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.
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 result for the SRA Diversity Survey 2019.
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 of 2020, our firm’s chosen Charity of the Year is The Honeypot Children’s Charity. Their aim is to give constant support to young carers, who can be as young as 5, through outreach and respite breaks.
In previous years, we have supported Centrepoint, Voices in the Middle, War Child and The Sick Children’s Trust. Last year we partnered with Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), and we remain CALM accredited continuing to support their work.
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 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