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Governance & Leadership

The environment has become a critical business challenge. We recognise our role in supporting the global transition to a sustainable low carbon economy, and aim to lead by example in our own operations.

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Accountability and decision-making

The ESG & Sustainability issues most important to all stakeholders of the DWF Group form the foundations of our ESG & Sustainability strategy, which has the engagement of and accountability from our PLC and Executive Boards, along with all levels of leadership across our business. The oversight provided by the Board and its committees, include our ESG Leadership Group, ESG Operations Board, ESG & Commercial Conflicts Committee and Risk & Sanctions Committee. Our structure is below:

ESG Board


ESG risk taxonomy

We have implemented changes within our controls and the introduction of ESG risks within our risk taxonomy and management systems. Risk registers are held across leadership teams across our Legal Services, Legal Operations, Business Services and Central Services functions.

Reporting standards and frameworks

In addition to our mandatory reporting, requirements we actively engage in best practice and align to a series of global standards and disclosure frameworks, these are the: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), World Economic Forum Metrics, UN Global Compact Communication on Progress (in line with the Principles) and BITC Responsible Business Tracker.


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As part of our approach, the Group undertook an independent materiality assessment in 2021 to identify the ESG & Sustainability issues that are most important to all our stakeholders which then informed the foundations of our ESG & Sustainability strategy. We have committed to undertake this exercise every two years so we can be confident our strategy continues to remain fit for purpose.


The relationships we build and sustain are critical to delivering our ESG & Sustainability strategy and ensuring long-term value. Through dialogue and listening, we can better understand our impacts and evolving stakeholder expectations. In turn, our stakeholders expect us to provide accurate, transparent information about our performance, ESG risks, and the measures we are taking to address them.

ESG client policy

Our ESG client policy is applicable to any new client, pro bono project and/or supplier as a means to ensure that we assess and consider the material issues within our ESG & Sustainability strategy when working with third parties. The policy sets out the process our colleagues globally must follow to assess the nature of the work and to determine whether it is consistent with our purpose and values.


We have a suite of policies that support the Group in its performance of our ESG & Sustainability strategy that ensures we remain compliant and manage potential risks and impacts. These policies are communicated to all colleagues via our internal channels and where applicable, training is provided.

Education & Training

A key focus of our ESG & Sustainability strategy is to empower our colleagues to be part of our collective effort to deliver positive outcomes for all our stakeholders. Education and training sits at the heart of this ambition, and we are committed to upskilling our colleagues to ensure they are well equipped to participate in a wide range of initiatives that deliver against our ESG targets and metrics. We design and deliver training and education for all levels of the business with additional bespoke training for senior leadership and the Executive Board.

Russia invasion on Ukraine

We have no offices in Russia or Ukraine, but we are doing all we can to support any of our colleagues and communities who are affected by this conflict. For the avoidance of doubt, we do not and will not act for the Russian government, Russian state-controlled entities or sanctioned entities or individuals.

Leadership team

Abi Duff-Walker

Head of Sustainability.
Abi Duff-Walker
Abi supports the development of our internal ESG strategy, to ensure that we are working effectively to integrate responsible business practice across DWF. Abi also focuses specifically on DWF's response to the climate and biodiversity crises, and managing our carbon reduction targets.

Dan Noakes

Head of ESG Operations & Business Development.
Dan Noakes
Dan works closely with our Group Head of ESG on the implementation and delivery of our ESG strategy and how we operationalise it within the business. Additionally, Dan is responsible for how we build and promote our ESG strategy and proposition both with clients and the wider ESG market, and oversees our external ESG ratings and scores.

Darren Drabble

Group General Counsel and Company Secretary.
Darren Drabble
Darren is our Group General Counsel and Company Secretary and is responsible for providing the ESG Leadership Group with strategic legal advice, while overseeing legal compliance, corporate governance and managing risk and ensuring ESG is embedded throughout our business operations.

Darren Walsh

Partner & Global Head of Energy Sector.
Darren Walsh

Darren provides the ESG Leadership Group with advice on the execution of our environmental priorities and has a key role in helping the business to identify and deliver  decarbonisation and other environmental projects – work Darren has also been doing with clients.

Darren is a Partner at DWF and Head of Power. He is an Energy lawyer specialising in low carbon and renewable energy projects, with particular expertise in the nuclear sector.

Deborah Abraham

Group Director of Risk.
Deborah Abraham

Deborah is our Group Director of Risk and responsible for ensuring that all business decisions are looked at through an ESG lens and therefore ensuring we mitigate the possibility of any risk and our business remains sustainable in the future.

Deborah advises DWF on Governance, Risk Management and Compliance including leading the Business Excellence Strategy and leads our Risk and Sanctions Committees.

Kirsty Rogers

Global Head of ESG and Executive Board sponsor.
Kirsty Rogers

Kirsty is our Global Head of ESG and Executive Board sponsor who has oversight of the delivery of our global ESG strategy, ensuring we have the governance and operations in place to deliver on our targets and key metrics. Kirsty is also the Chair of our ESG Leadership Group and advises the Board on our progress as well as being a member of our Risk and Sanctions Committees.

Kirsty is an employment lawyer and has been a Partner at DWF since 2007. Kirsty is also our Executive Head of our Manchester office.

Louise Rogerson

Chief People Officer.
Louise Rogerson
Louise is our Chief People Officer and is responsible for all areas impacting our colleagues when it comes to ESG, whether this is recruitment, training or benefits. Louise also oversees our performance against our D&I targets. Louise is focused on developing the Group’s HR team’s contribution to business growth, performance and profitability by aligning the team’s strategic and operational goals to the Group’s business plans.

Mark Harrison

Finance Director.
Mark Harrison
Mark is our Finance Director and oversees all financial aspects of ESG for the business looking at both the expenditure and budgets but also oversees how ESG could impact our financial position and outlook over the short, medium and long term.

Matthew Doughty

Executive Director.
Matthew Doughty

Matthew is our Executive Director with responsibility for delivery on our global ESG strategy . Matthew is Chief Growth & Strategy Officer with responsibility for our Group's operations, corporate development activities, and post-acquisition integration projects and therefore ESG is key to successfully delivering our overall business strategy.

Matthew is a corporate lawyer by background with 25 years' experience in M&A and equity capital markets transactions.

Seema Bains

Partner, Head of Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group.
Seema Bains

Seema is the Head of our Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group and embeds an inclusive culture across the business and looks at new initiatives to diversify our workforce. As D&I is a key priority for our ESG strategy, Seema supports the ESG Leadership Group to be able to deliver our targets and commitments.

Seema has over 20 years experience in defending complex personal injury claims on behalf of insurers, retailers and private individuals.