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Solicitors and Trainees
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We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified professionals. Your application must be approved before you can formally register on the course. To apply please email the following documents to email@example.com :
- A completed application form (see below)
- Your Curriculum Vitae
- A short cover letter setting out your relevant experience
Please note, for non-members this course is subject to a supplemental fee of €100 bringing the total course fee to €1,650. No fees are required prior to approval.
Further information on this course including course structure, module scheme, faculty and workshop dates are set out below. Clicking on the links will bring you directly to that section or simply scroll through to read all the content.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) involves improving the workplace for the benefit of all employees, engaging and helping to improve the communities in which the business operates, and promoting an environmentally responsible business agenda. The growth in CSR initiatives has been immense in recent years, in matching the importance of good corporate citizenship and developing responsible organisational values. CSR policies and practices are now seen as central to driving core business objectives. The four pillars of CSR activity include the workplace, the community, the environment, and the marketplace. In relation to the workplace, CSR includes both the internal functioning of the workplace, encompassing approaches to diversity, inclusion, and workforce engagement, as well as emphasising responsible business approaches that take account of the environment, sustainability, human rights, social inclusion, and civic professionalism.
The importance of promoting, supporting, and developing CSR for law firms is relevant both in terms of the business context, but also in terms of firms playing a vital, more visible role in support of social issues that have a beneficial impact on their community and wider society. As CSR also includes activities internal to organisations, firms of all sizes can play a part by focusing on energy use and charitable donations as a start. The ethos of CSR has gained currency, particularly among young professionals and firms who view their remit as a broader, more inclusive one.
A strong and considered CSR function complements wider firm and organisational objectives, but also fosters a culture that contributes to staff retention and recruitment, diversity and inclusion, client loyalty and business development, corporate citizenship, strategic communications, and public relations.
In terms of delivering projects in the community, law firms are uniquely placed to develop value-enhancing and impactful CSR initiatives due to a strong understanding of the legal system, human rights, access to justice, and an understanding of public administration. Examples of law-firm CSR initiatives and partnerships in the community include: legal education initiatives with local schools, contribution to clinic/pro bono programmes, developing technology solutions to everyday legal/administrative issues, early stage legal advice to start-ups, as well as initiatives designed to assist companies achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals.
This course will provide a best-practice guide and a comprehensive understanding of the wide range of CSR philosophies and approaches.
Programme structure and approach to learning
This certificate will have broad-based appeal to all firms that value both their staff and the environment. It is designed for those setting up a CSR function or those who already have one in existence but wish to learn from best practice. The course will run over three months and includes six full days of training. The approach is by way of blended learning, providing ultimate flexibility for attendees, with more interactive hands-on sessions on the Saturday to allow participants to attend on-site. Workshops – a key feature of this course – are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected real-life case-study issues and analysis, with an emphasis on common pitfalls and scenarios encountered in practice. Speakers and CSR professionals deliver real-world examples of effective CSR programmes, the issues they have faced, and how they overcome obstacles.
The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:
Module 1: What is corporate social responsibility?
Why do CSR? Understanding the wide remit of CSR; the internal and external business cases for CSR; reviewing and assessing policies and practices across the business and aligning with best practice; identifying stakeholders and the issues important to them; the language and landscape of CSR, including sustainable business principles, return on community investment, business and human rights due diligence, purpose beyond profit and pro bono; identifying competencies and strengths and how to develop suitable projects with suitable community partners and civil society organisations.
Module 2: Running and managing an impactful CSR function
CSR governance and compliance requirements; project management; volunteer policies; Garda vetting; ethics and standards; monitoring and evaluation of project outcomes; showcase of CSR projects from firms; responsible PR and marketing of CSR activities: framing and storytelling, reputation management, and crisis control – case study.
Module 3: Design, build and improve your CSR function
Developing your business plan for CSR; programme and process mapping; effective data use; assessing your organisational culture, vision, mission for CSR; monitoring and evaluation,; suitable projects – ‘do’s and don’ts’, pitfalls and tips.
This course takes place over three block weekends (Friday and Saturday) over three months.
- Session 1: Friday 21 February 2020
- Session 2: Saturday 22 February 2020
- Session 3: Friday 20 March 2020
- Session 4: Saturday 21 March 2020
- Session 5: Friday 17 April 2020
- Session 6: Saturday 18 April 2020
Workshops are a key feature of this course. The Workshops are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on common pitfalls and scenarios encountered in practice. Speakers and CSR professionals deliver real-world examples of effective CSR programmes, the issues they have faced, and how they have overcome obstacles.
Workshops will take place on the following dates:
- Workshop 1: Saturday 22 February 2020;
- Workshop 2: Saturday 21 March 2020;
- Workshop 3: Saturday 18 April 2020.
Mixed-method assignment (2,500 words) and continuous assessment with online activities. Final assessment submission date: 15 May 2020.
Who should attend
This course is suitable for solicitors, trainees, accountants and other professionals; practice managers/HR managers; CSR function team members; those working in corporate governance; and those working in voluntary and civil society organisations.
We welcome applications from others who are suitably qualified. Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €100.
We have designed our courses to enable you to satisfy as much of your CPD requirement as possible. Time spent attending lectures and workshops in person or completing these via e-learning as part of your course can be claimed towards your annual CPD requirement. The number of hours of CPD that you may claim in relation to your diploma/certificate course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions. For further information, visit the CPD scheme and download the CPD booklet.
Riona Leahy, Solicitor, Course Leader: R.Leahy@LawSociety.ie.
*Every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in these pages is accurate and up to date. However timetables and course content are subject to change and date and time changes may occur due to factors beyond our control.
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