We aim to create long-term, sustainable solutions to social challenges and invest our resources where we can have a substantial and long-term impact, addressing key societal issues for our sector.

At the same time, we ensure that our people have the freedom to engage with community groups and charities, addressing issues they care most about.

Tackling social inequality

Through our network of offices in emerging markets, we support many developing countries to transition from aid-led to private sector-led economies. We do this by:

  • working with governments to identify and remove barriers to foreign direct investment;
  • introducing our clients to opportunities for inbound investment;
  • creating new local jobs; and
  • supporting skills transfer and capacity building.

We undertake long-term outreach work in collaboration with a range of community partners, including charities, schools, universities, and government, both at local and national levels. By collaborating, we ensure that our work aligns to the SDGs, addresses critical issues, and tackles the root cause of inequality to drive sustainable change.

Breaking down social barriers through Head Start

Run in several of our locations internationally, our Head Start programmes support talented young people who face social, economic or cultural barriers to entering and succeeding in the legal profession. Head Start helps students increase confidence, build networks and gain knowledge through a mixture of internships, skills training and mentoring. Read more in section 4.0 Our society of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.

Head Start around the world

  • In the UK, our Head Start programme currently supports 95 students from six cities.
  • In Australia, the programme supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Run in partnership with CareerTrackers, the programme is part of our Reconciliation Action Plan.
  • In China, Head Start supports eight law students who come from remote and rural parts of China.
  • In Kenya, Head Start launched in June 2021. The five-year programme is currently supporting 20 students, and is run in partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank.

Global Scholarships Programme

Alongside our social mobility initiatives, we also work to nurture future lawyers and build legal capacity in less developed countries through our Global Scholarships Programme. Each year the programme supports students (known as DLA Piper Fellows) based throughout Africa, South and West Asia, the South Pacific and Latin America. Over their bespoke two-year scholarship, Fellows have their full tuition paid and receive mentoring, internships, training and career preparation designed to develop their skills, confidence and networks. The programme currently supports 59 Fellows from 18 countries. Read more in section 4.0 Our society of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.

Fundraising and donations

We have a longstanding commitment to work with global partners to raise funds for issues and organisations our people care about. Throughout 2020, we donated and raised funds totalling GBP276,348 to support vulnerable individuals and communities. Of this, 70% came directly from fundraising focused on supporting people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's next:

We're focusing on developing our approach to managing our societal impact across four key areas – understanding the impact of our advisory services, harmonizing our approach internationally, contributing to the UN SDGs, and leveraging all parts of our business more effectively. Read more in section 4.0 Our society of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.