Community.

Supporting vulnerable people during the pandemic

I’m pleased to be able to share a feature about Wotton + Kearney’s pro bono work, which was published in the latest edition of Lawyers Weekly. W+K’s Community Footprint program has long focused on providing pro bono and community support in the areas of senior’s rights, domestic violence, homelessness and refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. During the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic has hit the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups ...

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Contribution to our community is a way of life at Wotton + Kearney. It’s at the core of how we conduct ourselves and how we do business.


At Wotton + Kearney we are committed to making a difference in people’s lives through our Pro Bono and Responsible Business program – Community Footprint.

Community Footprint was established in January 2012 and is led by W+K Partner Heidi Nash-Smith, recognised as Pro Bono Partner of the Year by Lawyers Weekly in 2018 and 2019.  Community Footprint was a Pro Bono Program of the Year finalist in 2019.

We have pro bono opportunities for everyone, whether it’s seeing clients in a regular clinic, taking on referrals, contributing to law reform research and writing, advocacy or undertaking a pro bono secondment.

Our responsible business initiatives in the community provide another way to contribute to the work of our charity partners, and a better future for our local and global community and the environment.

We have formed long-term partnerships with community legal centres and charities across Australia, New Zealand and beyond, to make sure that our work is targeted to addressing greatest needs and driving positive change in society.

Our key aim is to address inequalities in our communities, with a particular focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, and Peace, Justice and Strong institutions.

       

   

Wotton + Kearney’s  pro bono practice is central to its commitment to access to justice and to reducing inequality. 

W+K has invested in a dedicated pro bono team, including a pro bono partner, special counsel, consultant and community coordinator. The pro bono team is supported by pro bono champions in each Australian office, the broader firm and the resources of our Legalign Global alliance.

Refugee rights is the focus of more than a third of our pro bono program and includes legal representation, advocacy, policy work and law reform through our partnerships with organisations including the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, the Human Rights Law Centre, Refugee Legal and Refugee Council of Australia.

Seniors rights and elder abuse is an increasingly visible area of unmet legal need and an area we are investing in through our partnerships with the Seniors Rights Service NSW and Justice Connect.

Human rights and the rule of law is a growing focus of our work, engaging in advocacy through our pro bono partnerships.

PARTNERING WITH BLACK DOG INSTITUTE

Our charity partner from July 2019 through to July 2022 is Black Dog Institute. Black Dog Institute is a world leader in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.

Alongside the partnership with Black Dog Institute, our New Zealand offices have set up a mental health awareness charity, Life Squared Trust, in memory of former partner Andrew McIntyre.

By partnering with Black Dog Institute and Life Squared Trust, each of our offices have the opportunity to fundraise, advocate and be educated about mental health. This is providing us with a real opportunity to address mental health in the workplace in a lasting and positive way.

LOCAL OFFICE CHARITY PARTNERS

We support our local office charities, Lou’s Place, Launch Housing and Share the Dignity by regular donations, fundraising and volunteering opportunities all year round. During Homelessness Week we run an additional donation drive and raise awareness of how we can support those at risk or experiencing homelessness.

At Wotton + Kearney we take seriously our role as a responsible global citizen and playing our part to help protect our environment. We are a reporting member of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA), an industry-led association working collaboratively to promote best practice sustainability commitments and performance across the legal sector. You can access our latest AusLSA report here.

Our Environmental & Sustainability Policy can be accessed here.

We are committed to reviewing our own supply chains to ensure we are making socially responsible choices. This commitment can be demonstrated through our partnership with FairSupply to identify the risks of modern slavery in our supply chain. We are now implementing processes and procedures to monitor and manage those risks.

Additionally, we have:

  • Provided modern slavery training to our Board.
  • Made modern slavery training available to all staff. This training is available through an interactive online session.
  • Introduced a standard modern slavery clause for our supplier contracts.
  • Implemented a Supplier Code of Conduct which we use for suppliers with a higher risk of modern slavery in their supply chains.
MEMBERSHIPS

Diversity Council of Australia

We are members of the Diversity Council of Australia.

Diverse Women in Law

W+K is a sponsor of Diverse Women in Law. Diverse Women in Law (DWL) is a not-for-profit which aims to empower and support Diverse Women through all stages of their legal studies and career.

Diverse Women are defined as self-identifying women (cis, non-binary and gender diverse) from underrepresented backgrounds (including culturally and linguistically diverse, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons, LGBTQI+ persons, living with a disability, are or have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage or with caring responsibilities).

Contact us

Community Footprint is led by Heidi Nash-Smith. For general inquiries contact Angela Tan or Sara Villanueva at sara.villanueva@wottonkearney.com.au.

Contact Leanne Ho for partnership opportunities, including student internships and community legal education in schools.