April 7-8, 2021Seminar

ESG and Investing in an Era of Unprecedented Change

Lone Star Resilient Investment Forum Presented by Texas A&M University School of Law and Michael Best, in partnership with Strategic Insight Group

The confluence of economic, political, and even climatic turbulence of the past year— as exemplified by the electric grid failure in Texas—compounded by a deadly global pandemic, has brought into view the critical importance of the private sector in decisions that affect the natural environment, societal structures, and governance mechanisms. Integrating environmental, social, and governance ("ESG") practices into decision-making by companies and investors is now more important than ever. Rebuilding our economy requires business to take a more holistic approach to operations and activities. And, it requires an understanding of the impact that ESG factors can have on the sustainability of the private sector, which is vital to mitigating potential business exposure and hazards that occur with increasing frequency, such as systemic, reputational, investment, legal and financial risks.

This conference will bring together interdisciplinary perspectives from legal practitioners, investors, and business representatives to explore the risks facing the private sector, and how ESG factors can be integrated into business decisions to benefit both the private sector and the broader community.


Keynote Interviews


  • Nicholas Abel, Sustainable Investment Officer, Portfolio Management, CalSTRS
  • Lorraine Akiba, President & CEO, LHA Ventures
  • Coco Brown, Founder & CEO, Athena Alliance
  • Vanessa Casado Perez, Associate Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law; Research Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University
  • Gabriel Eckstein, Professor of Law and Director of the Energy, Environmental, and Natural Resource Systems Law Program, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Marianne Dwight, Of Counsel, Michael Best
  • Dominic Garcia, Chief Investment Officer, New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association
  • Chris Hayes, Senior Policy Counsel, Institutional Limited Partners Association
  • Luz Herrera, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Experiential Education, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Sharmila Kassam, Executive Director, AIF Institute
  • Satyam Khanna, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and ESG, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Ginger Lew, CEO, Three Oaks Investments, LLC
  • William Magnuson, Associate Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Ryann Marotta, Senior Portfolio Manager / Senior Vice President, Northern Trust
  • Felix Mormann, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Neal Newman, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Todd Palmer, Partner and Sub-Practice Leader, Environmental & Natural Resources, Michael Best 
  • Niraja Srinivasan, Partner, NERA Economic Consulting
  • Melissa Waller, President, AIF Global Institute
  • Scott Zdrazil, Senior Investment Officer, LACERA


Day 1:

1:15 p.m. Interview 

  • Steven Rothstein and Marianne Dwight will discuss the threat that climatic changes pose to capital markets, and the need to identify immediate and long-term steps that regulators, policymakers, investors and businesses must take to protect the stability of the financial system.

2:20 p.m. Panel 1

  • Nicholas Abel, Dominic Garcia, Sharmila Kassam, William Magnuson, and Melissa Waller will focus on governance and consider why stable, transparent, and inclusive governance mechanisms may be the most important factor in the entire ESG equation.

3:45 p.m. Panel 2

  • Coco BrownGabriel Eckstein, Luz Herrera, Ryann Marotta, and Niraja Srinivasan will address the social and societal aspects of business decisions, and consider why these factors are critical for the private sector, economic stability, and the economic system as a whole. Among others, topics will include income and wealth inequality, and the dichotomies of value versus values and shareholders versus stakeholders.

5:10 p.m. Networking & Happy Hour

Day 2:

1:15 p.m. Interview 

  • Dee Smith and Marianne Dwight, will discuss ESG in the context of global change and risk, and consider how ESG principles can be integrated and implemented into the business and investment environments in ways that maximize impact and mitigate risks to business and society.

2:20 p.m. Panel 3

  • Lorraine AkibaVanessa Casado PerezFelix Mormann, and Todd Palmer will focus will be on the importance of environmental considerations in business and investment decisions, consider how they impact the economy and the private sector, and explore how they can be integrated into the business process. Among others, topics will include sustainable and green energy and the circular economy.

3:45 p.m. Panel 4

  • Chris Hayes, Satyam KhannaGinger LewNeal Newman, and Scott Zdrazil will address the regulatory environment as it applies to ESG in investing and managing businesses, and how it is likely to evolve over the next few years, including under the Biden Administration. This will include consideration of changing social, political, and legal perspectives, the role of increasing environmental concerns, and other influential factors.

5:10 p.m. Networking & Happy Hour


CLE Credit:

This course has been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee in the amount of 5.0 credit hours, of which 0.0 credit hours will apply to legal ethics/professional responsibility credit.

We hope you can join us virtually! For questions, please contact our Events team.

April 7-8, 2021

Time (Central):
1:00 - 5:45 p.m. each day

via Zoom Webinar

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