Advocatie | Improving the world also helps your office

Advocatie | Improving the world also helps your office

Advocatie | Improving the world also helps your office 1050 701 Hugill & Ip
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Many Dutch law firms support charities or do pro bono work, but the best examples come from abroad.

Recently, a Dutch law firm patted itself on the back, online, about its initiative to support an environmental organization, through a rally with classic cars.

A day with old diesel and petrol cars touring around and raising money for the environment. How do you make it up. Electric cars are also involved, they hastened to say, but this is a textbook example of carrying water to the sea. Lawyers with a little feeling for their environment can do better.

Community Service

For inspiration, I would like to share the examples of two firms I saw presenting about community service at an international lawyers’ conference. At both firms, the lawyers invest a lot of time in their social activities. The lawyers of the American firm IMW Law spend 150 hours per person on it, and the Hugill & Ip from Hong Kong even double: about three hundred hours. What are they doing during that time?


At both firms, the charities are chosen by the lawyers themselves, based on their personal preferences. The founders of Hugill & Ip, both part of the LGBTQ community, support various initiatives to strengthen the position of the LGBTQ community in Hong Kong. They also work pro bono for various NGOs, says lawyer Alfred Ip in an interview for the Asian Legal Business. The lawyers of IMW Law are particularly committed to the rights of minorities and the less fortunate in their immediate environment.

Visible as an employer

“Corporate social responsibility is in our DNA,” says Marco Raccuia, Head of Finance & Operations at the firm. “And it also contributes enormously to the success of our office,” he says honestly. It leads to new business contacts, but the media attention around these initiatives also makes them visible as a good employer. “And clients ask about your social involvement. They say they prefer to work with a law firm that does something good for society.”


The American IMW Law – California’s largest African-American owned law firm – has also focused on ‘delivering’ black judges (‘a judges factory’). With this, the firm wants to achieve a more inclusive justice, and thus fairer for the black community. This is a long-term investment that the firm provides, in addition to many activities for more diversity in legal services. Why they do that, they say on their site: “Above all, we believe in giving back to our community and forging a path for those who historically have not been represented in law.”

Complete lawyer

Office director Luci Hamilton is convinced that you become a more complete lawyer by not only dealing with your work, but also with social themes: “By investing time in charity, you come into contact with people who have the same convictions as you. That also leads to business cooperation.” She tells how they got a car brand as a customer, after that brand sponsored a large community event in which the office was also closely involved. With at least as much enthusiasm, she talks about the collaboration with many law firms to provide children from disadvantaged families with good nutrition during the summer holidays, when they cannot have lunch at school. “You are there for a cause, and a belief.”

Make it a real effort

Is that ‘cause‘ a day of touring around with polluting classics? No, right? Not everything you do has to make the world a better place, but don’t present it as contributing to a better environment. If you let your lawyers really work on corporate social responsibility, based on their own convictions, there will undoubtedly be great activities. Give them time, even during office hours. The least you get in return is that you are considered a good employer and that is already worth a lot in times of staff shortage.


The article was originally published in Dutch on Advocatie

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