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Our staff members want to give back

We undertake a considerable amount of pro bono work for a number of community and non-profit groups, and give a large number of pro bono hours each year to local community law centres. In addition to this pro bono work, we recognise our staff members are keen to be actively involved in giving back to the community. To support this each team spends one working day per year volunteering at a local charity. Past charities have included Eat my Lunch, the SPCA, community planting groups and beach clean up Trusts.

Russell McVeagh also sponsors a number of initiatives for young people, such as scholarships and debating competitions to help them develop their skills and discover a passion for law.

The motivation for Russell McVeagh’s long-standing community involvement is not to seek publicity or look good to our clients. Our partners and staff genuinely want to give back to the communities in which we work and live.

In the past we have chosen not to showcase our community involvement. However, we have come to realise that talking about our efforts may help encourage other organisations and individuals to give back to the community in similar ways.

Since the 1980s Russell McVeagh’s Auckland office has had a formal arrangement with the Mangere Community Law Centre to provide pro bono assistance on a one person, one day per week basis, while our Wellington office has a similar arrangement with the Wellington Law Centre, where three of our staff provide assistance on a specified day every week. 

While there is no compulsion on our lawyers to participate, we never have a problem finding volunteers to make a difference for those who otherwise have no access to legal counsel.

Pro bono work

Russell McVeagh has engaged in pro bono activities for much of the firm’s history. It’s important to give back to the communities in which we work and live and our strong commitment and focus on pro bono also makes good business sense.

Since the 1980s, we have had a formal arrangement with the Mangere Community Law Centre (and since 1988, a similar arrangement with the Wellington Community Law Centre) to provide pro bono assistance on a one person, one day per week basis. There is no compulsion to our lawyers to participate; however, we have always had a large number of volunteers willing to contribute and make a difference to those who otherwise have no access to legal counsel.

The pro bono efforts of our team often make a significant difference in our communities. In 2015, a team in the Wellington office advised late Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales in litigation under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, designed to clarify the legality of her end of life decision making. Although the judge ruled against her, the case attracted widespread public and media attention and generated significant debate around euthanasia laws in New Zealand, and personal choice.

Our Auckland office works with Glen Taylor School in Glendowie, a multi-cultural, decile one school, to provide a homework club. Staff attend the school to supervise and work with the children while they complete their homework. The goal is to provide a safe and supervised environment, assist with reading and homework tasks, and give the children access to people from different backgrounds and perhaps open their eyes to different career possibilities.

We also provide ongoing pro bono legal advice to Cure Kids, Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley, The Breast Cancer Research Trust, and a wide range of other organisations.

There is no monetary or hours cap on the firm’s pro bono support.

Corporate Social Responsibility Report

In 2016 we launched our very first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. The Report is a key milestone in the firm’s continued commitment to being a sustainable law firm and delivering positive impacts to employees, clients, the environment and our local communities.