The North East’s leading independent law firm for businesses, Muckle LLP, has been shortlisted for a national award for its voluntary legal work for worthy causes and charitable organisations.

Muckle LLP has been shortlisted in the category ‘Best contribution by a firm with a Regional Head Office’ in the national LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards 2017.

The awards recognise and celebrate achievement in legal pro bono work and the commitment of the legal sector in enabling access to justice and supporting individuals, communities and not for profit organisations. As one of the finalists, the shortlisting recognises the breadth and range of pro bono activity undertaken by Muckle.

Alasdair Douglas, Chair of the LawWorks Board of Trustees, said: ‘The LawWorks Pro Bono Awards are an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the commitment of law firms, in-house teams and the many individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to improve the lives of others. The number and quality of nominations has been high, demonstrating the scale and impact of pro bono. We are grateful to the judges, everyone who took the time to nominate, and congratulations to all the finalists.”

In 2017, Muckle LLP won the ‘Heart of the Community’ award for the Tyneside and Northumberland region for fourth time, in recognition of the care its people have shown in helping the communities where they live and work. It is an award that is aligned closely to Muckle LLP’s beliefs about the importance of being a responsible business, and reflects the work of a large number of people across the firm.

Speaking about the awards shortlisting, Muckle’s Senior Partner Hugh Welch, said: “As a responsible business and employer our pro bono activities are an integral part of our wider CSR activities.

“There are unacceptable levels of deprivation in the North East of England and as a leading business in the region we feel that we should not operate in isolation from the broader community and its many challenges. It is this commitment to our region that has driven the development of our CSR and wider community activities.

“Over the last 15 years we have achieved a considerable amount, but there is always more that we can do. This is why, over the last two years we have embarked on more initiatives to further extend our work and volunteer our support.

“We have entered into an arrangement with Skillsbridge, a local project which links charities with businesses. We asked them to focus on the West End of Newcastle and we are now helping three local projects there, including Success4All and JET.”

A recent independent report conducted by Goodlabs Consulting has also revealed the extent and breadth of Muckle’s commitment to giving back to the community it serves and the good causes in the region that it has supported over the last two years.

The report revealed the full spectrum of CSR work being undertaken by Muckle – not just for its extensive pro bono work but also for its commitment to helping the environment, financial grant-giving, staff volunteering and supporting young people’s journeys from education to employment. The comprehensive review revealed three impress ingredients to Muckle’s success: ambition, breadth and consistency.

The Goodlabs report states: “Within the legal sector, Muckle LLP occupies a position of leadership in the area of corporate social responsibility. The firm’s integrity and commitment has been demonstrated over two decades. There is a special sense of CSR vocation within the Muckle culture that is translated into leadership both within and beyond its moorings in the legal sector.”

Background information

Muckle donates 1% of its annual profits to a charitable fund which gives grants to local projects and charities. Since 2002, Muckle has donated more than £500,000 to its charitable fund and makes annual grants of £25-30,000. In the last 12 months, 23 local charities and projects have received grants from the charitable fund.

The firm actively promotes volunteering, with everyone in the firm entitled to two days’ annual paid leave to pursue volunteering opportunities. A third of employees have helped more than 60 organisations by acting as trustees of charities, school governors and volunteer coaches for a variety of educational and sporting activities.

Lawyers also provide valuable unpaid legal advice to a range of charities. Their pro bono activities over the last 12 months have helped over 50 charities and clients, amounting to over £77,000 worth of free legal advice. The Goodlabs report estimates that this figure is understated by 50%.

Muckle is committed to helping young people to overcome the legal barriers to entering the legal profession through its work with local schools and its inspiring careers programme. The work of Muckle’s green team monitors and minimises its environmental impacts.

The winners of the LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Law Society on Tuesday 5th December.