Giving back to the communities where we live and work is a priority at Norton Rose Fulbright. We encourage our people to take an active role in society, using their skills to help disadvantaged or vulnerable people in our local communities.
We have a highly-skilled workforce, able and willing to contribute both legal and non-legal skills to many worthy causes.
Participation in volunteer initiatives is open to all our people and many offices offer leave for colleagues to spend on approved projects.
We focus our community efforts on education, sports, disabilities and illnesses, volunteering at local schools, mentoring students, working in local hospitals and donating food, clothing and toys, as well as practical assistance to community charities and organizations worldwide.
Some of our initiatives include:
Helping women to find jobs and confidence
In London, we work with Smart Works to provide interview clothing and advice to women who are struggling to start their careers or to get back into work after a prolonged break. Each month our volunteer interview coaches meet Smart Works clients before a job interview, to help them gain the confidence and practice in order to succeed on the day. Focussing on the specific needs of each individual, we work with Smart Works to help the client navigate the interview process, prepare for the questions she may need to answer and understand what the employer may be looking for. Most importantly, we help the client to recognise how her own skills match the job description, and how to apply her interests and experience to her future career.
Supporting children and young people
In Paris, we support the Secours Populaire – an association which fights poverty and exclusion in France and throughout the world. Alongside regular donations, as our annual winter volunteer initiative our Paris office takes part in a toy collection for underprivileged families, with colleagues distributing the toys collected at the Secours Populaire Christmas Fayre.
In Warsaw, we are regular visitors at the Dom Dziecka Soplicowo orphanage and colleagues make visits to see the children throughout the year to spend time playing and chatting with them, particularly at Christmas when we bring gifts for the young ones. Many of us are now well-known faces amongst the children.
In Brussels, we have a similar relationship with the Queen Fabiola Children's Hospital. Each year we give toys to the children as a Christmas gift, and we also take part in collections of food to be donated to the Hospital.
In London, a significant portion of our volunteering efforts in London are focused on raising education, literacy and employability for local young people and their families. As signatories of the National Literacy Trust, we work with local schools to provide assistance with reading and languages, as well as mathematics and sports. We also work with various community organizations to host skills-building workshops in our London office for at-risk and disadvantaged young people, aiming to boost their confidence, build their aspirations and help them progress in their careers.
Economic and social change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
In 2014 we entered into a partnership with Jawun, a not-for-profit organisation which supports innovative programs focussed on delivering economic and social change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In 2016, three of our employees participated in Jawun secondments to the Redfern and La Perouse communities.
We also have a three-year cadet program offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students, which aims to give an early introduction to working in a law firm.
Empowering young people
We have partnered with the Australian and Business Community Network (ABCN) for four years, providing staff with the opportunity to take part in structured volunteering programs during office hours. Each of our offices in Australia has around 30 to 40 volunteers participating in reading and mentoring programs with both primary and high school students, as well as career choice and interview skills programs with high school students.
200 hours given to Calgary Food Bank
In January 2016, our Canadian offices organised a regional campaign to support long-time pro-bono client, the Calgary Food Bank. As well as making a donation to the Calgary Food Bank, all colleagues were encouraged to participate in some way, by donating food, money or time to volunteer. In addition to donating food, 23 volunteers spent over 200 hours performing various tasks, from assembling food crates to collecting contributions, to help over 260 individuals and families that visit the Calgary Food Bank every day.
Three days for United Way
Our Canadian practice is a long-standing supporter of United Way, which links volunteers, businesses and local charities to help people in their own communities. In 2016, our colleagues in Quebec took part in volunteering days for three organizations supported by United Way. Ten of our colleagues met the children at the Pignon Bleu - an organization that helps children from disadvantaged families by offering lunch and stimulating activities that they would not otherwise be able to participate in. We spent a day with the children helping them with arts and crafts workshops. Two teams of seven people also went to Café Rencontre Centre Ville to help with lunch service. Café Rencontre Centre Ville is an organisation which offer meals to the poor and the homeless in the area. They also provide tools and listening services to help people reintegrate society. Finally, five people spent a morning helping people at La Baratte - an employment reintegration program which helps out-of-work people to become kitchen staff.
Tokyo supports Fukushima victims
In 2011, a major earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Japan causing the Fukushima nuclear disaster - the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Those that survived were evacuated and placed in temporary housing.To this day, families continue to experience great hardship. Children are discouraged from playing outside as the long term effects of radiation exposure are still unknown, and many local residents are still living in temporary housing.
In October 2016, a team from our Tokyo office travelled to Fukushima together with the NGO group Little Olive Child Foundation, a charity which supports victims of the earthquake.
For those people still living in temporary housing more than five years after the incident, we delivered food supplies to help them continue with their lives as normally and healthily as possible. As children cannot spend time outside, we delivered equipment to the indoor Funehiki Child Centre and helped the local children set up and play with items we had brought, including floor mats, a mini library and soft toys.
The support we have given to the community is a step towards helping them to rebuild.