Thinking about becoming a Trustee?

4th May 2023

We recently hosted a talk by Claire Jost, partner at Good Business on how junior lawyers and those in our law firm could become involved as trustees.

As a firm committed to core values like engaging with and supporting the wider community, the opportunity to become a trustee is something which was of interest to many of us.  I have been a trustee of a number of charities, including at Sport England, Spring Impact, the Audit Committee of the Prince’s Trust, and most recently on the advisory board of Creative Access.

I had my first opportunity to become a trustee of what is now the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lakes when I was an associate, and the experience was invaluable to me at that stage in my career when I was developing my skills as a lawyer and adviser.

Claire and I shared our experiences of applying to become, acting as a trustee and the benefits that these roles can provide – both to us as individuals and also to those we are supporting.

The experience of being a trustee, as we both experienced, can be both rewarding and at times harrowing, particularly in dealing with matters when there is a crisis or being asked to address topics where we have felt (despite our experience in our own professions) out of our depth in others.  We talked about the importance of interviewing the charity and the board where you want to apply, and to being realistic about your time, and the need to be committed to the causes you are supporting.

Claire also highlighted how helpful and beneficial becoming a trustee can become for young professionals and we are encouraging our lawyers and support staff to look for more opportunities where they can be involved and the reaction from them has already been extremely positive.

A Chairman of one of the charities I have been on described trustees as needing to be like a critical friend to the Charity, and its management team and that was very good advice.  At a time when there is much more we can do to support the wider community, becoming a trustee is a great way to make an impact.  It is of great value to the person doing it, to those they are helping but it is not something that should be taken on lightly. As Spiderman learns, “with great power comes great responsibility!”.