To us, innovation is not a buzzword. It is a cornerstone on which our business is founded. One of our Core Values states we must 'be open to new ideas, to think creatively, to look for innovative solutions, neither bound by formality nor constrained by convention'. In adhering to this we are able to provide our clients with the highest quality legal services – but that's not all a commitment to innovation can do. We believe that, in the same way that innovative thinking has a positive impact on our clients and our business, it can have a positive impact on society. Created in 2014, the purpose of our Innovation Fund is to recognise interesting and exciting projects which have innovation at their heart and are capable of delivering a wider societal impact.
Often these projects will encompass issues that are close to the Firm, from children's rights to developing young people to celebrating entrepreneurship. Each year we are able to lend financial support to the amount of £50,000 for projects that excite and inspire, projects that encourage us to keep innovative thinking and innovation at the core of our practice.
Please see below for details of our projects.
Outset Teen Tours
The Photographer's Gallery Teen Tours is an educational programme designed to empower disadvantaged young people. Comprising a series of public talks researched and delivered by speakers aged 13-19, it recruits young speakers from underachieving schools and youth centres in areas of economic or social deprivation. Using real life, work-based situations, Teen Tours supports young thinkers through research, rehearsal, delivery, feedback and follow-up, giving them an opportunity to develop their critical thinking and public speaking skills in relation to exhibitions. In turn this offers broad audiences new perspectives on the exhibitions based on the young speakers' experiences and ideas.
Breaking Barriers works with refugees to help them find meaningful employment which is commensurate with their skills, experience and qualifications. This in turn helps with their successful settlement in, and integration with, local communities. In 2016 we supported a photographic exhibition, "Freedom is not Easy", which aimed to humanise refugees and increase public understanding of the circumstances from which the individuals fled. Building on its success, in 2017 we are supporting a new exhibition, "Claiming a new place on earth" a series of portraits of young refugees recorded in the place they aspire to work in the future.
Restorative Justice Council
The process by which victims are able to communicate with offenders to ask questions and explain the impact of the crime is becoming increasingly embedded in the adult and youth justice systems. Less well known, but equally effective, restorative practice is the wider application of restorative justice outside of the criminal justice system, particularly in schools. Evidence demonstrates that this can be effective but the voices of these young people are rarely captured. This means we know relatively little about how they perceive restorative practice, why they think that it has helped them and what impact it has had. Working with the Restorative Justice Council, we will interview young people who have taken part in restorative processes about their lives and the impact that restorative practice has had on them, chronicling their stories from their own perspective and in their own words in order to promote this to three key audiences – young people, professionals working with young people and policy makers.
The Funding Network
Transforming lives through live crowd funding events, The Funding Network gives people a chance to come together with a philanthropic purpose to support causes they care about. It gives people the opportunity to pool their time and resources to fund charitable projects that catalyse social change by supporting charitable projects whose aim is to achieve positive, transformational social change for individuals, communities and the environment over the long term.
Why? Festival – Southbank Centre
We have been the lead sponsor for Southbank Centre's WHY? Festival (What's Happening for the Young) for three years running. The festival is inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, examining what rights young people have today through a programme of talks, debates and activities.
Voices in the Middle
We are working in partnership with the charity Kids in the Middle on the Voices in the Middle campaign. Our support for Kids in the Middle is another reflection of our ongoing campaign for children's rights to be heard. Our core values, inherent in the culture of the firm, centre around 'respect for the individual and the expression of talent' and the empowerment of individuals to 'fulfil their potential'. We believe these values should apply to society in its treatment of children, putting their wishes, needs and wellbeing at the forefront during parental disputes and separation.