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Looking at graduate recruitment for law firms from another angle
At the leading UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard, the partners of tomorrow come from the graduates of today. GradFocus spoke to the Graduate Recruitment Manager, to explore the company’s innovative approach to recruitment – and how graduates are impacting its strong corporate social responsibility strategy.
Addleshaw Goddard believes in putting back into society – and that applies as much to its graduates as it does to every other aspect of the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy. Based in London, Leeds and Manchester, Addleshaw Goddard employs over 1,300 people in total, 700 of which are lawyers, and is recognised as one of the UK’s leading legal advisors. Every year, the company recruits approximately 50 trainee solicitors, and it is these candidates and other employees who are the vanguard of the company’s corporate social responsibility programme.
The Graduate Recruitment Manager at Addleshaw Goddard, explains the philosophy behind CSR in the organisation. “As well as ensuring that our people thrive at work, the firm also takes its responsibilities to the wider community and the environment very seriously,” he says. “To this end, we have set up a team, sponsored by the Governance Board, to ensure that we meet these commitments.
Apart from looking for new ways in which graduates can work while having a minimal impact on the environment, they have the opportunity to undertake a wide range of ‘pro bono’ and charitable work that supports local communities. People are encouraged to come forward with ideas for initiatives that fit with the company’s broad themes of education, social inclusion and access to justice.”
Initiatives invariably require direct participation, such as graduates supporting other staff in offering free legal advice at the Springfield Legal Advice Centre in South London and St Georges Crypt Trust in Leeds. Graduates are also proud to help support charities such as The Prince’s Trust, for which the Manchester Office has committed to raise £100,000 in three years, and the National Autistic Society. In addition, Addleshaw Goddard graduates also work with a number of not-for-profit organisations, such as Business in the Community and the Business Education Partnership, who organise reading and mentoring schemes in local schools.
Habitat for Humanity
The company’s philanthropy also reaches beyond the UK. Graduates can get involved before they even start their training contract by spending a week overseas with Habitat for Humanity – an international charity dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide by building homes for families in need. Last year and this year, for example, Addleshaw Goddard is sending up to 40 of its graduates to Cluj in Romania to help homeowners and other volunteers build and renovate simple, decent homes. The company pays for graduates’ travel, accommodation and other costs. In return, it asks them to make a donation to the local community once they have started their training contract.
“Through this programme, our graduates are making a real and lasting difference to people’s lives,” says the Graduate Recruitment Manager . “At the same time, they experience a new culture, build relationships with fellow trainees and develop skills that will prove vital when they return home – such as working successfully as part of a team.”
Addleshaw Goddard’s innovative approach to graduate recruitment doesn’t stop there. The company prides itself on having one of the most enjoyable working cultures around, and through the website, candidates can listen to podcasts and vodcasts where current trainees talk frankly about their time at the company – including the highs, the lows, and what they’re enjoying most. This was recently taken to the next level with the launch of the Addleshaw Goddard ‘Vox Box’. Using a mobile booth not dissimilar to the ‘Diary Room’ on TV’s Big Brother, it toured the country visiting fairs, providing graduates with a unique space where they could have their say. “Legal students opened up like never before, offering us an exclusive window on their world,” says the Graduate Recruitment Manager . “From undergraduate communications to their work/life balance and everything in between, they have come in their droves and spoken eloquently about what a law career means to them in the 21st century.”
Addleshaw Goddard doesn’t just pay lip service to a good work/life balance – it’s a firm with a conscience, which takes its corporate social responsibilities seriously and works hard to promote diversity and equality of opportunity for all.
Posted: 26/04/2010 14:41:12
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