Community

We see it as our responsibility to use our skills and resources to help others in the community.

Our people contribute their time and expertise to work on pro bono matters and other community initiatives, with a particular focus on alleviating disadvantage, advancing reconciliation, improving access to justice and promoting sustainability.

Our history of leadership in pro bono and community work has seen us lead the way on constitutional recognition, carbon neutrality, refugee rights and marriage equality.

We were the first Australian organisation to sign the United Nations Global Compact in 2001. Our most recent Communication on Progress details the ways we have continued to develop, implement and promote activities within our business to uphold the Compact's 10 principles. Visit our human rights and responsible business page to learn more.

Our community strategy focuses on using our skills and resources to benefit the community across a range of pillars, including pro bono, reconciliation, the environment, philanthropy and responsible sourcing. 

Pro bono

We work with disadvantaged individuals and for NGOs, to promote access to justice and protect human rights. This includes partnering with Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal Legal Services across the country, to assist people facing homelessness, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. We also fund the only ongoing graduate position in the community legal sector in Victoria.

Making a difference

  • We contributed more than 31,800 hours of pro bono legal work in the financial year ended June 2021, more than half of this time was on human rights-related matters.
  • Our target is at least 50 hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer each year.

Reconciliation

As part of building lasting, respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, we are working on actions outlined in our fifth Reconciliation Action Plan.

As well as establishing employment opportunities in the firm, we support the creation of opportunities in the community, and quality education programs for First Nations students. We also build connections with community through staff secondments with Jawun and the Empowered Communities Project.

Making a difference

  • Our target is that more than 15% of our pro bono legal work be for First Nations organisations.
  • Following the launch of our Indigenous Legal Internship Program in 2006, 130 students have now completed the program.
  • Staff in each of our offices participate in mentoring programs for First Nations students.
  • We've invested more than 270 weeks of skilled support to First Nations organisations through our partnerships with Jawun and Empowered Communities.

Environment

We strive for leadership on environmental sustainability in our sector. We're committed to taking action to reduce the material impacts of our operations and to identifying opportunities to drive positive environmental change. 

We are proud to maintain Climate Active carbon neutral certification for our Australian offices. This confirms that our carbon neutral claim is based on best practice standards and represents genuine emissions reduction. For more information about our carbon neutral certification and other environmental commitments, please take a look at our Climate Active Public Disclosure Statement.

We also maintain an Environmental Management System in our Australian offices, to ensure we take a systematic approach to identifying and mitigating our material environmental impacts.

Making a difference

  • We take action to reduce our carbon emissions, and invest in climate action projects that reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere.
  • We purchase 100% GreenPower accredited energy for our tenancy electricity in Sydney and Melbourne.
  • We support Indigenous carbon farming projects in Australia. As well as providing climate benefits, these projects deliver additional social and environmental outcomes, increase employment opportunities and reinvigorate cultural traditions.

Philanthropy

We provide financial support to charitable organisations through our community grants and matched funding program. Our staff volunteer their time to help alleviate disadvantage and inequality. We also regularly organise fundraising days and events in each of our offices to support charitable causes and community partners.

Making a difference 

  • Over 391 grants provided to more than 184 organisations since 2002.
  • Staff across our offices volunteer for important causes, including mentoring young people and assisting those experiencing homelessness.

Responsible sourcing

We aim to ensure that our procurement practices are ethical, and environmentally and socially responsible. As a purchaser of products and services, we also look for opportunities within our supply chain to drive positive social and environmental change.

We have responsible sourcing processes, and take action to identify, assess and mitigate potential risks of modern slavery practices in our supply chain. Our Supplier Code of Conduct sets out the minimum standards we expect of our suppliers in relation to ethical business practices, human rights and labour practices, and environmental management.

Making a difference

  • We seek opportunities to engage social and Indigenous enterprises in our supply chain, and to make a positive impact through our procurement spend. Allens is a founding partner of Supply Nation and was the first law firm to become a business member of Social Traders.

Community Engagement Board

Our community and pro bono work is overseen by our Community Engagement Board chaired by the Managing Partner and comprising representatives of our Pro Bono, Philanthropy, Reconciliation Action Plan and Sustainability Committees.

To learn more about our community programs, contact our Director of Community Engagement Nicky Friedman.