We measure the success of our business not just on our financial performance and the legal services we provide, but also in terms of the social and environmental impact our business has on our community.

We continuously endeavour to develop our workplace for the benefit of our staff; facilitate health and wellness; integrate diversity into all our activities; and create an inclusive environment in which all can fulfil their potential. We also ensure a living wage for all those who work here, including our contract cleaners, and minimise our impact on the environment by operating in an environmentally and socially responsible way from day to day.
We engage in pro bono legal programmes where our lawyers provide legal advice for free or on a discounted basis to charities and those in need; support and engage in our local community; and act as trustees of local and national charities. Furthermore, we promote and participate in fundraising for charities and have a designated charity of the year; and provide legal services according to the highest ethical and professional standards.

SM&B 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.

- SM&B philosophy

Equality & Diversity

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 know about SM&B’s values and policy in this respect.

Of course we want to be embracing this policy to ensure we are legally compliant but we also believe equality and diversity help us maintain the benefits of a happy, fulfilled and motivated workforce and excel in what we do .

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 SM&B. 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.

 

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 provide 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.

  • SM&B attracts the best and the brightest employees to our firm and make sure they stay. A good track record in managing diversity will make us a preferred employer of choice, helping to win the war for talent. Applicants now commonly ask about our diversity programme, and they factor that into their employment decision.

  • The diversity within our team helps employees to understand our clients’ differing needs, and to satisfy their requests in this regard when they ask about our diversity record before instructing us.

  • Diversity leads to creativity and flexibility. Employees from varied backgrounds can bring different perspectives, ideas and solutions and challenge accepted views.

Fundraising

war-child sick-children

At the beginning of each year, the firm chooses a Charity of the Year from a shortlist of charities nominated by members of the firm, for 2016 our charity of the year was Voices in the Middle.

In past years, our chosen charity was War Child (Registered Charity No. 1071659). War Child is a small charity which provides education, training, health, protection, advocacy and other emergency programmes to children in conflict-affected countries and the Sick Children’s Trust. Fundraising activities included our annual quiz, which took place at Paramount in May, a baby photo competition, a World Cup sweepstake, Halloween bake sale, a festive holiday onesie/jumper day in December and the donation of the monies we save by sending our Christmas e-card.

Members of the firm are also invovled in their own fundraising initiatives. Several of our staff compete in races such as the Berlin Marathon and the Great City Race to raise funds for their favourite charities and we have a number of impromptu fund raising events at the firm throughout the year.

Pro Bono Policy

SM&B has a long history of providing pro bono assistance to those who might not otherwise be able to access legal representation and advice.

Through our in-house pro bono initiative, The Death Penalty Project, we provide 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.

Partners 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:

 

Financial means and resources – priority is given to those clients that are most in need of our help

Expertise – the proposed work must fall within our areas of legal expertise and specialism

Capacity – we must have capacity to take on the proposed work

Conflicts – as with all prospective work, checks will be run to determine any actual or potential conflicts of interest.

 

We are a signatory to The Law Society Pro Bono Charter, which underpins our approach to pro bono.

Fluorescent is an exciting new arts initiative for Soho sponsored by SM&B in collaboration with the Photographers’ Gallery.

The event ran in Soho for the first time over the weekend of 4-5 July 2015, and turned offices in the neighbourhood into a networked gallery of contemporary artworks.

This was a new kind of festival sponsored by SM&B in collaboration with the Photographers’ Gallery. Fluorescent celebrates the cultural mix that brings this great city alive and is designed as a contribution to the inspirational spirit of Soho. It brings artists and businesses together and creates a platform for innovative, contemporary artwork to be displayed in the lobbies, offices and board rooms of the workplace.