Com­mu­ni­ty

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.

Men­tal health 

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

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:

  • 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

Char­i­ty Fundraising

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)

Red25

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 to someone’s life. 

Envi­ron­ment

We are 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. View the 2017 Legal Sec­tor Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Insight: Report of AUSLSA Members.

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 it’s members.

Spark Fes­ti­val

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.