Community.

Community Footprint

We have formed long-term partnerships with local charities across Australia and New Zealand, forging strong relationships and helping to effect change in our society. We participate in many CSR, community and environment events, to make sure that we are acting to create a better future.

One of the ways in which we’ve particularly tried to assist is to partner with one charity each year, to focus our advocacy, fundraising and volunteering efforts. We worked with So They Can in 2016 and OzHarvest in 2017, and you can read about what these organisations have achieved in the section below.

In 2018 and 2019, our charity partner is International Justice Mission Australia.

Partnering with International Justice Mission Australia

IJM is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence. Violence is an everyday threat to the poor. It’s as much a part of daily life as hunger, disease or homelessness.

IJM partners with local law enforcement organisations to provide protection and rescue to victims of violence and to bring perpetrators to justice in local courts. IJM addresses issues of slavery, sex trafficking, property grabbing, police abuse of power and sexual violence, working in nearly 20 communities throughout South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

As people working in the legal profession, we understand the importance of a well-functioning justice system and rely on the existence and competent enforcement of law to do our jobs. However, in much of the developing world, broken justice systems leave many people vulnerable to violence and exploitation. The legal sector is perfectly placed to support efforts to strengthen justice systems in those communities and bring to account those currently acting with impunity.

We have partnered with IJM Australia to help tackle modern slavery in Australia and New Zealand, and overseas. Specifically we are concentrating our focus in Cambodia, where there is an endemic problem of people trafficking across the border and into the Thai fishing industry.

As well as providing pro bono legal support and advocacy, our initiatives have so far raised over $100,000 for IJM Australia in 2018 to cover the operational costs of the National Investigations & Enforcement Team in Cambodia.

As part of our fundraising, a team of our lawyers and clients cycled 250kms across Cambodia in October 2018. Along the way, the team spent time with not-for-profits and social enterprises working with survivors of trafficking and forced labour. The final day was spent with IJM’s field office in Phnom Penh, gaining a first hand view of the work of the National Investigations & Enforcement Team, and hearing the stories of those IJM has rescued.

Organisations we partnered with in 2016 and 2017

So They Can

So They Can is an inspiring charity empowering communities in Kenya and Tanzania through education, so that individuals can break the cycle of poverty.

Our partnership began with sponsoring the education of one, seven-year-old girl, Joyce Wambui, who attends the Aberdare Ranges Primary School in Kenya. The school was established and is operated by So They Can. As our partnership with So They Can developed, our vision of how we could support the charity grew. This culminated in us setting a target of raising at least $50,000 for So They Can. Our team also visited So They Can’s projects in Kenya, participated in a working bee to paint classrooms, hallways and the kitchen at the school, as well as joining in the school sports day. Along the way the team ran in the Maasai Mara Marathon.

During the course of a year, our lawyers and staff raised in excess of $100,000 for So They Can – double our fundraising target, and secured the ongoing sponsorship of the education of 33 children at the Aberdare Ranges Primary School.

OzHarvest

OzHarvest was founded in November 2004 by event organiser, Ronni Kahn. Stunned by the amount of food wasted by the hospitality industry, she decided to do something about it.

OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia. It collects quality excess food from more than 3,000 commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to more than 1,000 charities.

Since 2004, OzHarvest has delivered more than 60 million meals and saved more than 20,000 tonnes of food from ending up in landfill. With nearly three million Australians living in poverty, this is a very important contribution.

Our focus in 2017 was to raise funds and awareness of the great work of OzHarvest and encourage people to think about how they can minimise food waste at home and at work. Our lawyers and staff volunteered at food markets across the country and engaged our clients in an initiative to “cook for a cause”.

How else do we help?

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

Each year we host fundraising morning teas across our offices to support The Cancer Council.

Dress for Success Auckland

The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Our Auckland office recently connected with Dress for Success and is covering the organisation’s power expenses for six months, enabling Dress for Success to focus on supporting and empowering its clients.

Launch Housing

In Melbourne, we support Launch Housing, to help the homeless in our community. We provide regular donations of toiletries and good quality used clothing.

Lou’s Place

Our Sydney office supports Lou’s Place, a women’s refuge in Kings Cross, with regular donations of toiletries and good quality used clothing. Each month, four of our staff attend Lou’s Place to prepare a cooked breakfast for Lou’s Place’s clients.

Porirua College

Our Wellington office has been working with Porirua College since 2014. Our partnership includes working bees at the school, volunteer days out with the students and a yearly scholarship for a final year Porirua College student to help them with their university studies.

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea
Dress for Success Auckland
RUOK Day

Each year we raise awareness about RUOK Day and suicide prevention through internal training and also by getting together for a morning tea.

Share the Dignity

Our Brisbane and Perth offices have partnered with Share the Dignity, an Australian charity bringing dignity to homeless and at-risk women and those experiencing domestic violence, through the distribution of sanitary items and funding funerals.

Social Justice in the Workplace

Twice a year, we host two university students participating in the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s “Practising in the Public Interest” program. Students overwhelming report that they find the opportunity to participate in the placements a highlight of the course, and of their law degree more generally. We were delighted to hear that the students placed with our firm “came back bubbling with enthusiasm” about the pro bono work we do.

The Smith Family Toy & Book Appeal

Sadly thousands of children go without a Christmas present because their family can’t afford it. Each year our Australian offices organise a collection of toys and books to help bring a smile to a child’s face on Christmas Day.

Walk for Justice

Staff from across our offices join the Walk for Justice as part of Law Week, celebrating the legal profession’s commitment to pro bono.

Lou's Place
The Smith Family Toy & Book Appeal

Environment

We have an active Environment Committee that meets quarterly to develop sustainability initiatives. We are involved in numerous environmental initiatives in 2018, including Clean Up Australia Day, Earth Hour, World Environment Day and National Recycling Week.

Wotton + Kearney is a reporting member of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance, that works to promote best practice sustainability commitments and performance across the legal sector.