Firms pledge their commitment to indigenous Australians

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A number of Australian law firms have committed to programs to work with indigenous communities this week.
Lander & Rogers has launched a reconciliation action plan to formalise the firm’s work with indigenous communities.
Joanna Renkin, pro bono partner, says that cementing the work the firm is doing by writing a Reconciliation Action Plan, was a good way to set clear objectives and measure their contribution.
“Reconciliation Australia, with the support of business and government, have really been promoting RAPs as a practical step for businesses and organisations to make a contribution to closing the gap,” she said.  “Having a RAP means we can really contribute to reconciliation more broadly and in a more structured and measurable way.”
In writing the plan, Renkin said that the firm consulted extensively with the organisations that they are supporting.
“We’ve really talked a lot to the organisations we work with in order to make the RAP realistic,” she said.  “We value the relationships we’ve built and we think they’ve got a lot of integrity – we think our people are genuinely engaged in reconciliation.”
While the firm has been involved with a number of different programs over the years, Renkin said that she hopes that having a formal plan will encourage more staff members to get involved.
“We certainly believe that our firm and the wider Australian community can be enriched through building cultural understanding – we have always felt that there’s always more to learn and we think that the RAP will help us achieve a way of building on those learnings,” said Renkin. 
Earlier this week, Herbert Smith Freehills and Gadens were among the 12 organisations to sign a ten year agreement with CareerTrackers. The partnership will see those organisations provide 3,500 internships to indigenous university students over the next decade. The program assists indigenous tertiary students to build their skills for a career in the private sector.