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
Since early 2019 we have supported ReachOut, an amazing mentoring charity working with young people in disadvantaged communities to raise aspirations and help them grow in character and attainment.
ReachOut strives to improve self-confidence and develop Numeracy, Literacy and Communication skills whilst reinforcing our core values of Fairness, Self-Control, Good Judgement and Staying Power.
They do this through one-to-one mentoring with positive role models and team activities, to promote leadership, trust and responsibility.
ReachOut partners with schools in disadvantaged communities to support young people aged 9 to 16 referred to them for one of the following reasons: low academic attainment, low confidence, behaviour issues, or because their teachers believe they would benefit from the support of a role model.
In 2018 we supported a brilliant local charity 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 charity, we then put these options to a firm wide vote. Having done so, we were delighted with the chosen charity:
Grief Encounter supports bereaved children and their families to help alleviate the pain caused by the death of someone close. They provide free services, without any government funding, and rely solely on donations to keep supporting bereaved children. Grief is not an easy subject to talk about or deal with internally. There are no rules on how you are supposed to behave or get through a difficult time. Grief Encounter support over 400 bereaved children, young people, and their families each week, providing access to resources that can help communication and coping with loss. 1 in 29 children in the UK under the age of 16 suffer the death of a parent. Grief Encounter helps families address a multitude of challenging issues following the death of a loved one.
Staffed by trained professionals, the Grief Encounter Helpline supports over 3000 people a year. They offer a flexible and accessible service which aims to professionally care and respond to bereaved children, young people, and their families. Grief Encounter also provides counselling services, group activities, family fun days, residential camps and interactive online services, as well as support and advice for professionals, schools and counsellors.
This is an amazing charity and we want to help to make a difference. For more information please visit https://www.griefencounter.org.uk/
As well as supporting our local charities our CSR team organises a number of fundraising events throughout the year to support national causes.
London to Paris Office Triathlon
In November 2019 we undertook a 48 hour office triathlon raising our biggest amount to date for our chosen charity, ReachOut.
We kitted out a large meeting room with treadmills, bikes and rowers and everyone from across the firm got involved to do their bit.. be it a 10 minute walk between meetings or an overnight marathon!
The fundraiser was a huge success, not only for the money raised but for the inclusive nature of the activity and the team bonding.
London Legal Walk
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.
Amy Bennett in our Immigration team currently volunteers as a Legal Advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau, Richmond.
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.