The firm recognises the significance of its societal responsibilities.
The firm has invested in, and is committed to, corporate social responsibility through a targeted program which:
- aligns with the firm’s stakeholders – the community, clients and staff;
- contributes to the community – through pro bono work, mentoring, participation in community events and corporate giving;
- is environmentally responsible – the environment is not adversely impacted by our work; and
- maintains integrity and respect in business and community relationships – based on principled and ethical decisions.
The firm’s program has five core elements: responsible business, community engagement, pro bono activity, environmental stewardship and people.
We recognise that the most significant community contribution we can make is through our daily activities. Our business is managed with ethics and integrity to create sustainable value with every interaction through:
- Stakeholder engagement – we connect with the community, our clients and our people, working collaboratively to contribute effectively, ensure client satisfaction and retain our talent;
- Ethical business behaviour – we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of business behaviour though sound corporate governance, including a commitment to equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion and promoting health and safety;
- Social accountability – pro bono work, mentoring, community events and corporate giving help us create sustainable value. We provide work experience, placements and secondments offering opportunities for our people to connect with clients, stakeholders and the wider community
- Values-based communications – our people are required to support and demonstrate our business values and maintain alignment to these in all communications, both in business relationships and beyond; and
- Dialogue – the basis for relationships with our clients and our people is our open, honest communication as captured through open forums, matter debriefs and client listening activities.
We share and celebrate our work with the wider community through our social media interactions.
We have a number of specific interests in our community, and invite members of the business to participate and/or contribute. Our activities include -
- Contributions to various community appeals;
- Community volunteering through support of not-for-profit organisations and philanthropic giving;
- Creation of a workplace giving program where members can contribute to a cause they may be passionate about; and
- Committing to a firm supported charity (Currently the RSPCA), supporting its mission to prevent cruelty to animals.
Pro bono work
Hicksons has a strong tradition of providing complementary services or discounted legal work to disadvantaged people, groups and not-for-profit organisations, particularly those which do not qualify for legal aid or cannot afford legal assistance.
This commitment to pro bono work began with our Alumni, The Hon. Michael Kirby, as a partner leading work on civil liberties cases. We have been involved in the legal representation of Indigenous Australians during the 1960s and 1970s, which included working closely with the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Freedom Ride (a significant event in the history of civil rights for Indigenous Australians), and during the race riots of the 1970s.
Today, we are involved with:
- refugee support – providing mentoring services;
- mentoring school students under the Lawyers Encouraging and Assisting Promising Students program where talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds are mentored and supported through critical educational pathways and career choices;
- community legal centres;
- partnerships with secondary schools and universities for employment programs;
- participation in the national pro bono aspirational target; - and
- creation of the Hicksons Scholarship Program in support of student education for Indigenous students and research into neuroscience.
The firm has adopted a number of policies and business processes to integrate responsible practices into our business operations. Additionally:
- We are committed to, and actively manage the impact of our business through resource reduction programs and responsible procurement. As a member of the Barangaroo precinct, there are stringent requirements on our environmental contributions which we are committed to and practice.
- One of our key operational plans is to create efficient operations which contribute to a greener economy. This extends to on-line business processes (minimal paper), flexible working practices to promote shared space, consumable and material recycling, sustainable water use and energy saving activities, minimising our carbon footprint.
We value diversity of experience and believe that our collaborative and supportive environment is a factor in our business success. Our approach to diversity and inclusion enables us to leverage innovation and creativity, achieve higher productivity and employee satisfaction whilst, delivering value to our clients and the community as a whole.
Gender Inclusion: We actively encourage networking for women in the early stages of their career to establish key business relationships. Our female leaders have been instrumental in the creation and success of networking groups, providing opportunities and support for business women in the early stages of their careers.
Diversity & Inclusion: A diverse workforce allows us to consider and grow from different perspectives, promoting innovation and ideas, and contributing to informed, smart decision making. We strive to attract, retain, and develop a pool of talent that is diverse and we leverage the breadth of knowledge and experiences of all our people.
Our inclusive environment promotes transparency and collaboration. We welcome the breadth of experience our people contribute, bringing diverse influences from across genders, races, ability, orientations, cultures, educational and professional backgrounds.