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North East firm the Endeavour Partnership has joined forces with the NSPCC in a novel fundraising scheme. The firm was approached by the Institute of Directors, which sponsors the NSPCC, to back the charity, but instead came up with a new way of supporting the group and its projects, which involves splitting fees on selected areas of legal advice.
The fee-splitting scheme is based on a similar arrangement with companies in other sectors. "We wanted to do something that was more proactive than just sending off a donation cheque," explains partner Julie Bruce. "I started to look at what we could do and thought, 'Well, it's a bit difficult for a law firm, unlike a business selling goods, where they can donate a percentage of their sales'. And then I thought, 'Why not? What's stopping us discounting some of our services in the same sort of way?'"
The niche seven-partner commercial firm is based on Teesside and was formed six years ago by four partners from the commercial arm of Middlesbrough firm Punch Robson, plus three partners from Eversheds. The idea behind the scheme is that the firm agrees to forego 20 per cent of its fees on certain services, and from that sum it donates 10 per cent to the NSPCC. The firm's clients also receive a 10 per cent discount, which they are encouraged to donate to the NSPCC. In other words, where Endeavour has charged £1,000, the firm will receive a reduced amount of £800. The client would pay £900, thereby receiving a discount of £100, and Endeavour will give a further £100 to the charity.
"We've just agreed the formal agreement with the NSPCC and have now written to all our clients giving them details," explains Boyce . The pilot scheme will run from this month until at least the end of September and will be available to both existing and new clients. If successful, Endeavour and the NSPCC plan to extend the scheme after its initial trial period.
The areas of work offered at this reduced rate include employment law (such as reviewing contracts and terms and conditions of employment, policies and procedures), company and commercial and commercial property. The firm offers clients that are interested in those areas a free health check. "Any remedial work is then carried out on a fixed fee basis, so that the client is fully aware of the cost before making a commitment to proceed," Boyce adds.
Endeavour has been involved in a number of charity events in recent years, including a sponsored staff weight loss challenge, which raised £1,000 for the tsunami appeal. John Hinman, corporate fundraising manager at the NSPCC, welcomes the Endeavour scheme. "The NSPCC is delighted to be working with the Endeavour Partnership," he says. "The initiative proposed by the leading law firm is a great way of raising vital income for our work. The promotion of the scheme is also a means of spreading the message that all children should be valued."