Slew of law firms embrace growing B Corp movement

Brocklesby: Certification is hugely beneficial

Several more law firms have become B Corporations, ranging from a long-established London firm to a niche disputes practice.

The new arrivals swell the ranks of law firm B Corps, which balance profit with purpose, to 20 in total, plus some unregulated providers such as Obelisk Support.

Alison Broadberry, managing partner of Edwin Coe, said the process of becoming a B Corp (with B standing for ‘benefit’) took “a huge amount of work” and was particularly challenging for big firms.

Ms Broadberry said the law firm, which provides a full service from its offices in Lincoln’s Inn and has around 190 staff, became a B Corp because it was “the right thing to do”.

She went on: “We were doing so many good things already. This seemed a way of bringing them all together under the same umbrella and focusing our energy.

“It has taken a huge amount of work over a period of two years. You have to submit massive amounts of documents, policies and evidence. It’s like an audit and it all has to be reviewed. The process is very thorough.”

Ms Broadberry said she formed a steering committee with chief executive Tim Nash and then recruited volunteers for the five ‘pillars’ of the certification process – governance, workers, community, environment and customers.

“Everyone worked together to flesh out what was happening already, perhaps in a sporadic way. You have to not only do things, but say you do them. People should not go into this expecting it to be easy”.

Ms Broadberry said becoming a B Corp was “not on the radar” of many large firms in London, and it was always “much more challenging” for big firms to get everyone to agree on anything. Instead, she expected smaller or regional law firms to lead the way.

Ignition Law, a commercial law firm aimed particularly at start-ups and SMEs, said B Corp accreditation underlined its commitment to “doing business the ‘right way’ and sustainably”.

Ignition, launched in 2015, began as a trading name of consultant-led law firm gunnercooke, but is now a separate firm, with over 30 solicitors and consultants.

Alex McPherson, founder and partner at Ignition, commented: “It’s been a massive amount of work behind the scenes but our clients have been incredibly encouraging and supportive.

“Being a B Corp signifies a commitment to being held accountable for social and environmental performance through regular assessments. It firmly aligns with our long-term strategy of being a ‘force for good’ and our desire for continuous improvement.

He went on: “Increasingly we’re finding that business owners and leadership teams want to work with people who share similar values and walk-the-walk rather than just talk-the-talk.”

Bellevue Law, founded in 2014 to offer lawyers “completely flexible and agile working”, has also become a B Corp.

Four years ago, Bellevue became the first law firm to sign up to the Good Business Charter – an ethical business initiative that includes commitments to employee wellbeing and paying suppliers quickly.

The law firm specialises in employment law, litigation, regulation and private client work, and has over 20 solicitors and consultants.

Florence Brocklesby, founder of Bellevue Law, commented: “I created Bellevue Law with ethical business at its heart, so I’m very proud that we are now a B Corporation. Achieving certification is a testament to our strong values, ethical practices and commitment to ESG.

“As a relatively small firm, certification has required significant time and resources, but with commitment this has been not only achievable but also hugely beneficial to the firm, its people and our clients.”

Artington Legal, a London-based commercial law firm with two directors, founder Tad Ostrowski and Alison Morjaria, and 14 solicitors, became a B Corp last month.

The firm said this was about “being a better business and recognising that we cannot be a success to the detriment of those around us e.g., our staff, our clients, our stakeholders, the wider society and the environment.

“As individuals and organisations recognise this, they will seek out businesses they can trust to work with.”

Small Surrey firm Hartley Law became a B Corp earlier this year, declaring: “Our inclusion in the B Corp movement means that we are actively contributing to a global shift, moving away from profit-focused models that benefit only a few towards an economy that values the well-being of all people, communities, and the planet.”

Another newcomer is AWO, a data rights law firm and consultancy based in the UK and Belgium; the regulated law firm is registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority as HNK Litigation. The legal work is overseen by solicitor Ravi Naik.

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