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“Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to a business practice that involves participating in initiatives that benefit society.”

Whether big or small, law firms should consider devoting a portion of their time and resources to giving back and improving the lives of those around them. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to donate large sums of money or designate every Saturday a community service day.

Don’t get me wrong— If that is what you want to do, that’s fantastic! However, we know that time is a luxury for lawyers. And let’s face it, we can’t all write a blank check like many of the big-time corporations that make headlines. From running 5k races to mentoring the less fortunate, there are a variety of ways to give back.

Benefits of CSR

The main benefit is simple: do good, feel good. Everyone involved wins. Yet, there are other very important benefits that can come from your firm’s philanthropic endeavors.

You get the opportunity to connect with new people within your community that you may have never met before. From the people you are directly helping, to the organization’s members, and other volunteers, the networking potential is expansive.

Making it a firm-wide initiative provides the opportunity for you to connect with members of the firm outside of work, nurture relationships, and have fun while helping a great cause.

How Can I Start?

If you are dedicated to incorporating a long-term CSR strategy within your firm, consider the following:

  • Are there any causes that are particularly meaningful to you?
  • Do you know of any organizations which fit the bill that are nearby?
  • How much time can you devote per month?

Take to the search engines to find organizations in your area or check out handsonnetwork.org to see what pops up in or near your zip code. From there, you will either find events that you can join or you can contact an organization directly to create your own opportunity.

An example for larger firms, here’s Baker & McKenzie’s CSR effort:

Helping the communities where we operate is an integral part of our work. At Baker & McKenzie, we leverage our talent, geographic reach and resources to make a positive and lasting impact on many of today’s social and economic challenges. Through our Corporate Social Responsibility program, we inspire Firm colleagues to make a difference, and collaborate with clients who share the same commitment to social justice.

Our global Corporate Social Responsibility program is composed of three pillars:

  • Pro bono & community service, in which we advance the fundamental rights of and opportunities for persons in need.
  • Diversity & inclusion, in which we promote respect for and appreciation of different cultures and cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Sustainability, in which we reduce, reuse and recycle the energy and natural resources necessary for our business, and collaborate with clients on environmental projects.

If you can’t seem to find the time, don’t worry! You still have plenty of other options. Host a drive in your office and encourage your staff to bring in canned, non-perishable goods for a food drive, gently used garments for a clothing drive, or toys for a holiday drive. You can find a multitude of creative ways to give back.

Rocket Matter’s Corporate Social Responsibility

This year, Rocket Matter renewed its commitment to be more involved in the community and give back by donating time and resources to a variety of causes. We have committed to participating in at least one event per month this year. Our first event will be a 5k on January 17, 2016 in which proceeds from registration fees and donations will benefit the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.

What will your firm be doing within your community? We would love to hear from you! Send us news and photos of your firm’s CSR initiatives on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.