Why your law firm should be a social enterprise
By Charlie Britten
12 Nov 2019
Every law firm has its own specific features. But being a social enterprise is something everyone should do.
The phrase corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one many people are at least vaguely familiar with. Those who have worked with larger firms will no doubt have had a briefing at or soon after induction outlining what it is all about.
All this is generally good, of course. There are many elements that this might include:
- Environmental friendliness
- Involvement with charities
- A conscious decision to avoid partnering with ‘unethical’ companies or activities
- Concerning yourself with issues of special interest to your client base
Why does being a social enterprise take things further?
Being a social enterprise is not just about good PR for law firms, positive though that is. By being genuinely involved in the community, you can help nurture a two-way sense of partnership and belonging. Quite simply, you are not something that exists apart from the community you are in; you are part of it.
Forever Manchester is the epitome of a charity that is rooted in its local area. It is uniquely dedicated to raising money to support causes and projects in and around the city; helping communities enhance their areas and provide opportunities for residents. Whether it is knitters in Stockport or musicians from Moston, Forever Manchester has helped get projects off the ground.
What should your approach be?
Each law firm should similarly give consideration to what the appropriate social enterprise activity might be for them. In the case of BeUniqueness, a Manchester base meant a locally-focused charity made the most sense. You may find something similar in your case.
However, you might decide you want to do something else. For instance, you could opt to focus on having an eco-friendly office, complete with features such as photovoltaic panels, ground source heat pumps, extra insulation to keep down energy use, energy-saving bulbs and a green roof. That is the kind of thing you can publicise in your legal content marketing to show you are a firm that truly walks the talk.
- Of course, if you did that you would not do it in isolation. For example:
- You might work with bodies that promote healthy environmental practices at work
- You could provide legal support to organisations that seek to protect the environment
- You can partner with companies supplying energy-saving appliances
How can this benefit your brand?
By doing all this, you can create a highly positive impact on your local area and impress your clients and prospective clients with your green marketing.
Indeed, whatever the cause, charity or other concern you get involved with, you can encourage your clients to do likewise.
All this can be part of your story, helping to illuminate your law firm marketing, add personality to your brand and offer something extra for your social media platforms. Indeed, that latter will be an arena where interaction will increase if you can be seen to be involved with something positive.
Not only will it enhance your reputation, but it will get people talking about you. If, in addition to that, you can encourage more people to support a worthy cause, it’s a win all round.
This is how it should be; there are too many companies who have CSR policies for it to be a completely unique selling point, but being a social enterprise does mean you should have a clear commitment to a cause or causes and can demonstrate this by your actions.
In addition, it can help to see what your rival firms are doing. Don’t copy them, but try to do something even better than them.
Why we believe in what we are doing
At BeUniqueness, our aim is to be involved closely with our local area, whether working with local law firms or supporting causes in and around Manchester. It’s not just about feeling at home here or looking good; it’s about building closer links across the board that will be to everybody’s benefit.