Tell a room full of people at a cocktail party you’re building a socially responsible law firm and you’re likely to be met with a few jokes. Typically, “law firms” aren’t synonymous with “social responsibility,” but more and more firms are making social consciousness part of their mission. Use these tips to help your firm build a culture of social responsibility.
The Benefits of Social Responsibility
Given the global social and economic climate, more and more people are choosing to spend their money with businesses that put a priority on giving back to others and making a positive impact on the community. Law firms that have a documented social responsibility program are often seen as more desirable than firms that do not emphasize community involvement.
The favorable impact of social responsibility can be realized in many ways:
- Image: Firms that are active in socially responsible activities generate goodwill in the communities they operate in. Favorable media coverage of those activities will ensure your firm’s name is associated with organizations and events making a difference, and people will remember it when they need your services for personal or business needs.
- Corporate partnerships: Other organizations that are involved in the same groups will be more eager to partner with you in other areas.
- Recruiting and retention: Now, more than ever before, Canadians are very aware of the image of the organizations they are affiliated with. People want to work for organisations that have a good public image and are focused on more than just profits.
How to Build a Socially Responsible Law Firm
Corporate social responsibility is only effective when the initiative is authentic and when the values of your firm align with the values of the social organisations you associate with. It also means doing more than just writing a check at the end of the year.
Consider working with a group whose mission aligns with your area of expertise. If, for example, your firm focuses on family law, get involved with groups that help needy children in the community. Reach out to potential groups and ask if they have corporate volunteer days and allow employees to take off work one day to get involved in activities like building a playground.
Talk to your employees and gauge their interest and ask for suggestions. You could even form a committee of lawyers, support staff and the business office to drive the initiative. The more active the employees are in the mission, the more authentic it will be and the more participation you’ll garner from the team.