solicitously mindful: careful about one’s behaviour.
At Philip Lee, we believe that our Corporate Social Responsibility programme gives us an opportunity to adopt a more careful, attentive approach to our staff and to the wider community where we work.
It also allows us to focus on our approach to the evolving nature of social and global challenges such as climate change and migration.
Our CSR programme centres on our community and our environment.
We have always been an outward looking firm. Perhaps it comes from our origins as European law specialists. One of the first commitments we made to assist other communities was our support for the trade charity Connect Ethiopia, set up by one of the firm’s partners. For some associates who organised Rule of Law seminars in Addis Ababa, it was a unique learning experience.
Pro bono work
Closer to home we use our legal skills and offer our time and expertise to helping those suffering disadvantage as well as to charities and non-profit organisations. We have a busy and energetic Pro Bono Committee and are early signatories to the new Pro Bono Pledge launched by PILA, the Public Interest Law Alliance. We provide ongoing legal assistance to PILA which is an initiative of the Free Legal Aid Centre.
We have teamed up with the National College of Ireland (NCI) in the Dublin Docklands to support their Early Learning Initiative. This community-based programme addresses differences in language and maths development that research now shows, can be apparent at three years of age.
Our volunteer teams have helped nearby national schools with literacy and numeracy programmes and given career advice on secondary school student projects in addition to judging their impressive projects.
Our staff enthusiastically support a wide variety of volunteering and fundraising activities.
One rather unusual but very popular initiative is Techies4TempleStreet where Philip Lee is a Gold Partner. Our competitive teams join over 1,600 members of the Irish tech and business communities and take to the streets of Dublin for a unique treasure trail, combining outdoor activities with digital media challenges. It is all in the very good cause of helping the lives of sick children across Ireland.
There is always lots of interest within the firm around participating in the annual Calcutta Run in association with the Law Society of Ireland in aid of charities The Hope Foundation and the Peter McVerry Trust.
We have also regularly sponsored and taken part in Run in the Dark. This unique night-time run supports the Mark Pollock Trust’s mission to cure paralysis in our lifetime.
In light of COVID-19, Philip Lee staff and partners voted to concentrate their 2020 fundraising efforts on supporting the very worthwhile charities of Pieta House and Women’s Aid.
The firm has always placed a high priority on sustainability and living and working as lightly as possible.
We recently examined our waste journey. With great engagement by staff and management we were able to greatly reduce and reuse our waste, by getting rid of all desk bins and installing super segregated bins. By asking our landlord to add a Brown Bin option, we not only segregated our own food waste but also gave that option to other tenants of our shared building too.
We drew up a No Single Use Plastic Pledge in 2019 and are making great efforts to employ this across our own eating-in habits as well as for events. Keep Cups are part of our welcome pack to new recruits!
We were delighted to welcome Cool Planet ambassadors to the firm to talk to us about positive ways to change behaviour and reduce our negative impacts.
This year we want to broaden our environmental strategy by focussing on targets and on measuring our Carbon Footprint as a firm.
To widen our message, we have recently set up a green committee and we are receiving enthusiastic feedback across different departments.
For example, as we work on reducing our paper use in printing, our IT department now offers a way of gauging how much paper we use in terms of trees. That helps bring the ‘reduce’ message home more effectively. A new system to recycle our used printer cartridges has also been embraced by our Utilities Manager. Making a remanufactured cartridge uses on average 4Kg of CO2 emissions less than making a new cartridge.
We are examining better ways to re-use and recycle, better ways to become more resource efficient and to lower our carbon footprint. There is great enthusiasm for the journey ahead.