Strategy and focus form the basis for an effective social responsibility policy. Most law firms are flooded with requests for good reasons requesting their support. A policy helps you know when to say yes to and when to say no.
In the law firm's model, where all partners are owners with a sense of right to resources, it can be very difficult to say no. A highly focused policy makes it much easier to do that and keep the company's efforts on the right track.
Encana, for example, uses a five-step tool to determine the level of match between a request and the company's strategic objectives in the natural gas field. With level five, the biggest commitment and the lowest is the lowest.
Level five efforts integrate nuclear product or service and often involve natural gas vehicles and energy efficiency initiatives with natural gas. These efforts contribute to best practices and leading trends in the industry, while improving company reputation as a leader.
Level four efforts focus on strategic partnerships and often involve sustainable and long-term solutions such as labor development initiatives, signature programs (which can be repeated in other markets) and multi-annual contributions.
Level three efforts are strategic contributions to help with projects, programs or initiatives for local non-profit benefits in line with natural gas.
Level two efforts include responsive give, which is a one-time gift for a broad community effort that has local support. Participation of representatives of companies is required.
Level one work includes t-shirt and banner category, which includes a day of things like dinners, receptions, golf tournaments, events and competitions. These offer the least impact and awareness about the money, and therefore least support.
At Brownstein, petitions to the company are assessed by two factors. The company only deals with requests from customers and requests from organizations where one of the lawyers participates at the board level.
Social responsibility: Engagement
Effective social responsibility programs involve not only the checkbook engagement but also personal and professional engagement.
At Brownstein, the brand has always been about being out in society. Six years ago, Venturi was asked to formalize this essential part of corporate culture into a social responsibility program that would further stimulate lawyers.
She started spending 15 minutes with each of the lawyers to discover her lusts - used to identify a good ideal match. After all, lawyers and staff will be involved and do their best when an organization is something they care about. If there is no commitment, the location will be the fireplace.
Finally, the Venturi law firm offers non-profit to some extent - but it must be at the board level. Otherwise, she does not match.
Project Karma is a Brownstein program dedicated to volunteer opportunities and maintains a committee in each of the companies 12 offices. It sponsors casual lunch and teaches presentations of local ideas to encourage interest.
The announcement of active involvement of lawyers and staff must come from the top. Brownstein makes it very clear that the path to partnership for a new lawyer is based not only on legal skills but also on commitment and commitment to society.
It is important to add a participation component to lawyer reviews, although it is only one goal per year. It allows lawyers to know that you are serious. The highest court in Colorado asks each lawyer to contribute 50 hours of pro bono work each year. Integrating these programs leads to winning / winning results for the company.
Not all companies can match the efforts of a large company like Encana or a large law firm like Brownstein. However, there are good matches for companies of all sizes. Again, it is a matter of focus.
It is actually much easier to get five members in a small company to focus on a strategic initiative than 500 lawyers in a large company. If a law firm has $ 10,000 to donate, the money goes a lot dad and has much more impact on an organization than donating 100 dollar donations spread across 100 organizations.
Smaller law firms can also increase their impact by collaborating with others in an industry, such as suppliers or customers, to support a certain ideal profit.
Social responsibility: Return on investment
Companies measure the results of their social responsibility programs and use these results to make decisions on progress. Law firms should do the same.
By the end of the year, Encana uses its five-level model (sketch above) to analyze our beneficial reward. How much was given on each level? Then, the company sends a form to each nonprofit, asking the recipient to evaluate the results (statistics for what was achieved), processing (efforts reached the intended audience) and the impact (what difference did it make.