We are aware that the work of all business organizations has an impact on community and environment. For a law firm, this premise is twice true, not only from an internal point of view – we are a community of people with an ecologic footprint – but also from an external one: each of us must decide the modes, the contents and the beneficiaries of his or her consultancy and assistance, taking into account all the consequences (direct and indirect, immediate and medium or long-term) of the choices made.
For this reason, in line with a global movement connected to business culture, we have begun to evaluate our activity through the term and concept of sustainability.
The “Sustainability Model”
The first outcome of this effort was the adoption, in May 2020, of a “Sustainability Model”: this document enshrines the principles and values that inspire us, as well as our commitments to safeguard our ecosystem, labour dignity and human rights.
The Model is constructed around four fundamental policies (Enviornment, Diversity & Inclusion, Work and Human Rights, pro Bono), includes the law firm’s Charter of Principles and Values and the methods of impact measurment. It undergoes a revision every 3 years in order to keep pace with both the developments inside the law firm and the theories and practices of sustainability that have emerged and/or are more advanced.
Generating value for the law firm’s professionals and employees
The generation of social and environmental value within the law firm first and foremost passes through the firm’s Governance. In this respect, the main device is the Sustainability Committee, established in June 2020: it convenes once every two tweeks to discuss all things ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) in the RP Legal & Tax community. The committee is composed by partners, collaborators and employees, and includes also a trainee representative so that they can bring their pespectives and motions.
Among other things, the law firm commits to engage and train its professionals and employees through webinars on multiple topics, as well as other initatives relating to their psychophysical wellbeing, plus cultural initiatives and incentives for the use of alternative mobility means. Furthermore, we have implemented a smart working policy that is attentive to the people’s work-life balance.
The firm’s human value and identity are preserved and enhanced through “RP Alumni”, an association founded to promote the exhange of human and professional experience and to develop socially-relevant initatives among those who work or have worked for the firm.
Generating value for external stakeholders
In acknowledging the “social and constitutional relevance of the defence”, Article 9 of the Italian Lawyers’ Code of Conduct establishes the duty, for lawyers, to “exercise the profession with independence, loyalty, correctness, honesty, decoru, diligence and competence”. We believe that this assumption is the base to affirm the existence of an individual social responsibility of the lawyer as a professional, as well as a collective social responsibility on the part of the law firm as a professional association.
For RP Legal & Tax, this responsibility consists – as well as in the general duties mentioned in the Code of Conduct – in the promotion of pro bono with an effort in all the firm’s focus areas in order to facilitate the access to legal and fiscal assistance for organizations that operate for the realization of initiatives of collective interest and innovative projects. Every year, we will identify projects and initiatives to support, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2001, we were among the first law firms in Italy to launch an Impact & Sustainability focus area – today called ESG & Legal Impact – specifically dedicated to this ecosystem, with reference to both the Third sector and sustainability or impact investing.