We measure the success of our business not just on our financial performance and the legal services that we provide, but also in terms of the social and environmental impact that our business has on our community.
We continually endeavour to develop our workplace for the benefit of our staff; to facilitate health and wellness; to integrate diversity into all our activities; and to create an inclusive environment in which everyone can fulfil their potential.
We also ensure a living wage for all those who work here, including our contract cleaners, and we minimise our impact on the environment by operating the business in an environmentally and socially responsible way from day to day.
We engage in pro bono legal programmes where our lawyers provide legal advice without charge, or on a substantially discounted basis both to charities and to other organisations or individuals in need; we support and engage with our local community; and we act as trustees of local and national charities. Furthermore, we promote and participate in fundraising for charities and each year we have a designated charity of the year for whom we actively undertake funding activities, and encourage others to do so. Finally, we pride ourselves on providing legal services according to the highest ethical and professional standards.
For more than three decades we have been committed to providing free legal representation in death penalty cases.
The Death Penalty Project is a legal action charity housed and supported by SMB. The DPP provides free legal representation to death row prisoners around the world. It uses the law to protect prisoners facing execution and achieve fairer criminal justice systems.
After an incredible response in 2020, we are back for smb’s second year of the Bernie Simons Essay Competition. It is with great pleasure that we open this student competition to celebrate the importance of civil liberties and hear the voices of today speak on the important issues that matter.
We invite students in years 11-13, from state schools in the London area, to participate in this year’s competition and have a chance to win work experience and a mentorship with our highly respected firm.
Students will be asked to write an essay on one of three questions under the category of ‘Personal Rights and Freedoms’. All entries must be in by 9am on the 18th April 2022. For all the details on the competition, including terms and conditions, follow the link:
If you would like to read the winning entries from last year, we have published them here.
The results are evident in the ethnic and gender mix at all levels in our firm – we don’t believe in lip service.
To us as a firm, it’s the outcome that matters, and the only way to achieve that outcome is by fostering and maintaining a culture where everyone, from whatever background, feels genuinely comfortable in our workplace. We build these concepts and practices into training programmes and we include diversity issues in induction programmes so that all members of staff adhere to SMB’s values and policy in this respect.
For more information, please see our results for the SRA Diversity Survey 2023.
Our diversity policy helps us to demonstrate that we do all we can to value difference and to eradicate discrimination.
Our policy improves the quality of our workforce and provides a valuable means of obtaining a better return on our investment in human capital. An environment where all employees feel included and valued yields greater commitment and motivation.
Diversity within our firm is also essential to helping employees to understand our clients’ differing needs.
SMB has a long history of providing pro bono assistance to those who might not otherwise be able to access legal representation and advice.
All SMB staff are encouraged to donate their time and expertise to charitable causes, especially those underpinning the firm’s core commitment to civil liberties and human rights. We advise a range of charities and social enterprises on a pro bono basis. Providing pro bono advice means providing either free or discounted legal advice or may include sitting on the boards as non-executive directors or trustees, or as advisers without receiving any remuneration for that work.
When considering whether we are able to take on work on a pro bono basis the following criteria are taking into account:
The DPP, our in-house pro bono initiative, provides free legal representation to individuals facing the death penalty and other vulnerable prisoners, in particular assisting in applications to the London based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
We are a signatory to The Law Society Pro Bono Charter, which underpins our approach to pro bono.
For the year 2023, our firm’s chosen Charity of the Year is St Johns Hospice. We have chosen St John’s Hospice, not only in recognition of their incredible work but also as the charity that took care of our dear friend and colleague Russell Winn before his sad passing in 2022.
In previous years, we have supported Alzheimer’s Research UK, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), Centrepoint, Voices in the Middle, War Child, and The Sick Children’s Trust. For the last two years, we have partnered with The Honeypot Children’s Charity, working closely with them to raise over £20,000 for the charity.
To raise funds for our charities, we have successfully run and participated in quiz nights, sponsored bicycle rides, marathons, Centrepoint’s ‘Sleep-Out London’, annual Christmas Jumper days, and bake sales. All of our staff are actively involved.
Many of our Partners are trustees of leading charities, including CALM, Copenhagen Youth Project, Making History, PSA Foundation, Spring Impact, The Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture, The Heart of England Forest, The Royal Court Theatre, and Yellow Earth Theatre. In addition, we offer pro bono advice and act for numerous other charitable organisations and social enterprises.
The firm has a proud history of pro bono work and founded The Death Penalty Project in 1975, which is based in our offices. Partners Simon Goldberg and Anthony Burton CBE are both Directors and Trustees of the DPP.
“SMB is a socially aware firm and we have always actively encouraged an equal and diverse outlook both to our recruitment and to how we do our work.”
Razi Mireskandari, SMB Managing Partner