“We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the Country were we work. We recognise their continuing connection to the land and waters, and thank them for protecting this coastline and its ecosystems since time immemorial. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations people present today.”
Making a difference
We firmly believe that lawyers don’t merely have a duty to the court and to their clients — we also have a duty to behave with the utmost integrity and humanity. This belief runs through everything we do. It’s because we believe that actions speak louder than words that we do pro bono work, get involved in charity fundraising, promote social equity causes and do whatever we can to minimise our impact on the environment.
In 2014, Swaab became a signatory to the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation (now known as (MINDS COUNT) charter guidelines and began financial support for the organisation. Less than a year later managing partner Mary Digiglio became a Board Member.
Founded by Marie and George Jepson, the Foundation was originally named the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation in honour of their late son, a young law graduate and writer who, in 2004, took his own life after struggling with clinical depression. In 2018, the Foundation was renamed to Minds Count Foundation.
As the facilitator of information in the area of mental health, the Foundation has released the Workplace Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines, a voluntary framework for legal organisations to fulfil thirteen workplace factors and promote a psychologically healthy legal workplace. Establishing itself as a reference point and facilitator of information and research in the area of depression and anxiety in the legal profession. MINDS COUNT is an independent, charitable organisation, fully operated by volunteers. The Foundation’s objective is to decrease work related psychological ill-health in the legal community and to promote workplace psychological health and safety.
What does Minds Count do?
- Disseminate information on activities, research and initiatives which will help decrease the incidence of depression and anxiety
- Foster collegiality across the legal fraternity, medical, insurance and other parties engaged in the subject matter
- Communicate successful initiatives to support best practice
- Identify areas of duplicated effort (research, curriculum design, toolkits and cultural change initiatives) to ensure allocation of resources and learnings are leveraged
- Promote innovative thought and strategic direction in the profession
- Be an incubator for new ideas and initiatives that support better mental health outcomes
- Present the Annual Minds Count Foundation Lecture since 2006. The annual lectures were created to provide a forum for the legal community to come together and discuss the issues we face as a profession regarding depression and anxiety. These lectures are aimed at creating education and awareness while also finding strategies to help improve the lives of those working in or associated with the profession
We have a formal policy on sustainability, the five pillars of the firm’s sustainability initiative are people, community, environment, pro bono, and supply chain. Sustainability is regarded as an integral part of our business management practice. Our sustainability committee comprises of partners and staff who take responsibility for each pillar of the sustainability initiative. We are signatories to the Law Council’s Diversity Equality Charter, Charter for the Advancement of Women, and Law9000 certified.
Pro Bono work
Our firm has a long history of doing legal pro bono work, both informally and through Justice Connect and the Arts Law Centre of Australia. Our lawyers have served on boards and steering committees, given pro bono commercial and intellectual property advice, acted in matters referred to us by PILCH, assisted charities with corporate governance and served as pro bono general counsel for not-for-profit organisations. Our firm regularly assembles a team of lawyers and support staff to participate in the Walk for Justice, an event which celebrates the pro bono ethic of the legal profession, as well as its commitment to the practice of law in the public interest. We are proud that our lawyers have assisted many organisations working for the public good, including:
- Tour de Cure
- Kids Cancer Project
- Melanoma Foundation
- Cystic Fibrosis Australia
- Make A Wish Foundation
- Camp Breakaway
- Starlight Foundation
- Carers NSW
- Bondi Icebergs
- Hannah’s Foundation
- Humane Society International
- Humane Research Australia
- Sydney Rugby Union
- Royal Australian Institute of Architects
- NSW Parents Council
We believe that our combined staff efforts can make a big difference. It is part of our firm’s culture that all of our staff take on fundraising challenges with energy and enthusiasm. Each year we support a number of charities by participating in team events, seeking sponsors and holding shared lunches with a collection of donations from staff. The partners of the firm match donations received from staff on a dollar for dollar basis. We have supported a wide range of charities including:
- Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (Cancer Council)
- Jeans for Genes Day (Children’s Medical Research)
- Red Nose Day (SIDS and Kids)
- Pink Ribbon Day (Cancer Council)
- Movember (Prostate Cancer Foundation and Beyondblue National Depression Initiative)
- Wesley Mission food drive
- World’s Greatest Shave (Leukaemia Foundation)
We are proud to be helping to save lives by donating to the Australian Red Cross Service through the Red25 group donation program. Red25 is a unique, life-saving social responsibility program working towards ensuring 25% of Australia’s blood donations are secured. Our staff regularly donate to the Australian Red Cross Service, enjoying the time spent with each other whilst doing our part to make a meaningful difference in someone’s life.
A founding member of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AUSLSA), an industry-led association with a mission to work collaboratively to promote sustainable practices across the legal sector. Swaab is committed to our initiatives, both simple and complex, we have introduced stationery recycling drives, waste recycling, and reducing power usage through such initiatives as meeting room lighting reductions and utilities such as follow me print to avoid unnecessary printing. We continue to encourage a paper-lite approach to encourage everyone to reduce paper use. For example, view the 2023 AUSLSA Legal Sector Sustainability Insights Update
Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
We are proud to be a corporate alliance partner of The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Australia, which is part of a global network of more than 40,000 in-house counsel employed by over 10,000 organisations in more than 85 countries. Their mission is to advance the knowledge and understanding of Australian in-house practice through the provision of education for the public and the in-house profession, and advocacy, networking, and professional services to its members.
We are proud to be a major supporter of Spark Festival, Australia’s largest event for startups, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Spark Festival welcomes anyone who is curious to find out what it’s all about to take a peek and see where their skills might find a new home. Their attendees are getting started, or going global and are entrepreneurs, investors, inventors, innovators, students, executives, or just plain curious.
Advancement of Women Charter
As an inclusive workplace with a culture of support and understanding to all individuals, we have become a signatory to the Law Society’s Charter for the Advancement of Women to implement and commit to promoting and supporting strategies to retain women in the profession over the course of their careers which formalises policies and initiatives already in place at Swaab.
In support of the Charter, Swaab commits to:
- demonstrating leadership by removing gender bias and discrimination in the legal workplace;
- driving change in the solicitor profession by developing a culture that supports the retention and promotion of women from all backgrounds;
- implementing recruitment and promotion strategies that include gender diversity and gender pay equity as important considerations;
- promoting mentoring and sponsorship of women in the solicitor profession;
- encouraging and facilitating flexible work practices to support a better balance of professional and other commitments;
- ensuring that sexual harassment, or any form of bullying in the workplace, is not tolerated;
- establishing procedurally fair, safe, accessible and transparent sexual discrimination and harassment complaints processes; and
- establishing training to protect complainants from victimisation, encouraging bystanders and others to report and ‘call out’ offensive and intimidating behaviour.