Corporations increasingly subscribe to the principle of corporate social duty. CSR is primarily based on the belief that a demonstration of concern for the atmosphere, human rights, community improvement and the welfare of their employees can make a corporation a lot more profitable. And if not more lucrative, at least a better place to function.
Law firms can find out from corporate expertise to build their personal social duty applications. Such programs can support law firms to do well by performing excellent. They can strengthen the firm’s reputation and market place position. They can help the firm identify with the culture and CSR activities of customers and prospective clients. They can assist lawyers and staff obtain more meaning in their function and enhance as human beings.
In the words of the social responsibility Karma Committee at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck: Be sort. Be generous. Be concerned. Donate time. Donate work. Donate revenue. Just find a lead to and give. You’ll swiftly uncover giving is also getting.
A panel discussion about how law firms can discover 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 May eight at Maggiano’s Little 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, Neighborhood 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 product is the people – the lawyers and assistance employees who give higher high quality legal services. It is an simple match. There are quite a few strategies that this ‘product’ can contribute time, talent and treasure to socially responsible activities.
Social responsibility: Concentrate and method
Law firm social responsibility is all about producing a difference within the community and the profession, and within a firm. Even the finest efforts will make no influence if spread also thin. You can not maximize the value of your contributions or inform your story if your efforts are too diluted. To make a decision how to most correctly invest its sources, a law firm requirements a social responsibility focus and a tactic.
Social responsibility efforts will have to be genuine. Law firms and other entities should really always stay away from ‘green-washing’ – telling a story that is aspirational, but not actually accurate. Know oneself. Let your firm’s exclusive culture and abilities identify which efforts to pursue and which to avoid.
When examining your culture, don’t limit oneself to companion input. Law firms are little communities, almost like households. Any effort to define culture and social responsibility really should represent not only the interests of lawyers, but the interests of all levels of help employees. Efforts will have to be meaningful throughout the firm. The advantages to employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction can be outstanding.
DeBoskey outlined 3 forms of community involvement and stated his belief that a very good social duty strategy consists of components of all 3.
In a classic model, an organization ‘gives back’ randomly to the neighborhood when asked – as a fantastic citizen, rather than for any strategic purposes. In a social duty model, these efforts align with the capabilities of the organization – like the legal skills of lawyers. Each and every non-profit requires legal advice.
At it is most sophisticated, a social responsibility program involves making use of your core item – legal services – as a tool for social alter. Volunteer with organizations like the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal Program at the University of Denver, or the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center.
A powerful focus tends to make it substantially a lot easier to make choices. Encana, for example, focuses its charitable giving approach on troubles surrounding its solution — all-natural gas. Brownstein will donate revenue only if the request comes from a client, or if a single of their attorneys is a member of the organization and on the board.
Law firms hunting for further advice can discover valuable sources inside the Corporate Community Investment Network. CCIN is an association for specialists whose main duty is to manage neighborhood investment programs in a for-profit company setting.
A lot of corporations and a handful of law firms have essentially produced separate foundations to mange some of their providing. A foundation comes with far more restrictions and unique tax approaches. As entities with a life of their own, even so, foundations are more probably than a single-off efforts to continue a useful existence.
Social responsibility: Great policies make fantastic decisions
Method and focus offer the foundation for an productive social duty policy. Most law firms are inundated with requests from fantastic causes asking for their support. A policy helps you 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 really hard to say no. A keenly focused policy tends to make it substantially much easier to do so and hold the firm’s efforts on track.
Encana, for example, makes use of a five-step tool to determine the level of fit in between a request and the company’s strategic targets in the field of natural gas – with level five becoming the biggest commitment and level a single the lowest.
Level 5 efforts integrate core item or service and typically involve organic gas automobiles and energy efficiency initiatives working with all-natural gas. These efforts contribute to ideal practices and major trends in the industry, whilst enhancing the company’s reputation as a leader.
land use attorneys concentrate on strategic partnerships and usually involve sustainable and lengthy-term solutions like workforce improvement initiatives, signature applications (which can be repeated in other markets) and multi-year grants.
Level 3 efforts contain strategic grants to help with projects, applications or initiatives produced to local non-income aligned with organic gas.