For a law firm, pro bono is at the heart of any program of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As lawyers, we do pro bono in order to make legal advice and the legal system more accessible to all. Beyond pro bono, lawyers and staff members volunteer their time on scores of community service initiatives involving no legal assistance at all. The firm's CSR program includes initiatives in the areas of Pro Bono, Community, Diversity & Inclusion, Environment, Supply Chain and Ethics & Risk Management. At Reed Smith, we believe CSR is about who we are and who we want to be. It is about how we conduct ourselves with and towards others and with the worlds in which we live.
As an international firm, we see our communities as including those areas of the developing world where the need for legal assistance is also great. Reed Smith's contributions to pro bono and corporate social responsibility bring the members of our firm closer together, and deepen our understanding of the communities in which we live.
Reed Smith is a proud charter signatory to the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, devoting more than three percent of our billable time to pro bono work. We are also a founding member of Advocates for International Development and a signatory to the United Kingdom Joint Protocol for Pro Bono Work.
In 2012, 68 percent of lawyers in our U.S., European and Middle Eastern offices did pro bono work valued--if expressed at normal billable rates--at more than $25 million. The Firm performed more than 60,000 pro bono hours in 2012. We are proud that our pro bono efforts have received prominent recognition and awards.
The community program at Reed Smith is an essential part of the firm's core values and culture. We aim to fill the most pressing needs in our local communities and to make longstanding partnerships with community groups in order to develop key projects which harness the skills, resources and passions of our staff and lawyers.
Community highlights in the U.S. include:
- We deliver hot Holiday meals to those suffering from AIDS.
- We conduct clothing and gift drives for homeless and lower income people.
- We buy and deliver Holiday toys to needy children in foster care.
- We volunteer at events that entertain the homeless.
- We prepare meals for homeless children.
- We collect cell phones for battered women, and almost-new and never-used toys for children with no toys.
- We repair houses of elderly and disabled people.
- We serve as mentors to high school students in at-risk communities.
- We received the "Platinum Award" for our contribution to the United Way.
- We fund and participate in numerous Walks, Runs, and Rides that benefit charitable causes.
Community highlights in Europe and the Middle East (EME) include:
- We provide space and resources for charities to meet, train and raise funds, as well as housing Advocates for International Development (A4ID) and PiggyBankKids.
- Together with RBS, we run a chess partners scheme at a local school.
- We co-fund the Fairbridge/Youth Ambassador Programme which provides young people with compelling opportunities for work experience, training and development, and run sessions on presentation skills and confidence.
- We run a weekly clinic where female personnel volunteer for half day sessions at U-Turn, a charity that works with vulnerable and hard to reach women of all ages who have beentrapped in cycles of prostitution, drug addiction, physical abuse and homelessness.
- We are running the “London 2012 Legacy Programme” which aims to inspire people to take up sport as well as encouraging investment within the Olympic Boroughs.
- Our Paris office supports Enfance et Partage (Childhood and Sharing) by sending lawyers and administrators twice a month to the charity to assist them with their work.
- Our UAE offices supported Arab Women Empowerment through a series of education and business lectures. They also fundraise for Iraqi Widows Empowerment and for the Dubai Cares Girls Education Program.
Reed Smith is committed to minimising our harm to the environment and we expect each individual and office to assist. We teach staff that “being green” is not restrictive – quite the opposite - it frees up more time, energy and resources for other things. We believe that what is good for the environment is good for us too, as individuals, as a community and as a business. Across the firm, we are encouraging and enabling changes to become second nature.
To learn more about the CSR programme in EMEA, please see our EMEA CSR Report.
Reed Smith is proud of the contributions lawyers and staff make in the areas of pro bono legal work and community service. Leading Reed Smith in this effort is our Director of Pro Bono and Community Service and our fulltime Senior Pro Bono Counsel, as well as fulltime Pro Bono Counsel. In the United Kingdom, our leaders include our Pro Bono Partner, Europe and Middle East and our Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA).