Freshfields values 2011 pro bono efforts at £8.8m in annual report

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has seen the amount of time devoted to pro bono and volunteering work by partners and employees fall by 11% over the last year, according to its 2010-11 corporate responsibility (CR) report.

The firm dedicated 49,743 hours worth £8.8m to pro bono and volunteering activities according to the report - with the hours tally significantly down on 2010.

It attributed the drop to a change in strategy meaning that it now targets fewer, more significant projects rather than multiple small pieces of work.

The total number of employees involved stayed static at 39%, with the firm stating that it wants this figure to increase to more than 50% over the next few years.

The goal to increase participation comes as part of a five-year CR strategy looking at ensuring all offices globally are contributing more. Nominated partners will be visiting the firm's offices over the coming months to look at how this can be achieved.

Freshfields has also outlined plans to set up an external CR advisory board made up of independent specialists that will include clients, sustainability experts and NGOs, to advise on best practice for CR and how to ensure continuity.

The report also shows that Freshfields reduced its carbon emissions by 12% compared with the previous year, and that it has received a B+ rating from the Global Reporting Initiative, for its report.

Finance partner Simon Hall who is responsible for CR at Freshfields said: "We have made tremendous progress since 1999 when the firm's CR programme was first formally launched.

"Our new five-year strategy is designed to build on our past successes and integrate a new set of common goals across the firm. We want to embed CR into every aspect of our work worldwide."

By Suzi Ring

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