When Law Firms Give Back

- Richard Brock

Giving back – one of the pillars of true success. Most law firms have something to give back, both in their immediate community and on a more global level. From working pro bono, to financially supporting a cause, to giving of themselves to a project in a non-legal way, there are multiple opportunities. Fostering a spirit of giving among your legal staff connects both legal and non-legal staff, builds camaraderie, office morale, increases retention, and makes a significant impact in your community. But how do you get started? How do you choose the opportunities that best-fit your firm, as well as your community?

I   Ask for Staff Input

Many of your attorneys, as well as support staff, will already be active in charitable causes and organizations.  They can often provide valuable insight into both community needs and global opportunities. Sharing their interests is not only an excellent way to start, but it also builds connections within the firm.

II   Make a Plan

  • How much time do you want to contribute to pro bono legal services?
  • Are any of your attorneys interested in serving on a local board?
  • How much of your giving should be strictly financial support?
  • Are there opportunities within the community and beyond that involve physical participation?

III   Set Guidelines

  • Will staff participation be an option or an expectation? For example, will you require each attorney to turn in X amount of pro bono hours each year?
  • Will staff be asked to use earned vacation time for projects that require their participation during typical office hours? Or will the firm “donate” a specified number of paid hours?
  • Will staff be able to “apply” for firm sponsorship on projects they participate in as individuals?

IV   Just Do It

Still searching for ways to get involved? Here is a list of potential opportunities for giving back.

  • Pro bono services: Charitable organizations, low-income individuals, senior citizens, and not-for-profits have limited budgets for legal advice and support. This could include offering free talks, classes, and workshops. It doesn’t have to be limited to your community – many services can be provided online around the world. Publishing a legal blog that answers questions from the public or volunteering as a mediator are a couple more examples.
  • Mentoring: Consider participating in mentoring programs. There are many opportunities. For example, connecting to organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters or reaching out to law students or college student can be a great way to mentor the younger generation.
  • Financial Contributions: Choose organizations– both within the community and globally – based on staff suggestions and your bent. Pledge specific amounts of financial support at specific intervals. This is a tremendous help to organizations, helping them to predict their input and set their budgets accordingly.
  • Get Physically Involved: Is a local organization needing help with a landscaping project? Is Habitat for Humanity building homes in your area? Does one of your local schools put on an annual fundraising fair? There are multiple opportunities for your staff to join together and donate their time and muscle.

Whatever you choose, whatever you give, it will not only benefit the people you are serving but also bring personal and corporate satisfaction as well. Best wishes for your next giving adventure from Onboard Search and Staffing, where our mission is simple: Produce the best talent on the market for our clients.