Corporate social responsibility report

21 March 2012 to 1 October 2012


1 London Street,

+44 (0)118 951 6200


Philippa Roles

Philippa Roles

Field Seymour Parkes (the firm) takes CSR very seriously, giving it a key status within the firm’s overall ethos. Responsibility for the firm’s CSR activities lies with the CSR Partner, Jacqueline McDermott and in her absence the CSR Associate, Philippa Roles. Separately on environmental matters, responsibility lies with the Environmental Partner, Joe Lott.

Every year we report twice yearly both internally and externally on activities undertaken by the firm and its staff.  Despite the difficult economic times we are delighted that our activities continue to be well-supported and we remain indebted to the dedication and generosity of our staff, clients and contacts.

This Report highlights both firm initiatives and activities that individual members of staff have been involved in. In addition to these activities, the Firm sets aside a specific sum each year for charitable giving to both local and national charities.  

When reading this report, please keep in mind that it only covers a six month period. The firm has a strong CSR ethos and producing one annual report was too lengthy a task. The CSR year is therefore split into two parts and each is reported on separately.

1.    Pro bono legal work

  • The firm assisted the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (“TVB LEP”) with its partnership incorporation. The TVB LEP brings together key players in the Thames Valley area to create and enact a plan to deliver economic prosperity to Berkshire.
  • The firm volunteers at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Reading.
  • The firm has provided VAT advice (either pro bono or for a greatly reduced fee) to a number of different charities.
  • Likewise the firm has provided pensions advice (either pro bono or for a greatly reduced fee) to a number of different charities.

2.    Pro bono mentoring / support

The firm encourages its staff to give annual presentations at the University of Reading on working in the legal profession and two staff members are mentors for the College of Law helping students with their CVs and applications as well as giving general advice and insight on legal careers. We are exploring ways (in conjunction with the education group) to expand the work we do in this area

The firm is looking at proposals to work in partnership with local organisations to provide guidance to innovative start-up / early growth businesses in the Thames Valley area alongside the firm’s business start-ups group (which has already produced a detailed start-up guide to help with this process).

3.    Charity/community involvement supported by FSP

3.1    Fundraising

Members of staff have been involved in the following fundraising events:

  • taking part in a Starlight Hike (a night time walk) for Sue Ryder;
  • taking part in the Reading Triathlon to raise money for Sebastian’s Action Trust);
  • taking part in the Jones Lang LaSalle property triathlon to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support;
  • taking part in the Cancer Research Race for Life (5k run); and
  • raising over £3,000 (including Gift Aid) for Barnados by competing in 7 races between February and May (varying from marathons to cross country adventure racing).

Donations have also been made to the following charities/fundraising events in the last six months:-

  • Duchess of Kent Hospice
  • Brain Tumour Research
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • National Osteoperosis Society
  • Epress
  • Thrive
  • Hair for Hospices
  • MacMillan Cancer Care
  • Cyclists Fighting Cancer
  • Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School (chapel spire and organ appeal)
  • British Lung Foundation
  • Child bereavement
  • Swings and smiles

3.2    Trusteeships

Several staff members sit on charity boards and/or are trustees. The firm allows staff reasonable time off to fulfil their obligations and will consider any other related requests for support. The charities/not-for-profit organisations that have benefitted include:

  • Rotary Club of Caversham Trust Fund;
  • Purley Park Trust;
  • Duncan Trust;
  • Heart of Streatley Charitable Trust;
  • Launchpad Reading;
  • Family Resource UK;
  • Streatly Hill Pre-School;
  • Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation;
  • Woodley Age Concern;
  • Ways and Means Trust (t/a as Greenshoots);
  • Headway; and
  • Reading YMCA.

In most cases the trustee positions taken on by our staff are active roles requiring considerable effort and time commitment (for example as chairperson or treasurer).

In addition to the above, a member of staff sits on the fundraising committee for PALS (a charity for disabled children).

Some staff members have also taken on school governor roles, with one taking on the responsibility of treasurer for their local pre-school and another coaching the under 7’s football team.

One member of staff plays in a band providing music for charity events in the Reading, Newbury, Aldermaston and Basingstoke areas, whilst another rescues and walks stray dogs at weekends.

In addition the Firm continues to be involved in the following:

  • A number of our trainee solicitors are on the Board of the Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire District)
  • The firm actively supports students looking to enter the legal profession by running a programme of work experience placements.
  • The firm again supported the Pangbourne Rotary Club dragon boat race by paying to enter a team and running a stand.

Our next report will be issued in March 2013, but in the meantime we have designed a dedicated CSR web page to profile the firm’s activities on an ongoing basis and this should be launched alongside the firm’s new website later this year.