Our Approach to Corporate Responsibility
At Teacher Stern we take our role in the community seriously. We are committed to being a responsible business and to ensuring that we operate in a socially conscious and an environmentally sustainable manner. As such, corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) is at the forefront of our thinking and our everyday working practices.
Our CSR team is comprised of people from all aspects of the firm creating an enthusiastic and imaginative team of people that are passionate about making a difference in the community. The team meets regularly to share ideas, plan events and provide feedback on how we as a firm are performing.
Our CSR team focuses on the following core values:
- Having a positive impact on our local community
- Being environmentally sustainable
- Promoting diversity
This year we are supporting two brilliant local charities to help increase our impact in our local community. The firm undertook extensive research into local community charities and narrowed down its selection to a handful of potential options. To encourage participation from all sectors of our firm, and ensure maximum support for our chosen charities, we then put these options to a firm wide vote. Having done so, we are delighted with the two chosen charities:
The charity helps people living in sheltered accommodation by providing goods, support and services for families and children to make their lives more comfortable whilst they await a permanent housing solution. Many have fled violence or experienced trauma and are now living in very little space with very little privacy. This is an amazing charity and proof that a little can go a long way. For more information please visit http://www.doorsteplondon.org
The Sick Children’s Trust
The charity provides free ‘Home from Home’ support and accommodation to families with sick children who are in hospital, and sometimes very far from home. They provide a free service for up to 146 families every night, keeping families together to alleviate some of the emotional and financial strains. For more information please visit http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org
Throughout the year we have held a number of events raising money for the charities and we have much more to come. Come back soon to discover what new exciting events we are participating in to raise money for these two great causes.
As well as supporting our local charities our CSR team organises a number of fundraising events throughout the year to support national causes.
Every year members of the firm take part in the London Legal Walk, a 10k event that raises funds to support free legal advice charities in London and the South East.
The sponsorship money raised by each walker goes towards helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society gain access to justice.
We held a portrait competition in March 2015 in aid of Comic Relief’s ‘Make your face funny for money’ campaign whereby members of the firm got their children to draw a portrait of them, and all members of the firm were then invited to vote for the funniest portrait.
We raised a great amount of money for this tremendous cause.
Empire Faith War Exhibition
Teacher Stern was also a proud sponsor of the Empire Faith War Exhibition hosted by SOAS in July – September 2014. Navinder Grover, a partner in our dispute resolution team, is Co-Chair and a Trustee of the Punjab Heritage Association which helped create this incredibly moving and informative event.
Other events have been held to support World Cancer Day, MacMillan Coffee Mornings, Great Ormond St Hospital and Medicines Sans Frontiers.
Many members of our firm also volunteer their time in a number of different ways – from Santa runs to marathons, triathlons, cake bakes and hikes. Others provide career advice to those seeking to establish a legal career, and speak in a number of schools, law schools and universities.
Members of our employment team provide pro bono legal advice to Great Ormond Street.
We are proud participants and supporters of the Career Academy’s ‘Career Ready’ programme. The ‘Career Ready’ programme offers mentoring and paid work experience to 16-19 year old students giving them access to the workplace and helping them to develop the skills they will need to succeed. It gives the students valuable insight into the way our business works and gives them the opportunity to engage with us in a professional environment to increase their chances of securing a good job or place at university. We have taken part in this programme for a number of years now and have found it to be thoroughly rewarding.
Our environmental strategy recognises the impact our business has on the environment and we are committed to encouraging our staff and, wherever possible, our clients to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment. We recognise that, collectively, we can make a difference.
The key practices we adopt in implementing our strategy include:
- minimising waste by evaluating our day-to-day operations to ensure they are as efficient and environmentally friendly as practicable;
- maintaining ‘paperless’ files where suitable to do so;
- recycling waste paper, glass and cardboard;
- sourcing and promoting product ranges that have a reduced environmental impact from both production and distribution; and
- meeting and endeavouring to exceed applicable environmental legislation.
Teacher Stern is committed to promoting diversity both through our activities at work, and in the community in which we are based. We have a robust diversity policy and all staff members undertake training to ensure that our principles are understood and endorsed.
In order to maintain and ensure our firm’s diversity we:
- recruit from the widest possible talent pool;
- employ training and career progression practices that foster a consistent diversity mix throughout our firm;
- communicate and practice, internally and externally, the principles of the diversity policy that we have developed;
- monitor diversity levels and published diversity statistics; and
- proactively engage with diversity organisations to help improve diversity in the workplace.
We have an ongoing commitment to identify barriers to widening diversity within our firm and constantly reflect on how a more diverse workforce will benefit our firm and its clients.