Grapevine – Lawyer News Weekly

For those of you who woke up this morning to the sound of
Charlie Falconer on The Today Programme criticising claims
farmers – here’s the antidote.


For those of you who woke up this morning to the sound of Charlie Falconer on The Today Programme criticising claims farmers (see article) – here’s the antidote.

The more reputable – and, indeed, the richer – end of the profession provides a bit of a contrast. Earlier this week, The Guardian published its ‘Giving List’ of businesses involved in the community. The FTSE 100 gave 0.97 per cent of their pre-tax profits to good causes during 2003-04. Another table, compiled by PerCent Standard in association with Business In The Community (BITC), showed 116 organisations that gave more than 1 per cent.

And guess what? Lawyers did rather well. What’s more, all lawyers’ figures are calculated on time cost, not on charitable donations, which is a much greater indication of organisational buy-in to charitable projects.

In fact, Allen & Overy (A&O), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters did the City end proud. A&O was actually the biggest donor in relative terms in the entire list, giving a whopping £12.6m – more than AstraZeneca’s £12.2m. Freshfields chalked up £2m and Linklaters £1.7m.

Not all law firms are involved with BITC, so the list is self-selecting. Neither Clifford Chance nor Lovells, both big on pro bono and community affairs, were on the PerCent list, but their involvement is considerable. Clifford Chance sources say that in London alone the firm would have notched up £6m on the same measurement and at least £11m on a global scale.

But our favourite legal champion on the list was not a City firm; it was Essex’s finest, Birkett Long Solicitors, which contributed the equivalent of 1.7 per cent of its pre-tax profit to community action. That’s the same percentage as EMI and more than ICI or Marks & Spencer. Three cheers.