Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR isn't just a 'tick box' exercise for us. It's an opportunity to engage with our local communities; a framework for our environmental responsibilities; and one of the ways in which we help to foster a well-rounded and happy workforce. Partner David Thompson is our CSR lead.
Making a real difference
Engaging with the communities where we live and work is a priority. We raise money for charities through a wide variety of events. One of the firm's flagship events, our annual 5K Charity Run, has now raised in excess of £300,000 for local organisations over its 18 year history.
Our staff are encouraged to give their time through volunteering. Every member of staff is given an extra day's holiday to volunteer to help local charities.
We sponsor Exeter College's REACH Academy, which fast-tracks bright students in the state system. We offer them work experience, mentoring, help with CVs and the opportunity to meet our people, and understand what is involved in working in business.
We are proud partners of Education & Employers, a charity which ensures that every school and college has an effective partnership with employers to provide its young people with the inspiration, knowledge and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential.
Taking our own advice
Businesses are finding that environmental initiatives are becoming legal requirements. It is our job to keep clients informed of these, but we also take our own advice, with policies to ensure maximum energy efficiency and minimum carbon output.
These range from green electricity supply, low energy and motion sensor lighting, to the recycling of paper, cardboard, batteries, light bulbs, computers and monitors and other office products, to procuring from environmentally-committed suppliers and using fair trade products and recyclable packaging in the firm's in-house café.
Our sustainability policy incorporates targets for reducing business travel and provides alternative options for staff commuting to work, with car-sharing and cycling incentives (including free bacon butties for our cyclists on cycle-to-work days!).
Charity of the Year
Every year, we receive hundreds of nominations from organisations to become our Charity of the Year. We shortlist the applicants, and our people vote for the charity that they would like to support. Each office supports a local charity.
If you are interested in becoming our Charity of the Year in Exeter, please contact Hilary Eckleswood. For CSR related queries in Bristol, please contact Erica Williams, and for London, please contact Nirav Patel.
We also support smaller local charities on an ad hoc basis, and at our quarterly Business Breakfasts, invite the speaker to nominate their preferred charity, who are given a platform to promote their cause, and the proceeds from the registration fees.
Pro bono work
In the current climate of legal aid cuts, now more so than ever, we recognise the need to make our expertise accessible to those who might otherwise struggle to obtain quality legal advice.
We encourage our staff to provide their services on a pro bono basis in appropriate circumstances, assisting individuals, volunteer-led associations and charities with a wide range of legal issues. A number of our employees are trustees of charities and governors of schools.
As well as providing legal advice on specific matters, our pro bono activities include:
- a weekly free legal surgery at our Sidmouth office
- employment advice at the Citizens Advice Bureau, on a monthly basis
Our Pro Bono Committee, headed by Tony Cockayne, closely reviews the ongoing pro bono work within the firm and frequently considers new initiatives which may develop and enhance our pro bono offering.
In 2015 we were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for our continued pro-bono support of Devon-based charity The C Group.