling biodiversity loss; and the balance between additional legislation and new technology in climate change mitigation and adaptation. This year, we would like students to consider ESG issues broadly, thinking about our clients’ motivations to deliver strong ESG performance and how they set about achieving that.

What you should include

We expect that the best essays will refer to one or more of the 17 different sectors that we focus on (find out more here - https:// and the issues that our clients, and those like them, face in those sectors. We don’t expect you to address every relevant aspect of ESG, so please focus on the aspects that interest you the most. Finally, we expect the best essays will consider what motivates our clients to try to make a positive difference, how they are doing this and whether they are achieving their goals.

What you can win?

The essay that captures our imagination the most will win a week’s paid internship (with accommodation if required) in our Birmingham office, working with our team of expert lawyers on a variety of ESG issues.

During your week’s internship, you’ll meet clients, undertake research, draft advice, and work closely with us to find out what it’s like advising clients on emerging legislation and ESG best practices. You’ll gain a great understanding of what life as a lawyer at Gowling WLG is like.

We will also host an Open Day for some of our runners-up. We’ll invite you to our Birmingham office where you will get to meet some of our lawyers who advise on ESG matters; and you’ll meet some of our trainee solicitors and hear from our Graduate Recruitment team.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you are studying at University; or you’re a graduate. It doesn’t matter if you have a law, or non-law background. Unfortunately we cannot cover the costs of international travel to attend the internship or Open Day and you must have the right to work in the UK.

Essays should be no more than 750 words (excluding references) and the deadline for entries is 6pm on Friday 20th September.

How to apply

Please submit your entries in to:


We would like to receive your essays in .pdf format and when submitting your entry, please include your name; where you’re studying (or studied); and details of the subject. Rest assured that our judges will not have access to that information when reading your essay.

If you have any questions about the competition, please contact: