Corporate responsibility is an important part of HFW's culture and ethos, and we are committed to expanding the work we do in this area.
- All Trainees play an active role in pro bono work and we run a number of local volunteering projects.
- On a global basis, we support a number of charities. Individual offices also take part in a range of fundraising activities for charities working within their local communities.
- We are committed to reducing our environmental impact particularly through the use of technology such as video conferencing and we have recently installed LED lights in our London office.
- Building mutually advantageous relationships based on trust between us and our clients is at the core of HFW’s business. In order to understand what concerns clients most, we regularly review and appraise our performance through client feedback.
- Anti-bribery, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering policies are in place, and all employees undertake training in these areas.
- We want to work with suppliers who also believe Corporate Responsibility is important. We ask suppliers about their social and environmental commitments during the procurement process.
- Our Management Board has signed our Global Diversity Statement to demonstrate their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. We also have Diversity and Inclusion Champions (at Partner level) in each of our offices.
- We are signatories of the Law Society’s Diversity & Inclusion Charter.
- We have identified five diversity focus areas (gender, ethnicity, mental wellbeing, LGBT and social mobility) and are undertaking actions to address each one in collaboration with our employee networks.
- We are a member of Aspiring Solicitors which is committed to increasing diversity in the legal profession.
- We supported the Mary on the Green Campaign in recognition of International Women's Day 2016. The campaign celebrates the life and work of Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, the first book in English arguing for the equality of women and men.
- We are signatories of PRIME, the legal profession's commitment to work experience for school-age students from disadvantaged backgrounds and signatories of City Solicitors Horizons, a pilot social mobility initiative to improve access to the legal profession for university students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- We are the principal sponsor of the Law Society's 2016 Black History Month activities.
- We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion and feature in the Stonewall Starting Out Guide. Representatives from our Proud@HFW employee network attended the 2016 London Pride Parade. The network also ran a campaign to raise awareness of Pride in the lead up to the parade.
- We have committed to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing and to train a number of staff to be mental health first aiders.
- We are an accredited ‘Living Wage Employer’ and ensure that all London employees, including those not necessarily employed directly by the firm, are paid at least the London Living Wage.
Conor Cahill - Associate, London
During my training contract I regularly volunteered at a legal advice centre in Morden Legal Advice Centre once every five weeks. The centre is a 'drop in' clinic at which members of the public can get free legal advice.
At each session, HFW provides a team of three Trainees, along with a qualified solicitor (the group leader). Each volunteer is given two members of the public to advise. Prior to the session we only receive very basic details of their problem.
The first task for the adviser is to get as much information from the client as possible, so it is important to know the right questions to ask! As a Trainee, the sessions require you to think on your feet as the clients will often ask you questions that cover areas of law of which you have no experience.
Following the session we draft a letter of advice to the client. This requires you to think practically as you have to weigh up the options available from a legal perspective with what your client can actually afford. Over the last year, I have advised clients on matters such as unfair dismissal, discrimination in the work place and eviction from rented property. Advising at Morden is extremely rewarding. It's a steep learning curve, but the clients are usually very grateful and the advice you give has the potential to make a huge difference to their lives.