Our CSR programme centres on our community and our environment.

Through our corporate social responsibility programme we align with the wider issues facing our planet and the community we live in.

It allows us to focus on our approach to the evolving nature of social and global challenges such as societal inequalities and climate change.

COMMUNITY

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 been proud to support the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) on a pro bono basis. In recent months, legal resources were urgently required in order to run their visa programme to facilitate the relocation of 500 Afghan asylum seekers to Ireland. The firm’s work on the Afghan Assistance Programme has been shortlisted for a Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Award.

Some of our other pro bono work includes:

  • Advising Ethical Farming Ireland which campaigns for improved conditions for farm animals. The organisation promotes sustainable, ethical farming methods whilst lobbying against animal cruelty.
  • Working with the Law Centre called Community Law and Mediation on presentations to their clients on everyday legal issues like Power of Attorney. We also take part in their Legal Eagles project. Our lawyers engage with secondary school students to make law more accessible and more interesting as a career choice.
  • Advising the Centre for Environmental Justice on policy issues.
  • Taking part in Pro Bono Week Ireland annually where we focus on all the pro bono work carried out within the firm and fundraise for a pro bono charity.
  • Working with UCC FlAC Society on environment and climate advice for students.
Community partnerships and volunteering

Our staff enthusiastically support a wide variety of volunteering and fundraising activities.

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.

Philip Lee is also proud to partner with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which works to provide local accommodation for families of children undergoing medical treatment at Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin. The firm is a supporter of RMHC’s Cycle the Lakes Challenge, which takes place annually at Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow. Funds raised have made an important contribution to a new 52 bedroom house at the new National Children’s Hospital.

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.

Every November a Philip Lee team of runners participate in Run in the Dark. This supports Collaborative Cure’s mission to bring people together to cure paralysis in our lifetime.

ENVIRONMENT

We are always conscious of how we can become a more environmentally sustainable, greener law firm. We are delighted to have begun working with sustainability-in-business experts, Green Zebra. Through their series of excellent workshops they are helping us to measure our carbon footprint, set strategic goals to reduce it and devise an effective sustainability strategy.

With great engagement by staff and management we have been able to greatly reduce and reuse our waste in recent years, 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 will continue to broaden our environmental strategy by focussing on targets and on measuring our carbon footprint as a firm.

Green committee

To broaden and amplify our message we have set up a green committee to promote and support sustainable practices across the firm.

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 CO2 impact. 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.

Philip Lee is the first Irish law firm to achieve accreditation as a Cycle Friendly Employer (CFE). The CFE Award is an EU-wide programme, established in 2017 by the European Cyclists’ Federation to encourage more people to cycle to work across the EU. We have embraced cycling as our main form of transport wherever possible; employees are encouraged to choose cycling over car travel for professional appointments. Earlier this year, the firm signed up for Dublin City Council’s electric cargobike pilot scheme. In addition, on-site bike mechanic services and bike demo days have been made available to employees to improve employee bike education and encourage cycling uptake. Gaining gold accreditation as a CFE underpins our commitment to our decarbonisation goals.

We are continuously 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.

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