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Timothy Wilkins

Global Partner for Client Sustainability

Corporate advisory and governance | ESG and sustainability | Mergers and acquisitions | Pro bono |

an impressive track record ... in cross-border M&A, PE and JV

The Legal 500 2016

Profile details

About Timothy Wilkins

Tim is the firm's Global Partner for Client Sustainability and a corporate and M&A partner based in New York. 

Tim advises on a wide range of strategic sustainability issues for clients as well as a series of high-profile cross-border M&A, private equity and joint ventures.

Tim leads Freshfields' global sustainability team, comprised of leaders from the firm's transactional, regulatory and dispute resolution practices, who advise clients on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.  His role includes guiding the firm in its partnerships with clients, public policy makers and regulators in their joint effort to tackle the broader range of sustainability issues impacting business and society.  Tim is also a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law School and speaks widely on sustainability issues at other academic and professional institutions.

Tim is active in board service in New York.  He is the Chair of the Board of New York Public Radio and previously served on the Board of the New York City Economic Development Corporation as Chair of the Governance Committee, appointed by the Mayor of New York City and the Board of the New York Public Theater, as Co-Chair of the Governance Committee. Tim formerly served as the Vice-Chair of the Legal Services Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, where he worked as an investment banker and lawyer for 11 years. 

Tim has been selected seven times to the Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executives by Empower, several times ranked in the top 20.

Tim speaks English and Japanese. 

Learn more about Freshfields' sustainability offering.

Recent work

  • Advising the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) on financial institutions acting in concert on sustainability issues
  • Advising the Generation Foundation, the PRI and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) on the legal framework for institutional investors to invest for sustainability impact 
  • Advising a global sovereign wealth fund on climate change litigation
  • Advising Hewlett-Packard Company on multiple engagements, including its global business separation, creating two separate publicly traded companies with revenues in excess of $50bn – the largest technology enterprise split in history.
  • Advising Zhongwang USA on its $2.33bn acquisition of Aleris Corporation from a consortium of shareholders.
  • Advising Zhejiang Geely on its purchase of Volvo Car Corporation for $1.8bn.
  • Advising on the sale of Solvay Pharmaceuticals to Abbott Laboratories for $7bn.
  • Advising Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) on establishing as a foundation in Switzerland.



  • JD, Harvard Law School.
  • MBA, Harvard Business School.
  • AB, magna cum laude, Harvard College.


  • Admitted to practice in the State of New York.
  • Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School
  • Adjunct professor on Sustainability, Georgetown Law School
  • Adjunct professor of International Law and International Negotiations, Hunter College.


  • Chair of the Board of the New York Public Radio.
  • Appointed by the Mayor of the City of New York to serve on the boards of the NYC Economic Development Corporation (executive committee) and NYC Global Partners (president of the board) to further economic growth across all five boroughs and develop partnerships for the mayor’s local-to-global equity agenda. Serves as Chair of Governance Committee of NYEDC.
  • Board member of the New York Public Theater.
  • Pioneered the firm’s Legal Outreach Program for New York City high school students.

Awards / Recognitions

  • 2017 - 2024 Empower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executives (named seven times to list)
  • Chambers & Partners ESG Risk and Environment Ranked (2023)
  • Harlem Grown Visionary Award (2023)
  • HistoryMakers Project (2022)
  • Minority Lawyer of the Year 2016, Chambers Diversity Awards, USA 2016.
  • CUP Catalyst: Change Agent 2014, The Council of Urban Professionals.
  • Atlas 2010 M&A Deal of the Year for Geely’s acquisition of Volvo Car Corporation.
  • Ford Foundation Fellowship in Public International Law.

Press mentions