With a large number of offices around the world, and many competing demands, priorities can differ greatly among communities and regions. For that reason, our community program balances our strategic global and regional initiatives with local decision-making by office-based community committees, who are best placed to respond to the priorities of the communities in which they live and work. But whether we’re supporting a charity through fundraising, or providing mentoring opportunities for disadvantaged high school students, we offer multiple ways to facilitate and support the relationships our people develop with community partners.
Our community partnerships are driven by relationships. Across the Herbert Smith Freehills network, our people have many opportunities to actively engage with community organisations that promote access to justice and social inclusion.
One of the strongest themes of our community activities is social inclusion. Through a range of sustainable mentoring, apprenticeship and internship programs, our people are helping address the biggest obstacle between marginalised people and employment: experience.
Our community program strategy balances priorities at the local, regional and global level with the need to respond to humanitarian disasters. We are proud of the diverse relationships that have developed between different offices and particular charities – for example, the Seoul office and Anna’s House, the Tokyo office and the Little Olive Child Foundation, or the Moscow office and an orphanage for blind and visually impaired children.
We provide a range of financial and in-kind support. Strategic grant-making, such as our three-year partnership with Anti-Slavery International (ASI) to assist their efforts to address slavery in Niger, can be extremely effective: in 2015 ASI won the first conviction for slavery in Niger’s history. We are also proud of our multi-level partnership with Médicins Sans Frontières, who have been at the front line of the global refugee crisis.
In the same way that we respond to any client, we listen to and respect what our NGO partners tell us about the needs of the communities they serve. They are the experts. We support them using the resources of a global law firm. Illustrating our culture of service, we are the first and only law firm to receive the highest endorsement from Reconciliation Australia for our Reconciliation Action Plan framing our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.