As a law firm, we know that we are not the experts in addressing disadvantage. What we do have, however, are skills and resources to support the charities who are our focus and community partners.
At the heart of our contribution to the communities in which we live and work are our people, who generously commit their time, money, skills and enthusiasm through volunteering, fund raising, workplace giving and in-kind support.
Our Community Connect program brings the Firm's values to life and strengthens and enriches the Firm's culture. It focuses on addressing disadvantage and facilitating access to justice through utilising the skills, resources and enthusiasm of our people. Some of those skills have been quite niche: we've climbed mountains with children with cerebral palsy, held mock job interviews in schools, written letters to kids in disadvantaged schools, and set up mobile libraries for people living on the streets. We have 25 community partnerships nationally, and support local communities all over Australia.
It's backed up by the Clayton Utz Foundation, a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Since 2003, the Foundation has supported over 300 charities with $13.8m in grants, including multi-year grants to provide secure continuous funding. The Firm covers all administration costs. The Foundation's accounts are externally audited and available on the Commission's website along with the Annual Information Statement.
We don't accept direct applications and sponsorship requests, because applications are made by our people on behalf of the community organisations and charities with which they work.
Pro bono is a fundamental part of Clayton Utz.
From the beginning, our Pro Bono work has always been about access to justice. We act for low income and vulnerable people who cannot obtain Legal Aid, and for not-for-profit organisations which support them. Over a quarter-century, we have made pro bono work a part of every lawyer's everyday practice.
You can learn more about our Pro Bono practice here.
Trust, respect and co-operation underpin our approach to Reconciliation.
We launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2010. Our current RAP formalises our commitment to make a positive difference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It sets targets that we hold ourselves to meeting through our Pro Bono work, community partnerships, procurement practices, and the Clayton Utz Foundation. It's overseen by our RAP Working Group, and informed by an external First Nations Adviser. So far, our work towards meaningful Reconciliation has included:
- First Nations Traineeship Program and interns
- Joining Supply Nation. In FY22, we procured over $432,000 worth of goods and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, well above the legal service average.
- Giving pro bono advice to start-up First Nations-owned businesses that might otherwise not be eligible for pro bono assistance as commercial enterprises.
- Support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and The Voice.
- Direct involvement of Clayton Utz partners and employees with First Nations charities and those working with First Nations peoples across Australia by volunteering and fundraising through Community Connect, our community engagement program. Organisations we work with include Waalitj Foundation, Wayside Chapel (Aboriginal Cultural Centre) and Stars Foundation
Health & Wellbeing
Our 2022-2025 Health & Wellbeing Strategy, Embrace, is all about supporting everyone at Clayton Utz to embrace a better day, in a way that suits their individual needs. Embrace encompasses all forms of working, and all domains of wellbeing.
That work builds on some pioneering efforts to address health concerns in the profession.
We were one of the firms launching Resilience@Law in 2010 to raise awareness and understanding of the impact of depression and anxiety in the legal profession.
We are proud to be a founding member of The Corporate Mental Health Alliance Australia, an alliance of Australian businesses dedicated to providing mentally healthy workplaces. As a member, we commit to taking action within the firm to support our people's mental health, and to collaborate with other members to improve resources and research.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)
Our D&I strategy focuses on creating an inclusive workplace through a combination of building a diverse team (visible and invisible), acknowledging and leveraging the intersection of diversity streams, developing inclusive leadership skills, and ensuring that D&I is considered in all that we do. We want our people to feel included and that they belong. We acknowledge the importance of diversity of thought at the firm.
Underpinning our D&I strategy are multiple streams: Gender, LGBTIQ inclusion, Cultural Diversity, Accessibility (Disability) and Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander peoples, in addition to flexible working. Our detailed objectives and progress under these streams are outlined in our D&I Year in Review, but some highlights are:
- Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI): AWEI now stands as the definitive national benchmark on LGBTQ workplace inclusion and comprises the largest and only national employee survey designed to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture as well as identifying and non-identifying employees.
- Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA): Clayton Utz is an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality and has held this citation for 13 years; we're also now a Platinum Employer, the top tier ranking for LGBTQ inclusion.
You can learn more about our D&I strategy and its results here.
Accessibility & Inclusion Action Plan
"Disability" is a broad term and includes physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological, physical disfigurement, immunological and learning disabilities. We recognise that over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. We want to create an environment and culture at Clayton Utz that enable our people with all types of disability, and those who care for someone with a disability, to succeed. We also want to improve accessibility and inclusion for our clients.
We are proud to have registered our Accessibility & Inclusion Action Plan with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Our Accessibility & Inclusion Action Plan focuses on seven priority areas and includes a focus on inclusion through recruitment of people with a disability, creating premises that are inclusive, and accessible technology. We are also a Silver member of the Australian Network on Disability.
Modern slavery and human rights
Clayton Utz does not tolerate modern slavery within its business and supply chains. We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity and transparency in all business dealings, and having effective and reasonable systems and controls to reduce the risks of modern slavery within our business or our supply chains.
We have established a policy framework to combat modern slavery. The framework includes the Clayton Utz Modern Slavery Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct, and is reviewed annually.
Our Modern Slavery Statements are published on the Modern Slavery Register and on our website.