Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a fundamental part of our firm’s culture. As a firm, we have a collective responsibility to the communities in which we live and work and also to the environment around us.

We aim to have a positive impact through our four main themes of CSR activity:

  • pro bono legal advice;
  • community action;
  • charitable giving; and
  • environment.

Our CSR activities are developed and co-ordinated by our CSR Committee, consisting of staff from across the firm, and we strongly encourage all members of staff to support the various initiatives throughout the year.


Pro bono work

As a firm, we strive to utilise our unique set of professional skills in supporting disadvantaged communities and not-for-profit organisations. We have developed a holistic approach offering not only legal advice, but strategic leadership and financial support as well.    

Pro bono work is an important aspect of our CSR activity, allowing us to help organisations and individuals who may otherwise not have access to legal services. Lawyers from partners to trainees across the practice (including our future trainees undertaking the Legal Practice Course) are encouraged to take part and many make a significant contribution in this field.

These are some of the organisations that we work with:

Law Works

LawWorks provides free legal advice to small charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises in England and Wales via a network of volunteer lawyers. We provide a range of pro bono legal advice to LawWorks, in particular, in relation to property matters.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity raises money to enable Great Ormond Street Hospital to provide world-class care for its young patients and their families. Most recently we have provided pro bono legal advice in relation to the review of a wide range of commercial contracts and real estate matters.

Impetus Trust

Impetus Trust works to break the cycle of poverty by investing in charities and social enterprises that fight economic disadvantage. We assisted Impetus Trust in setting up a joint venture with The Sutton Trust, a well known educational charity. Impetus and Sutton successfully bid to set up the Education Endowment Fund (EEF), a £125m Government fund to improve the educational achievement of disadvantaged children. We are now advising the EEF on a variety of commercial, employment, property and other legal issues involved in the organisation, administration and governance of the fund.

London Youth

Supporting secondary schools in Newham, East London

Macfarlanes has partnered with EBP (the Education Business Partnership for Newham) for over ten years, supporting students at local schools and colleges develop the skills and qualities needed for the world of work. We run an annual mentoring scheme whereby our staff mentor 40 pupils on a one-to-one basis across three schools. Our staff support the students by discussing relevant career issues, conducting mock interviews, developing their confidence and presentation skills, and exploring problems which they may encounter. Students’ feedback shows that this programme has a significant impact on supporting their academic development, raising future aspirations and providing a valuable insight into the world of work.


Setting targets with my mentor was really useful because it helped me plan ahead, which is something I am normally bad at.
Year 10 mentee

Community Action

Our community action initiatives cover two main areas: supporting education and employability and supporting the community. We work to encourage young people from less privileged backgrounds to broaden their horizons and to aim high in their education and aspirations. We also play an active role in community projects in and around the area where we work.

Supporting Employability

Roll on Monday with St Mungo’s

Two years ago, St Mungo’s homeless charity partnered with legal publication RollOnFriday to launch their RollOnMonday scheme, which sees City firms employ work-ready homeless candidates for a minimum of three months on at least the London Living Wage. Macfarlanes was one of the founding supporter employers on this scheme. Over the last two years we have employed six people in various departments across the firm, thereby considerably improving their future employability prospects.


Supporting the Community

Community day

In May 2017 we launched the “Macfarlanes’ Community Day” as part of the firm’s CSR programme. Every member of staff may take one paid day per calendar year to volunteer for a firm-approved charity or community project such as:

  • A day centre for the homeless in Acton
  • A food bank in Islington
  • Community gardening for vulnerable people in Peckham
  • Digital skills session for older people in Hackney
  • Bike maintenance with asylum seekers in Southwark

This also forms part of our trainee solicitor induction.

"I recently arranged my Macfarlanes’ Community Day with a charity called Share Community. Share provides training and employment for disabled people. As part of this initiative, Share offers horticulture courses for disabled adults. Those teaching the courses are very knowledgeable and I learnt a great deal from them while volunteering, including from the students themselves."


Macfarlanes is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business operations through the adoption of sustainable practices and continual improvement in our environmental performance.

The firm is conscious of the impact on the environment through its operations and is working to be increasingly efficient in making a cleaner and safer environment, through:

  • reducing the firm's carbon footprint on climate change through the implementation of recycling and waste management initiatives;
  • reducing paper usage throughout the firm by double-sided printing and removing personal printers;
  • the “bike to work scheme”; and
  • continuing to reduce our carbon footprint by sourcing, where possible, goods from local suppliers and where applicable from sustainable stocks: for example, we purchased a bottling plant meaning that our water is bottled on site.

We will continue to monitor and comply with legislation, regulations, and codes of practice on environmental matters relevant to Macfarlanes through:

  • ensuring compliance with all existing and future waste management legislation as a minimum and adopting a proactive approach to forthcoming legislation; and
  • maintaining compliance with ESOS requirements.

Carbon Leapfrog

Carbon Leapfrog is a unique business-led not-for-profit organisation that channels pro bono services from top businesses into activities that deliver carbon reductions. Lawyers from our firm assisted with its creation.