Corporations increasingly subscribe to the principle of corporate social responsibility. CSR is based on the belief that a demonstration of concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of their staff can make a corporation additional lucrative. And if not more profitable, at least a much better location to operate.
Law firms can learn from corporate knowledge to develop their own social responsibility programs. Such applications can enable law firms to do nicely by performing fantastic. They can strengthen the firm’s reputation and market position. They can assistance the firm determine with the culture and CSR activities of consumers and potential clients. They can enable lawyers and staff locate a lot more which means in their operate and strengthen as human beings.
In the words of the social duty Karma Committee at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck: Be kind. Be generous. Be concerned. Donate time. Donate work. Donate money. Just find a cause and give. You are going to swiftly discover providing is also getting.
A panel discussion about how law firms can find out about CSR and introduce some of its components into their personal models was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. The program was held Could eight at Maggiano’s Small Italy in downtown Denver.
Panelists incorporated Sarah Hogan, vice president of Barefoot PR Bruce DeBoskey, lawyer and founder of The DeBoskey Group, which focuses on philanthropic advising Joyce Witte, Community Investment Advisor and director of the Encana Cares Foundation, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) and Amy Venturi, director of community relations & karma at Brownstein. Moderator was Cori Plotkin, president of Barefoot PR.
At law firms, the item is the individuals – the lawyers and support employees who present high top quality legal solutions. It is an simple fit. There are lots of techniques that this ‘product’ can contribute time, talent and treasure to socially accountable activities.
Social responsibility: Concentrate and strategy
Law firm social responsibility is all about producing a difference inside the community and the profession, and within a firm. Even the most effective efforts will make no impact if spread as well thin. You can’t maximize the value of your contributions or inform your story if your efforts are too diluted. To make a decision how to most efficiently invest its resources, a law firm needs a social responsibility focus and a technique.
Social responsibility efforts will have to be authentic. Law firms and other entities really should often keep away from ‘green-washing’ – telling a story that is aspirational, but not really accurate. Know your self. Let your firm’s exceptional culture and capabilities identify which efforts to pursue and which to keep away from.
When examining your culture, do not limit oneself to companion input. Law firms are compact communities, practically like households. Any work to define culture and social responsibility ought to represent not only the interests of lawyers, but the interests of all levels of help employees. Efforts should be meaningful throughout the firm. The advantages to employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction can be outstanding.
DeBoskey outlined 3 types of community involvement and stated his belief that a very good social responsibility plan includes elements of all three.
In a conventional model, an organization ‘gives back’ randomly to the community when asked – as a fantastic citizen, rather than for any strategic purposes. In a social responsibility model, these efforts align with the capabilities of the enterprise – like the legal capabilities of lawyers. Every non-profit needs legal tips.
At it’s most sophisticated, a social responsibility system involves making use of your core solution – legal services – as a tool for social alter. Volunteer with organizations like the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal Method at the University of Denver, or the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center.
A sturdy focus tends to make it substantially easier to make decisions. Encana, for instance, focuses its charitable providing tactic on difficulties surrounding its product — natural gas. Brownstein will donate money only if the request comes from a client, or if one particular of their attorneys is a member of the organization and on the board.
Law firms looking for more guidance can obtain useful sources inside the Corporate Community Investment Network. CCIN is an association for experts whose primary duty is to manage community investment programs in a for-profit company setting.
Many corporations and a few law firms have actually developed separate foundations to mange some of their providing. A foundation comes with extra restrictions and unique tax solutions. As entities with a life of their personal, nevertheless, foundations are a lot more most likely than 1-off efforts to continue a useful existence.
Social responsibility: Good policies make good choices
Method and focus provide the foundation for an efficient social duty policy. Most law firms are inundated with requests from superior causes asking for their assistance. divorce process know when to say “yes” to and when to say “no.”
In the law firm model, exactly where all partners are owners with a sense of entitlement to sources, it can be very difficult to say no. A keenly focused policy makes it considerably less complicated to do so and retain the firm’s efforts on track.
Encana, for example, makes use of a five-step tool to establish the level of match in between a request and the company’s strategic targets in the field of natural gas – with level five being the biggest commitment and level one particular the lowest.
Level five efforts integrate core item or service and normally involve all-natural gas vehicles and power efficiency initiatives making use of all-natural gas. These efforts contribute to greatest practices and leading trends in the industry, when enhancing the company’s reputation as a leader.
Level 4 efforts concentrate on strategic partnerships and normally involve sustainable and long-term solutions like workforce improvement initiatives, signature programs (which can be repeated in other markets) and multi-year grants.
Level 3 efforts include things like strategic grants to help with projects, applications or initiatives produced to regional non-income aligned with organic gas.