Goulston & Storrs

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Pro Bono Rank Firm
(Am Law 200 Rank)
Am Law
Pro Bono Score
Average Pro Bono
Hours Per Lawyer
% of Lawyers
With More Than 20 Hours
42
Goulston & Storrs (175)
66.9
74.9
58.9

 

The "Fair Trade Certified" logo on a bag of coffee or a bar of chocolate is there largely thanks to TransFair USA—with a little help from outside counsel Goulston & Storrs. TransFair is a California-based nonprofit. It certifies imported ingredients that have been produced under fair labor conditions, using environmentally sustainable practices. The Am Law Pro Bono 100Goulston & Storrs serves as TransFair's pro bono general counsel, handling trademark and licensing issues, among other things.

The idea behind the Fair Trade movement, which started in Europe in the late 1980s, is to ensure that agricultural producers in developing nations are not exploited. Farmers receive a minimum floor price for what they grow, which insulates them from commodity price fluctuations. Companies that buy the raw materials for their products rely on third parties, such as TransFair, to audit the supply chain and certify that the goods meet Fair Trade standards.

Goulston's relationship with TransFair began after partner Kitt Sawitsky met TransFair's then chairman at a dinner in 2001. Since then, the firm has worked on certification and license agreements with major licensees such as Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Ben & Jerry's, and has provided employment, tax, and corporate governance advice to the nonprofit. In addition, Goulston advises TransFair in its relationship with Fair Trade umbrella group Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO), based in Germany, and other third-party certifiers.

TransFair audits and licenses more than 700 companies that sell Fair Trade Certified products. Goulston partner Andrew Ferren, who is part of TransFair's Advisory Council, adds, "Consumer demand for Fair Trade Certified products has reached the point where fair trade is good business for these companies."

—Priti Patnaik | July 1, 2009

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