CSR Programs for Law Firms

by | Aug 8, 2008

Many law firms are embracing corporate social responsibility programs as a way to gain a competitive edge over other firms, but the key to creating successful CSR programs is to establish stakeholder value across the board, writes Elizabeth Wall of Marketing the Law Firm Newsletter.

Wall says CSR programs are valuable because it retains top talent, increases profits and gives firms an intangible asset – good reputation. But in order to get CSR programs off the ground, she recommends addressing the concerns and needs of each group.

Here are some of Wall’s suggestions based on the needs of different groups:

– Invest in technology that helps keep clients informed through the the sharing of documents and information.

– Issue white papers and host seminars to keep clients informed on issues that may arise in their respective industries.

– Implement feedback programs such as annual reviews and salary adjustments based on performance, to ensure employees’ voices are heard.

– Offer job sharing, flexible work schedules and paid time-off so employees can pursue interests outside the firm.

– Clearly lay out the firm’s expectation from suppliers and commit to what will be done in return.

– Survey the needs of communities where the firm’s offices are located and develop programs to meet that need.

– Establish pro bono programs to help organizations and individuals who cannot afford legal services.

– Support employees’ volunteering efforts and staff stepping up for leadership roles in charitable, cultural and civic organizations.

Stoel Rives is just one example of a law firm furthering its efforts to conserve energy and promote sustainable business practices with its Go Green Initiative. Chadbourne & Parke is another.

Law.com has a great roundup on green initiatives from U.S. law firms.

Twenty of the top 100 highest-grossing U.S. law firms are billing as much as $700 dollars per hour for climate change work that ranges from lobbying Congress to helping clients finance clean-energy projects

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