Colin Biggers & Paisley has launched its first reconciliation action plan (RAP).
“Reconciliation is about understanding the histories, cultures and experiences that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have had in Australia, and using this understanding to guide positive action,” the firm said.
Colin Biggers & Paisley has committed to adopting a set of principles to guide the practice to work in a respectful and impactful way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and people.
It has also committed to supporting an inclusive culture in the firm to create unity in its community and positive race relations. The firm has also committed to promoting, protecting, and enhancing legal rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the firm’s pro bono program, with a focus on access to justice, rule of law, equality, and non-discrimination.
Colin Biggers & Paisley also said that it will use its business as a mechanism to provide opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a proactive way to redress historical imbalances in the community. It also said that it will equip its people with knowledge about different histories and cultures, enabling them to be active champions of reconciliation at work, with clients, in the legal profession, and in the broader community.
The firm said that a key feature of its successful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Islander community partners is that they are guided by the communities they have partnered with.
“We take a whole-of-client view to each community partnership. We turn our minds to the challenges our community partners have and the resources and passions that our practice can offer and we match these together,” said Nick Crennan, managing partner. “Our contribution is across a number of areas including pro bono legal advice, volunteering, human resources, finance and marketing. The relationships we build with our community partners not only strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but supports an inclusive culture in our practice.”
The firm said in its RAP that it aspires for all its lawyers to contribute at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year to disadvantaged members of the community. It said that has developed its first RAP because it’s a natural evolution of its involvement in the community.
The firm has also formed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships consultative group, which includes Crennan; senior partner Dunstan de Souza; partners Duane Keighran, Andrew Murray, and Stephen Thompson; responsible business manager Marlo Perry; and solicitor Kerry O’Brien.
“We believe reconciliation is an opportunity to create positive change and help achieve greater justice and social equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is our hope that together we will be active champions of reconciliation at work, with our clients, in the legal profession and in the broader community,” said Thompson, who leads the firm’s pro bono group.