We take our responsibilities for our people and the communities in which we live and work seriously.
Social mobility and education
Social mobility is a key element of how we operate as a responsible business. We’re committed to widening access to the legal profession and are actively taking measures to attract, recruit and retain candidates from a range of backgrounds. Social mobility is also at the heart of our CSR programme: we engage with local schools to offer work experience placements to students and to provide volunteers for education initiatives.
Recent initiatives we have participated in include:
Mentoring Scheme with Ark Globe Academy
In autumn 2020 we launched a new mentoring programme for year 12 students at Ark Globe Academy, our partner school based in Southwark. The scheme will focus on helping young people build confidence and develop employability skills. Mentors and mentees meet virtually every three weeks over a course of ten sessions to discuss a range of topics to help prepare the mentee for their next steps into work of university.
PRIME work experience
As part of our PRIME commitment, we offer work experience placements for students from less privileged backgrounds who might otherwise not have the opportunity to access careers in the legal world. Since our commitment began, we have provided between four and six students with work experience every year.
XLP mentoring scheme
Several of our people are currently signed up as mentors on a scheme run by XLP, one of our charity partners. Mentors and mentees meet on a weekly basis over 12 months so that the mentor can help the young person they are paired with to build confidence and make positive choices.
Virtual careers days
Volunteers can participate in virtual careers workshops for schools and colleges across the UK. The aim of these events is to inform students about different career paths available to them and help them find out more about what it’s like to be a lawyer.
St Alban’s Primary School reading scheme
Lewis Silkin volunteers travel to St Alban’s Primary School in Holborn each week to read with the children there for thirty minutes over lunchtime. Each volunteer is assigned a child to read with for the term, allowing them to get to know the child they are reading with and monitor their progress.
Pilgrim’s Way and Bellenden Primary Schools reading scheme
Once a fortnight, we host a group of six children from Pilgrims’ Way Primary School in our London office. Each child is paired up with a Lewis Silkin volunteer to read together for around 40 minutes. Because the group of children changes each term, we can support 18 children over the course of the year.
Aspire CSR day
Our Oxford team spent a day supporting Aspire, a local social enterprise supporting people facing homelessness, poverty and disadvantage and helping them into employment. The morning consisted of legal training to help them set up a recruitment agency to support vulnerable members of the community into work locally. In the afternoon we helped them with one of their work experience projects where they teach their clients how to work in and run a shop, which is open to members of the public.
We aim to reduce inequalities through our social mobility programmes, so that young people from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and access the full spectrum of job and education opportunities.
Charity and fundraising
We focus our fundraising efforts on supporting our firm charity partner. Our charity partners are selected every three years by employee ballot – everyone across the firm is invited to nominate charities close to their hearts, and the shortlist is then put to the broader firm for a vote.
Our current firm charity partner is Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, dedicated to making life-changing breakthroughs in diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure. We began our partnership in April 2017, and in March 2020 our people voted to extend the partnership for another three years so that we can continue to support the charity in its ground-breaking work. We’ve raised over £60,000 for them during the partnership so far.
In 2020 we’re celebrating 70 years since the firm was established. To mark this milestone year, we’ve signed up to a year-long charity partnership with XLP, a social mobility charity working across London to support and improve outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In addition to fundraising for our charities, we support with pro bono legal advice and professional volunteering.
Some of our recent fundraising highlights include:
‘Steptember’ – September 2020
For a week in September we challenged our people to ‘step up and step out’ in our Steptember fundraiser. This virtual twist on a sponsored walk enabled each person to support our firm charity partners and to get a daily wellbeing boost by keeping active and getting outside. Over 140 people took part, each aiming to walk 70,000 steps or take on their own daily challenge. Between them they walked over 10 million steps and we donated over £4,400 to out firm charity partners, Alzheimer’s Research UK and XLP.
Walk the Line – September 2019
On Saturday 21 September 2019 we joined together to cover the 52-mile distance of the Central Line by foot. Around 40 walkers and their families set off from either end of the line: Epping in the east and West Ruislip in the west. After up to ten gruelling hours, we met up again at our London office. Colleagues joined us along the way in varied terrain from rural fields to the bustling streets at Oxford Circus. We raised over £18,000 with this event.
We fundraise to support Alzheimer’s Research UK as they work towards finding treatments and a cure for dementia. Many of our fundraising activities, particularly this year, have also had a focus on improving employee wellbeing by bringing people together or incorporating physical activity into the challenge.
We support XLP in their mission to improve outcomes for young people.