Twelve top law firms sign up to Fifth Day business ops volunteering scheme
First batch of corporate members collectively account for 10,000 potential volunteers
Twelve leading UK law firms have signed up to Fifth Day, an initiative to provide volunteering opportunities for legal business operations staff, as it prepares to take part in Pro Bono Week next month.
Since its launch in June, Fifth Day has attracted leading UK and US law firms including Clyde & Co, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Fieldfisher, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Gateley, Mills & Reeve, and Kennedys.
The list of corporate members is completed by Pinsent Masons – founder Fred Banning’s former firm - Reed Smith, Watson Farley & Williams and Scotland’s Burness Paull.
The new members employ more than 10,000 staff working in various sectors of legal business operations, ranging from IT to PR and business development. They have committed to promoting pro bono opportunities among their workforce and introducing their third sector partners to Fifth Day, as appropriate.
Will Brewster, Clyde Co’s head of communications, said: “A huge pool of talented non-lawyers in the profession has looked on with envy at the opportunity lawyers have to give back to good causes using their professional skills. Many of us have worked in the law for many years and will welcome this opportunity, especially as there are so many in need of help at this time.”
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Banning, a former head of communications at Pinsent Masons who took medical retirement in 2020, added: “It is heartening that so many of the leading law firms have embraced the concept of non-legal pro bono. The great thing is that none of my conversations with firms has revolved around ‘this is why pro bono is a good idea’. They know the benefits for their lawyers, and so making a case for extending a culture of pro bono to their business services teams is not a massive leap. It’s a win for the firms, their employees and the third sector organisations we’re trying to help.”
Banning referenced the UK’s worsening economic climate as a reason for firms to support volunteering. “It’s no secret that we’re in for a tough winter in the UK, and the work of third sector organisations has arguably never been more important.”
Gary Jones, founding director of legal operations recruiters Totum Partners, added: “The idea immediately chimed, [and] felt timely with an increasing wealth of talent amongst business services teams that can tap into this.”
Fifth Day is holding a webinar on 7 November, marking the start of the UK's Pro Bono Week, to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities. Janet Thorne, CEO of Reach Volunteering, which assists Fifth Day, said: “Across the country, there are many charities who would benefit massively from support across a wide range of business disciplines.”
The call to action follows the closing of nominations last Friday for the Women and Diversity in Law Awards, which are hosted by GLP and showcase the individuals, teams and businesses helping to make the UK legal sector more diverse and inclusive.
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