Australia: DLA Piper: Corporate Responsibility
Last Updated: 11 April 2012


In each of our offices around the world, we make a serious commitment to public service by dedicating our time and legal experience to projects related to education, enterprise and equality. Our contribution ranges from major, multi-regional initiatives of global concern to local arrangements benefiting schools and charities in each of our communities.

In 2011, DLA Piper donated more than 193,000 hours, for a contribution of $108 million worldwide through our pro bono and corporate responsibility programmes. We believe this makes us the largest provider of pro bono legal services in the world.

Along with our commitment to helping those in need, we have also pledged a firm commitment to the global environment. In 2007, we became one of the first in the legal field to launch a global sustainability initiative aimed at reducing our environmental impact.

Another key element in our commitment to the clients and communities we serve is diversity. Around the world at DLA Piper, our people reflect the diversity of our communities and our global marketplace. We believe that our efforts to understand, value and incorporate the differences that our people bring to our business enable us to acquire the best talent, create effective teams and establish a culture that is inclusive and sensitive to the needs of all.

We are determined to achieve our vision of becoming the leading global business law firm by conducting our business in a way that is consistent with our values. By engaging with individuals, non-profit groups and nongovernmental organisations where we have something of value to offer and where our efforts can make a difference, we can enrich our own professional and personal experiences and strengthen our ties to the community, our clients and one another.

We use a strategic framework to deliver CR outcomes through Pro Bono, Community Engagement, Environmental Sustainability, Client Engagement and Workplace.

Pro Bono - As the world's leading provider of pro bono legal services, we provide access to justice and legal advice that would otherwise be unattainable for communities, charities and social entrepreneurs.

Community Engagement - Education, Equality and Enterprise focused activities help us to make a positive difference in the local communities in which we operate.

Environmental Sustainability - We inspire our people, our suppliers and our clients to reduce their environmental impacts.

Client Engagement - Our clients face many of the same issues we do and they want to work with an organisation that reflects their own CR principles and values.

Workplace - Our people are at the core of what we do and we are committed to recruiting, developing and retaining the most talented professionals.


As a large global business law firm, one of the main ways that we contribute to our community is through the provision of free legal assistance. In 2011 we undertook more than 190,000 hours of pro bono legal work, making DLA Piper the world's largest provider of pro bono legal services.

Our pro bono clients receive the same high standard of service as our commercial clients. Our pro bono practice is managed by full-time, dedicated pro bono partners, demonstrating a strong institutional commitment to this practice. Our pro bono practice is truly local, and truly global.


At a local level we operate legal clinics and give free legal advice directly to the community. We have established specialist legal clinics for people suffering from mental illness, prisoners and post release prisoners, refugees, clients experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness, people suffering financial hardship as a result of unpaid debts, women experiencing domestic violence and juveniles charged with criminal offences. We also provide free legal assistance to local charities working with disadvantaged people and we provide pro bono lawyers on secondment to local community legal advice centres.


At a global level we act for several global NGOs and UN Agencies, such as Oxfam, Care, ActionAid, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, Amnesty, WSPA, UNOPS, UN World Food Programme, UNHCR, UN Office of Humanitarian Assistance Coordination and UNICEF. We also provide pro bono lawyers on secondment to global NGOs and governments in developing countries. For example during the past four years DLA Piper has provided four full-time pro bono lawyers to assist the Government of Timor Leste, one of the newest nations recognised by the UN, and a member of the G7 Group of Fragile Nations.

New Perimeter

In 2005 DLA Piper established New Perimeter, our non-profit affiliate dedicated to delivering long-term, high-impact pro bono legal support to qualifying nonprofits, governments and academic institutions, primarily in developing and post-conflict regions. New Perimeter draws on the skills of more than 4,000 DLA Piper lawyers globally. We focus our work on legal education, women's and children's rights, access to justice and law reform, environmental protection, economic development and food security.

New Perimeter supports social and economic development, as well as transparent and sound legal institutions. We do this in part by providing direct assistance on projects designed to strengthen a country's legal system, improve the skills of its judges and lawyers, encourage economic growth, promote the rule of law and strengthen human rights. We also do this by providing internal strategic legal counsel to institutions working to further these same goals. Whether we are teaching at a law school, training judicial officials, helping a government draft laws or providing technical assistance to a NGO, one of our primary goals is to increase the capacity of the local institution. Because New Perimeter is committed to an interdisciplinary approach, we regularly partner with DLA Piper clients, academic institutions and NGOs to achieve our mutual goals. Recent New Perimeter projects have included:

Kosovo Law Reform - New Perimeter's project focused on restoring Kosovo's judicial and prosecutorial systems and transferring judicial functions from the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to local control. A team of DLA Piper lawyers assisted working groups composed primarily of local judges and prosecutors to draft new laws creating the Kosovar court system and system of prosecution. The Kosovo Law on Courts, Law on State Prosecutor and the laws on the Kosovo Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils were passed by the Kosovo Assembly and signed into law by the President in 2010. The New Perimeter team also provided legal skills training to lawyers in the Kosovo Ministry of Justice.

Zimbabwean Women's Rights - In collaboration with international advocacy group AIDS-Free World, New Perimeter worked to document and combat human rights abuses committed against Zimbabwean women in conjunction with the 2008 Zimbabwe presidential elections. A New Perimeter team of DLA Piper lawyers participated in four trips to southern Africa to interview Zimbabwean women who were targeted with sexual violence because of their political views. The team drafted sworn affidavits for over 70 women outlining the details of the abuse. New Perimeter's assistance was vital in producing the report: Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. New Perimeter lawyers also helped AIDS-Free World create litigation and advocacy strategies with the dual goals of bringing about accountability and raising awareness of these grave human rights abuses.


To concentrate our community efforts across DLA Piper's global offices, we focus on supporting projects that benefit Education, Equality and Enterprise.

Everyone is entitled to a good education, regardless of socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, geographic location or age. Access to education is paramount for the economic survival and success of future generations globally. DLA Piper contributes to regional and international educational needs by ensuring that we allocate skills and resources to programmes that develop people's skills and knowledge in order to improve their chances of making a better life for themselves.

Equality in Education - China - In China, DLA Piper has joined forces with client Nord Anglia, the British School of Beijing and the Wuxun Education Foundation to launch The Rural Teacher Training Programme. The programme looks to address poor standards of education in China's rural schools, which can be attributed to the significant lack of training and teaching materials available. The Chinese government has identified the poor standards of education as a key contributing factor to the poverty cycle afflicting the country's 800 million rural inhabitants. Whilst this pilot provided opportunities for 100 rural teachers to experience creative teaching methods and gain exposure to a high standard education theories and techniques, the Government has approved this initiative and is in the process of scaling it up by incorporating the materials into other Government education departments.

BreakThrough - Creating Brighter Futures - In Australia, DLA Piper runs a programme called 'BreakThrough' as part of our partnership with The Smith Family, a children's charity helping disadvantaged Australian children to get the most out of their education in order to create a better future for themselves. The BreakThrough programme was designed by DLA Piper to benefit marginalised 14-15 year olds with CV and interview techniques, and in the last 18 months 130 employees have worked with 62 students. For DLA Piper, BreakThrough offers a source of engaging and challenging volunteer opportunities, whilst enabling our employees to develop their own interpersonal skills and learn more about other areas of the firm.

Equality means equal rights to education, employment, leadership, justice, decent shelter, food, water and resources, and to not be denied the possibility to access opportunities, services or resources due to age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, wealth or health. DLA Piper contributes to initiatives and programmes that improve equal access to opportunities which can improve livelihoods and futures, particularly for those in our communities who are marginalised or disadvantaged.

Faculty of Law, UAE University - We support the UAE University, through their Faculty of Law, to compete in international mooting competitions through sponsorship and training. DLA Piper's engagement with the UAE University law teams represents an example of the firm's commitment to using the resources and skills of our people to unlock local talent and enable social mobility, in this instance encouraging Emiratis to work in the private sector. Diversifying the employment mix away from a reliance on public sector work is a material issue within many Middle Eastern countries and forms an important government focus in the United Arab Emirates called Emiratization.

In the UAE only Arabic law is taught during university courses. Therefore access to international law experience is integral to the success of UAE law students seeking roles at international firms and wanting to understand the full scope of the legal sector. The law students benefit from the expertise of our lawyers and the training in English and international law, but they also benefit from the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of what it is like to work for an international firm. We are in the fifth year of supporting the UAE University and their Moot team. We have sponsored and trained the team to compete three times in the Jessup Moot in Washington and for the past two years in Oxford at the Monroe E. Price International Media Law Moot Court Competition. We train the students on advocacy skills, review their memorials and support them putting together their oral presentations.

Reconciliation Action Plan - DLA Piper Australia's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) features 14 key actions which the firm aspires to achieve to build relationships and opportunities with indigenous peoples, communities and organisations. DLA Piper believes these actions demonstrate how we, as a major law firm, can truly make a difference working alongside indigenous peoples to achieve reconciliation in Australia. Where relevant, the legal advice that DLA Piper provides to clients will include an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that our legal advice may have on the rights and interests of indigenous peoples. This commitment is in line with the firm's belief that we have a responsibility to make the communities in which we operate a better place. Enterprise means access to capital, mentorship and employability/business skills to raise aspirations, inspire entrepreneurialism and innovation, and to provide improved access to employment opportunities.

The Prince's Trust Legal Helpline - Over the past two years in the UK, as part of a multi layered, 15 year partnership with The Prince's Trust, DLA Piper has provided approximately 1,600 hours of free legal and commercial advice to around 250 young entrepreneurs through 'The Prince's Trust Free Legal Helpline'. This support has been integral to helping these young entrepreneurs to successfully grow their businesses during an increasingly difficult economic climate, and at a time when youth unemployment is at a record high. For DLA Piper our partnership with The Prince's Trust provides us with the opportunity to have a positive impact on key issues of access to justice, education, enterprise and equality, but also to strengthen our relationships with key clients and develop the skills of our people that provide support to projects like the Legal Helpline.

Supporting Enterprise to Tackle Youth

Unemployment in Asia - In 2005, DLA Piper helped set up Youth Business Hong Kong ("YBHK"), a charity which provides start up loans and business mentoring to first time entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since then, DLA Piper has provided a range of support to the young entrepreneurs from free legal advice, DLA Piper – Corporate Responsibility | 04 business mentoring, training seminars and careers advice to developing a 'Legal Guide for Business Starters' in response to the needs of its entrepreneur clients. This publication provides a guide to employment contracts, intellectual property, tax, insurance and more, the sales of which generate income for the charity. For DLA Piper, the partnership with YBHK demonstrates that our firm is aligned with one of the Government's key objectives of reducing unemployment, and enables us to use our strengths and resources to have a positive impact on a significant issue affecting our local community.


In January 2007, DLA Piper became one of the first in the legal field to introduce a Global Sustainability Initiative programme, affirming our commitment to reduce our environmental impact and conduct our business in a responsible manner. Our approach is to develop a living strategy, which will change and adapt as we respond to the demands and challenges of creating a more environmentally responsible business.

Within the first year of launching our Global Sustainability Initiative, we were honoured to become the first global law firm to achieve global certification to ISO 14001 – the worldwide standard for environmental management that ensures we take account of our environmental impacts and live up to our commitment to operating in a responsible way. We are now in our 5th year of global certification and we are proud that we remain one of very few global law firms to achieve this far-reaching roll out of their Environmental Management System.

Through our Global Sustainability Initiative and the sustained commitment of our people, we will continually strive to reduce our environmental impact in four key areas: energy, waste, travel and procurement.


In all DLA Piper offices globally, we aim continually to reduce electrical energy consumption. Throughout all offices, we are promoting energy-saving actions such as installing movement sensors for lighting systems in many offices. In April 2009, to encourage smarter use of electricity among our global workforce, we conducted a firm-wide "EnergySmart" campaign featuring communications, contests and idea sharing. In 2011, the firm was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard, which certifies organisations for real carbon reduction and commitment to ongoing reductions.

Waste and recycling

We are committed to reducing, reusing and recycling potential waste and have an ongoing campaign to educate our people on how to produce less waste and recycle more. We have established initiatives to reduce paper use globally and recycling photocopier/printer cartridges, paper, glass and plastics.


To raise awareness about the importance of responsible business travel among all our people, we conducted a global campaign in 2008 called "TravelSmart," which featured a variety of helpful tips and activities. This is still available and distributed to our colleagues. This campaign had an immediate impact and between 2008 and 2009 we reduced air travel spend by 33.57% and reduced taxi spend by 26.26% over the three years from 2007 baseline. However, we have not been able to maintain these reductions over recent years and are looking at running another campaign on responsible business travel.

We are committed to using the latest technology to support reductions in business travel and greater cost savings. In July 2009 we became the first law firm to acquire TelePresence virtual meeting technology, aimed at reducing our carbon footprint through decreased travel. This has now been implemented in over half of our offices worldwide.


During 2011 and 2012 we updated our IT hardware across our global offices, including introducing the latest energy efficient dell computers and cloud printing that has seen an increase in the number of printers with duplex printing set as default. Other responsible procurement practices include the purchase of paper made from recycled paper and our existing cleaning contractors using environmentally friendly options. In October 2009, we conducted a firm wide "ProcureSmart" campaign to focus on what DLA Piper is doing to purchase supplies and materials sustainably and what our people can do to support our procurement efforts.

Encouraging Sector Collaboration on Sustainability

Working with Business in the Community and the Law Society of England and Wales, DLA Piper conceived the idea of a legal sector collaboration and in 2007 The Legal Sector Alliance Acting on Climate Change was launched. LSA membership now exceeds 200 law firms who work in partnership on matters of environmental sustainability and climate change.

The LSA has developed the Legal Sector Alliance Carbon Footprint Protocol to assist the profession in managing and measuring its environmental footprint, together with a set of environmental sustainability principles to encourage public reporting of carbon impacts so that real progress can be made to measure, manage, reduce and report progress.

Thought Leadership

Since 2007 DLA Piper has run and participated in many high profile climate change-related forums and conferences. For example, the firm organised a Climate Change Conference with Former Vice President, Al Gore, with speakers including the Chairman Emeritus, Senator DLA Piper – Corporate Responsibility | 05 George Mitchell, who was at the forefront of advocating the need to conduct business more sustainably when he addressed the conference. More recently, Alexander Sarac, a Legal Director in our Energy, Infrastructure Finance and Commodities team in London was in Durban at the UNFCCC's COP 17 providing video updates and insight on the critical issues that were discussed at this important conference on Climate Change.

The firm is one of the sponsors of the Mayday Network, which is collaboration of businesses taking action on climate change and resource depletion. Sir Nigel Knowles, our Joint CEO, takes an active role in supporting a number of climate related activities including being on the Leadership Team of the Mayday Network.

Environmental Legal Services

By far the greatest impact we can have on environmental sustainability is through the legal advice we give clients relating to environmental best practice and climate change. These services include advising clients on renewable energy, climate change and emissions trading and they fall under our Energy and Water sector and Regulatory and Government affairs practice. DLA Piper has for some considerable time provided commercial environmental legal advice, advising commerce and industry on fast-changing carbon trading regulations and their obligations under mechanisms such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.


Working alongside clients on our corporate responsibility projects enables us to demonstrate shared values, address key social issues, develop stronger client relationships and provides our clients with access to pro bono and community projects that their employees might not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage in.

The New Perimeter Tanzania Law School Project – Through our fully integrated non-profit affiliate, New Perimeter, DLA Piper's lawyers are able to contribute to large scale pro bono projects primarily in developing and post-conflict countries. As part of New Perimeter, DLA Piper has been collaborating with major clients GE and Barclays Bank to bring legal and commercial expertise to the University Law School of Tanzania. The programme provides a two week training course to the next generation of lawyers who will represent the interests of governments, businesses and the wider community in Tanzania. Students are given a chance to learn through hands on practical workshops, while engaging with practicing lawyers from our global offices, filling a gap in the predominantly academic delivery of their curriculum. "We are very proud and excited to have participated in this CR initiative as it fits well with our efforts to expand our international endeavours, now also on the African continent. This gives us an opportunity to give something back to communities, by sharing with the students some of the professional skills and expertise we have built up during our long and intense legal careers at GE." - Hendrik Bourgeois GE, General Counsel, EMEA

Achieving More Through Collaboration – DLA Piper and Verizon were recently granted the 2011 Pro Bono Partner Award by Corporate Pro Bono, in recognition of their collaboration on an integrated pro bono programme which addresses veterans, education, and domestic violence issues in the US. From providing co-counselling for individuals and non-profit organisations, to working with Corporate Pro Bono to induce a change in legislation to enable more pro bono work in Virginia, DLA Piper and Verizon have demonstrated the value of using combined strengths and expertise to achieve a greater impact.

Beyond the US, DLA Piper and Verizon have also teamed up on innovative and successful projects in both Brussels and Moscow. In Brussels, DLA Piper has worked with Verizon to support Interface3, an organisation which provides disadvantaged women with access to free IT courses and education to help them gain employment in the IT sector. In Moscow, DLA Piper and Verizon designed and delivered, alongside partners White & Case, Microsoft and PILnet, a flagship 'Professional Responsibility and Ethics in the Global Legal Market' course at Moscow State University. Students benefitted from the chance to interact with experienced lawyers who could deliver first-hand knowledge of the ethical issues faced by global organisations. As professional responsibility and ethics are not taught widely in Russian universities, the success of the course is expected to result in its future replication in universities throughout the country.


"We are defined by our people. Our people are our global identity as an organisation. Our brand is based on relationships and our people define our relationships. Diversity at DLA Piper goes to the heart of the DLA Piper values" Sir Nigel Knowles, Joint CEO, DLA Piper.

We believe in making DLA Piper a great place to work and one of our core values is investing in the careers and reputations of our people. We were the first international legal practice to receive the prestigious HR Excellence Award for our learning and development strategy, recognising our commitment to developing our people. We have also recently won The Lawyer 'Award for Excellence in Training' (2012), The Legal Education and Training Group 'Award for Best Programme for Lawyers' (2011) and The British Legal 'Award for Education and Training' (2011).

DLA Piper's vision in terms of equality and diversity is not only to comply with legislation, but to take a progressive approach so that we create a diversity of talent that makes us more successful as a business. We recognise that a willing and committed workforce, where there is equality for all and where difference is visibly welcomed and people are actively included, is a key ingredient in our recipe for success.

We have different approaches to managing diversity across our global offices. In the US, for example, we have a Diversity and Inclusion strategic plan, Diversity and Inclusion team and a Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee. In Australia, we have a defined Diversity strategy, supported by a Diversity Steering Committee and champions in each office. In the UK, we have established a Women's Network, which looks to create an empowering environment and provide a platform for the development and support of the careers of female employees. We were recently shortlisted for The Lawyer 'Most Effective Diversity Programme - Gender' (2012).

We aim to share best practice with our clients and other stakeholders through innovative programmes like the Global Women's Leadership Summit that we held in Chicago in October 2011 that was aimed at women general counsel, associate general counsel and other executive level women in the legal field.

We are also proud of the good work done by DLA Piper and New Perimeter who together work to support the advancement of women's rights and equality through ongoing efforts to empower women in all corners of the world. The firm works with organisations such as Women Win, Oxfam, Vital Voices, Room to Read, MADRE and UNICEF. We represent CARE, which increases rural African women's access to financial services, as well as the Global Fund for Women, the grant-making foundation that promotes women's human rights by funding womenled organisations worldwide. These efforts aim to give women and girls a voice and framework to grow and enrich their lives.

Corporate Responsibility is embedded into the firm's reward and recognition. A key aspect of our employees' performance management reviews is the requirement to outline what 'wider contribution' have they made. Employees who play an active role in the firm's corporate responsibility and pro bono programmes will receive greater recognition and reward, with 'Wider Contribution' accounting for approximately 10% of a DLA Piper employees' bonus. Therefore the firm places a great deal of importance on not only what has been achieved but also how it has been achieved.

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