CSR Programme of the Year
In recognition of either a single law firm, in-house team or chambers onshore or offshore in the UK, or a wider association, this award will be given to those in the industry that have made the strongest overall contribution to corporate social responsibility. Reference can be made to a range of areas, including pro bono and community activities, environmental and workplace initiatives and responsible client selection.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Weil’s London office averaged a very strong 65 pro bono hours per lawyer last year. Integral to this, the firm’s novel use of social finance enabled the opening of the UK’s first safe house for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees, developed by Micro Rainbow International – a social enterprise operating in the UK, Brazil and Cambodia.
North East Solicitor Apprenticeships - HIGHLY COMMENDED
Creating alternative routes in to the legal profession matters, especially in deprived areas. The newly created Womble Bond Dickinson has been instrumental in NESA (North East Solicitor Apprenticeships) - a consortium of five law firms and one in-house legal team, created in autumn 2016 to provide solicitor apprenticeships in the North East.
In 2017 the firm partnered with arts charity Create in creative:engagement, an artform project that hosts workshops for vulnerable people aged over 65 with dementia or mental health needs. More than 20 Ashurst volunteers have supported the project, which is led by a professional artist every six weeks at the firm’s London office.
The firm’s partnership with Unicef, launched in 2013, protects Bangladeshi children who come into contact with the law. In 2016 this was extended to include pro bono projects in the Gambia, Mexico and Netherlands. Cumulatively, DLA employees have fundraised nearly $1.5m and provided 14,400 pro bono hours involving support from 501 lawyers across 37 jurisdictions.
The DWF Foundation was established in 2017 – one of the UK's first and only professional services-owned charitable enterprises. Funds are raised in four strands: education; employability; health and wellbeing; and homelessness. Last year, the foundation raised over £121,000 for local communities, donated more than £96,000 in grants and assisted 61 charities throughout the UK.
Weightmans promotes two days’ paid leave a year to all staff, enabling them to engage in local volunteering. In 2017, over £51,000 was raised. One nominated charity, Isaac’s House – an orphanage in Uganda – has been visited by 42 Weightmans staff, raising over £46,000 - enough to fund its running costs for three years.