Clayton Utz is one of Australia’s leading law firms, with over 1,400 partners and employees in six offices around the country. Since 2012, Clayton Utz Foundation has provided three grants to TFL totalling $55,000, with the most recent grant just earlier this month for $20,000.
Clayton Utz has generously been supporting The Footpath Library for more than seven years. They not only provide us with pro bono legal assistance but they have also provided grants from the Clayton Utz Foundation as well as in-kind and volunteering support of the firm and their staff. National Manager – Community Connect, Lauren O’Shaughnessy explains how the corporate sector can play a vital role in enabling charitable organisations serve the community.
What does being a National Manager – Community Connect involve?
Community Connect is the firm’s social responsibility program and has two key aspects – community involvement and charitable giving, through the Clayton Utz Foundation. My role involves the strategic development and management of Community Connect. When I came on board in 2011, the program had been running for eight years and was at the stage where it needed a dedicated resource to take the program forward and grow our community relationships. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in the last three and a half years.
Why do you think it’s important that corporate sector partner with the community sector?
We strive to make pro bono and social responsibility a part of everyone’s experience at Clayton Utz. TFL provides lots of opportunities for our staff to get involved – through pro bono legal work, book collections and volunteering opportunities. We also want our contribution to be used efficiently and effectively and to support those in need in our community. We are confident that this is what happens when we work with TFL.
What have been some of the highlights since Clayton Utz have been partnering with TFL?
We enjoy a dynamic and multi-layered relationship, which involves pro bono assistance, grants from the Clayton Utz Foundation and the in-kind and volunteering support of the firm and our people.
Some highlights of our partnership:
- Hosting the launches of TFL in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and most recently Perth in February 2014.
- Assisting TFL to attain their deductible gift recipient status.
- Supporting the art career of one of TFL’s clients, Michael Kelly, by hosting him as “artist in residence” in our Sydney office in 2010 and 2013.
- Volunteering to give books and refreshments at the weekly mobile library in Sydney’s CBD.
You mentioned, staff volunteer with TFL. Do you volunteer?
I have been volunteering at the mobile library each month, since around the middle of the year. I help to hand out hot drinks and books to the community.
I have really enjoyed meeting members of Sydney’s homeless community and having the opportunity to talk to them in a relaxed environment at the mobile service. Talking to people about their reading interests is a great way to connect.
Why do you think providing books to homeless people matters?
Everyone should have access to a good book. They provide nourishment for the mind and soul, a way to relax, and give people a break from the stresses of day-to-day life.
What’s your favourite type of book?
I enjoy reading the classics. My favourite book is probably The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas. It is an epic tale, filled with fantastic characters.
What are you reading at the moment?
I have a few books on the go at the moment, including Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. It’s an eclectic mix, and I switch between them depending on my mood!