In September 2018, Herbert Smith Freehills launched its second ‘ELEVATE’ RAP. We are the first and only law firm to date to receive “Elevate” endorsement for its RAP.
Our signature commitment is to provide an unprecedented level of pro bono legal services to Indigenous clients. Our RAP formalises a commitment to provide up to $5 million of pro bono legal advice to Indigenous clients over three years.
In that time we also commit to:
- taking a lead facilitation role in the development of an educational eco-system to nurture a pipeline of talent to significantly increase employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the legal and corporate sectors;
- providing access to justice through pro bono legal advice and representation, in particular for the most vulnerable young people at risk of incarceration; and
- advocating actively for justice reinvestment and constitutional reform.
Our vision for reconciliation is to increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the legal profession and to help reduce their over-representation in the criminal justice system.
We seek to create a safe space where the aspirations of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients can be expressed and supported. We want to empower our clients to navigate their own pathways towards a better future.
Our guiding principles to ensure cultural legitimacy in all of our RAP relationships are to:
- listen carefully to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices before we speak or act;
- speak out in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led solutions and empowerment; and
- always act in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, organisations and communities.
Since launching our first RAP in 2011, we have developed internal protocols around acknowledgment of country, cultural competency training and supplier diversity. We have also provided:
- Funding for Indigenous education and employment programs as well as tutoring, mentoring and business skills training for Indigenous High School students; and
- Opportunities for CareerTrackers interns across all of our Australian offices. In fact, Herbert Smith Freehills won CareerTracker's highest accolade for businesses advancing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As Australia’s leading commercial law firm, we are committed to making a significant contribution to the community. Our RAP work is central to this. We aim to make a difference by partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our community and using the skills and commitment of our people. Key areas we are focused on include access to justice, thought leadership and career opportunities. We look forward to continuing this work into the future.