We’re a law firm built on social justice values, so it’s no surprise that giving back to the community is part of our business.
Last year I was proud to introduce a revitalised social responsibility program, after we found that contributing to our community is as important to many of our staff as knowing that their company is committed to doing the same.
We were also able to find out from our staff the types of issues they’re passionate about.
Being a socially responsible law firm, we’re able to support staff who volunteer or perform pro bono work, which is just as important as our direct financial support to community groups and organisations.
A great example of what we do is our staff giving program. Regular donations collected from staff are added to a significant company donation and made available to community groups via our long established Community Fund.
Last year we distributed nearly $100,000 in grants to 15 groups from across Australia to deliver programs and initiatives which improve the quality of life of those who are experiencing disadvantage. On top of our ‘official’ grants program, there are also a large number of dedicated staff who we support in their fundraising efforts for their own particular passion or project.
Our Community Fund is not our only philanthropic vehicle. Last year we announced the establishment of the Slater and Gordon Health Projects and Research Fund which will greatly increase our capacity to support health projects and medical research. This fund will distribute over $2 million dollars over the next seven years, for projects here and in the UK. We anticipate that successful recipients will conduct research or health projects which will make a material contribution to the wellbeing of everyday Australians.
Many of our lawyers perform pro bono work to assist those for whom access to the legal system is compromised. We recently introduced a system of rewarding lawyers who perform pro bono work with fee relief and our pro bono work has increased as a result. This work assists individuals experiencing disadvantage as well as community organisations who work at the coalface to improve the lives of others.
It is also important to us that we are mindful of how we use scarce resources in an effort to reduce our impact on the environment. We are proud to have embarked on a number of reduction targets to reduce our environmental footprint and give effect to our commitment to social responsibility. This is another part of our overall social responsibility strategy.