Mishcon de Reya has become only the third UK law firm to gain ‘B Corporation’ certification to show it balances purpose with profit.
It changed its LLP agreement last year “to embody our commitment to having a material positive impact on society and the environment”.
B Corporations, with B standing for ‘Benefit’, are for-profit businesses that meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”.
The not-for-profit B Lab organisation began in the USA, and now has over 4,000 members in 77 countries, including 500 companies in the UK.
Bates Wells was the first UK law firm to become a B Corp, in 2015, followed last year by Radiant Law.
Mishcon de Reya said it had “a longstanding relationship with B Lab” – the certification body – and over the last six years has advised more than 80 companies on the legal change as part of its pro bono support to the B Corp community.
Managing partner James Libson said certification was “an important pillar” in the firm’s “impact strategy”, with its aims of improving access to justice, encouraging and creating opportunity, making sustainability a reality and ensuring diversity in the legal profession.
“It is also a tangible manifestation of our status as a values-based business, with clear links to our core values and to our stated purpose to enable our clients and our own people to shape the world’s possibilities.”
Well-known B Corps include ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s and outdoor clothing company Patagonia.
In a separate development, Mischon has invested in DraftWise, a knowledge management platform based in New York which helps law firms produce high-quality contracts quickly. The law firm said Draftwise was being rolled out across the firm.
DraftWise was a member of the law firm’s MDR LAB, which supports tech start-ups in the legal space, and the investment is its fourth in a former LAB company.
The others are TimebyPing, a time automation company which automatically builds lawyer timesheets, Everchron, a litigation case management company which streamlines case preparation and Thirdfort, a digital onboarding app which reduces ID fraud and speeds up client onboarding.
Mishcon’s investment in DraftWise forms part of a larger seed round, with other investors including Global Founders Capital, Soma Capital and Hack VC.
Dan Sinclair, head of MDR LAB, said: “The whole purpose of MDR LAB is to engage new products and technologies that we think can help move the needle for Mishcon de Reya and the legal market.”
James Ding, CEO and co-founder of DraftWise, said the investment would signal the law firm’s “long-term commitment to our shared vision for empowering every attorney with the cumulative knowledge of their firm”.
The application window for the law firm’s next MDR LAB ‘improve programme’ closes at the end of this week.
It will run for 12 weeks and during that time, participants work with their target market, pilot and improve products, gain a better understanding of how legal services are provided and understand where lawyers and their clients, would benefit from new technology.