29 July 2016

By trainee solicitor Hannah Craig

Corporate responsibility is an important part of life at Burges Salmon and since I joined the firm as a trainee back in 2014 I have had the opportunity to get involved in many charitable projects that give something back to the local community. Volunteering days are strongly encouraged at Burges Salmon and as such, we are granted two days per year to get involved in local charity work in the Bristol area. One day is an ‘individual volunteering day’ which allows you the opportunity to decide which charity you would like to volunteer with and the second day is a ‘team volunteering day’ during which your whole department gets involved in a local project.

As a first year trainee I used my individual volunteering day to volunteer at the Wild Goose Cafe which is a project run by Crisis Centre Ministries providing food, support and advice for those in extreme poverty and need. During the day we prepared and served breakfast, lunch and dinner, assisted in restocking supplies and cleaned all the facilities ready for the following day. This project relies heavily on volunteers in order to open and properly run the service so being able to use my individual day to assist this charity was fantastic. For the team volunteering day this year I joined the projects department and we visited Caen Hill, Devizes to volunteer with Canal & River Trust to assist in lock gate painting and clearing the local forest area. Thankfully the weather was also kind to us which made for a great team day out!

During my seat in the employment department I was involved in other volunteering opportunities such as attending the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) with another member of the employment team in order to provide some initial pro bono employment advice to a number of clients identified by CAB as requiring this service. Having previously volunteered at CAB during my time at university I am aware of how invaluable this initial advice is for clients who are trying to decide what the best course of action is regarding a potential employment dispute and what other options might be available to them in order to avoid the cost and time of litigation.

As a trainee in the employment department you can accompany other junior lawyers in the team to volunteer at the Avon & Bristol Law Centre as well as BRAVE (the Bristol and Avon Enterprise Trust) which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation based in Bristol which provides support and advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses. As well as providing help to individuals with their employment concerns, volunteering at CAB, ABLC and BRAVE appointments also allows junior lawyers to gain experience and confidence in advising clients in a number of different and often challenging scenarios.

Being part of a firm that actively encourages and supports its employees to get involved in such a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the local community is something to be proud of and I am already looking forward to planning my next individual volunteering day!

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Holly Fey

Holly Fey Head of Resourcing

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