ELSA Queen Mary: A Glimpse at this Year’s CSR Series

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in different ways, ELSA Queen Mary has put in significant efforts to ensure the smooth execution of our events this academic year. 

Promoting and raising awareness for diversity and inclusion within our network has always been one of ELSA Queen Mary’s major aims. This year, apart from the promotion of awareness for this topic, we wanted to provide a platform where our members have the opportunity of being educated on new and related topics within diversity and inclusion. For this reason, we decided to enhance the Corporate Social Responsibility Series that was by introducing talks on topics such as Pro Bono, Mental Health, Women’s Leadership and LGBTQ+. The aim of the Corporate Social Responsibility Series is to delve deeper into corporate law firms whilst ensuring we maintain ELSA’s values of human dignity and cultural diversity. Through this series, our members have been introduced to leading lawyers, where they have learnt about them and their firm’s vision, and initiatives pertaining to corporate social responsibility. By the end of this academic year, we will have collaborated with leading lawyers from Slaughter and May, Reed Smith and DLA Piper.

CSR Series: Pro Bono with DLA Piper

In October, we had the privilege of starting off the series strong by discussing Pro Bono with Olivia Clark from DLA Piper. As UK Pro Bono Associate at DLA Piper, Ms Clark discussed the various projects that DLA Piper is currently undertaking such as representing asylum seekers at the European Court of Human Rights and helping refugees through the Samos project. Beyond these projects, our members were able to learn from Ms Clark’s inspiring journey into pro bono work and discover different career routes! 

CSR Series: LGBTQ+ with DLA Piper

In November, we invited four members from DLA Piper including Jon Hayes, Corporate Partner, member of the DLA Piper international board, and lead sponsor of Iris, which is DLA Piper’s LGBTQ+ network. We explored the importance of recognising LGBTQ+ members and the initiatives’ roles for the firm’s vision. Apart from discovering the amazing initiatives, the firm has taken to ensure inclusivity for LGBTQ+ members, hearing their experiences inspired the ELSA Network to unravel their role as allies in promoting inclusivity within the community. We had the privilege of hearing experiences from individuals at all stages of their legal career, from trainee to partner, which provided members with unparalleled insight into DLA Piper.

Upcoming CSR Events

In the month of March, we will be beginning a conversation on breaking the stigma surrounding Mental Health at Slaughter and May by experiencing the works of their Thrive Network and other initiatives the firm is undertaking during the pandemic to ensure the wellbeing of its individuals. Lastly, towards the end of March, our Reed Smith event will be ending off the series with a talk from a partner and member from the Women’s Initiative Network (WINRS) and Responsible Business Manager EMEA at Reed Smith who will be discussing the importance of D&I, with a focus on the importance on women’s leadership at the firm. 

Notwithstanding the virtual nature of the CSR Series this year, we have attempted to keep the collaborative and interactive nature of the series by having networking events and Q&A sessions with leading lawyers and have even heard of a few members who have set up virtual walls with our speakers to further learn about their amazing careers. Thus far, we have received amazing feedback from our members on the organisation and deliverance of the events and hope that we can continue this for the upcoming years. 

Please get in touch with Kimia Dardashti, VP Seminars and Conferences at ELSA Queen Mary through seminarsconferences.qmul@uk.elsa.org if you have any further questions or feedback on the CSR Series!

About the author

This blog was written by Kimia Dardashti, VP Seminars and Conferences at ELSA Queen Mary. Kimia is a third year law student who has been involved in ELSA at Queen Mary from her second year.

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