Beyond pro bono: National firm broadens CSR strategy

by Samantha Woodhill04 Feb 2015
Chapman Tripp has announced five new community partnerships as part of its broader corporate social responsibility strategy.
Over the next three years, the firm will support Aera Foundation, Creative HQ, First Foundation, New Zealand Opera and The Sir Peter Blake Trust, through financial contributions, pro-bono advice and staff volunteering.
The announcement coincides with the launch of Chapman Tripp’s strategy to both broaden and formalise their corporate social responsibility focus. The core areas of the firm’s CSR focus are NZ Inc, youth and education, and the arts.
Edward Scorgie, head of the corporate social responsibility team, says that law firms need to go beyond just pro bono work and focus on where they can further assist the community. 
“Pro-bono will always be the natural starting point for a law firm. But there is a lot more that we could do and a lot more that we should do,” he said.  “Like any other substantial business, we’ve got both the capacity and socially the obligation to do what we can to help.”
As part of the focus, Chapman Tripp is encouraging employees to volunteer in the community.
“Part of that is that we are offering all of our staff a day’s leave a year to work in support of a charity or community cause of their choice.  We are actively fostering opportunities with our key partners so that they get some of the benefit of that,” said Scorgie. 
“We actively encourage our folk to go and support the partners that we have chosen to build a relationship with but that’s by no means compulsory and provided someone can demonstrate they are doing a good thing, then we’ll support them in doing that for a day a year,” he said.
“If we can look back on what we have done over the next year to the next two or three years… and what we’ve done has flowed through that organisation and into the benefits that they are delivering, to the community then I think that will be the hallmark of success for us,” said Scorgie.