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07 April 2021

Pro bono partnership between Charles Russell Speechlys and Social Business Trust

Our partnership with Social Business Trust (SBT) is going from strength to strength. The month of March saw Simon Ridpath feature on SBT’s “The Purpose Podcast” and our data protection and privacy team delivered a webinar for SBT’s social enterprise charities.

Since launching our collaboration in 2019, SBT continues to be one of our flagship partners for pro bono and skilled volunteering projects, supporting a cohort of high growth potential social enterprise charities to scale-up their impact. As part of the campaign to celebrate SBT’s 10th anniversary Simon Ridpath was recently invited to take part in “The Purpose Podcast”, a series of conversations with leaders in the Social Business Trust network about corporate purpose. In the latest episode, Simon joins Simon Milton (SBT Trustee and Founder of Pulse Brands), Lucinda Case (Managing Director at Thomson Reuters) and Dave Dunckley (CEO at Grant Thornton) to discuss how listening to our clients and helping them to navigate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is critical and how a high impact pro bono practice is fundamental to purpose for a well-rounded and well-run supportive environment and a successful law firm. Listen to the episode in full here.

Commenting on our partnership with SBT, Simon outlined “You actually improve your lawyers by giving them access and exposure to the SBT cohort of charities, because it asks them to do what they do day in, day out and apply that to a different type of client, or different organisation with slightly different requirements. So it gives perspective and makes them better lawyers.”

Continuing our provision of pro bono legal advice during this crisis period to help SBT’s portfolio of UK charities and social enterprises under the SBT Rainbow initiative, Jonathan McDonald and Chris Ingram from our data protection and privacy team recently delivered a webinar giving practical guidance on data protection and contractual issues to be considered in respect of cyber security. The webinar addressed how to mitigate the risk of, and respond to, a security incident or personal data breach. This was the third session delivered by CRS to support organisations to respond to the evolving situation in light of COVID-19, with previous sessions covering employment law as well as good governance and board leadership.

Nikki Labrum, Technology & Product Director, The Brilliant Club, attended the recent webinar and spoke on how helpful taking a proportionate approach is – “The presenters from CRS were clearly very knowledgeable. The point they kept coming back to about a proportionate approach to preparation and mitigation was helpful, as sometimes these areas can feel overwhelming, especially for smaller teams.

Earlier in the quarter, our collaboration with SBT saw Jason Saiban appointed to their newly established Digital Advisory Board (DAB), a group which sits alongside SBT's Investment Committee. The role of the DAB is to guide SBT's approach to digital services and initiatives – and through SBT – to help shape and improve the digital strategies and capacities of the organisations SBT supports. The DAB is supported by all of SBT’s corporate partners, each bringing their own perspective, competencies and networks to help SBT support the portfolio on digital. Jason is working alongside technology leaders from our fellow SBT corporate partners: Bain, Permira, Thomson Reuters, EY and Refinitiv.

“There are many ways to volunteer with SBT using professional business skills and we are delighted that Charles Russell Speechlys are involved in every one of them!” - speaking about our collaboration, Adele Blakebrough MBE, CEO of SBT outlined “‘From jumping on the phone to give a charity some urgent advice, to being part of our digital advisory board, to delivering business webinars, to being on our podcast - the CRS cohort has been involved in it all. We are so grateful for this high calibre support and look forward to seeing the involvement of CRS employees grow further as we support charities and social enterprises to navigate COVID recovery’.

Listen to Simon Ridpath on corporate purpose and the rise of ESG in ‘The Purpose Podcast’, available on our Sustainability Hub. If you are interested in hearing more on our pro bono work through Social Business Trust please contact Sarah Farrelly.

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