South Square’s Commitment to ESG

While we are a small entity, South Square takes its environmental, social and governance responsibilities very seriously, applying our core values to create an inclusive, sustainable and responsibly managed business.  In this section of our website we explain what Chambers is doing to address some of the key issues facing the Bar, and society more broadly. 

ENVIROMENTAL

We are an active member of the Bar Council’s Sustainability Network and have implemented a number of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact including: moving to a renewable energy provider and having a comprehensive recycling policy in place that covers paper (including shredding), cardboard, glass, plastics, batteries, toner cartridges and white goods and computer hardware (to WEE standards). 

SOCIAL

Access to the Legal Profession & Pro Bono Work

We work with a number of charities and initiatives that are committed to providing access to justice for all.  We are proud supporters of Advocate, a charity that provides legal assistance for people who cannot get public funding and cannot afford to pay for a barrister.

We also work with Pro Bono Connect,which helps barristers and solicitors collaborate on pro bono cases.

Our members take part in the Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme, known as CLIPS and we require all new tenants to conduct at least two sessions in support of CLIPS each year.

Further information can be found in the Fair Recruitment section of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion webpage.

Support for Charities

Members provide financial support to number of charities which support access to justice, including Advocate, the Free Representation Unit, which provides free legal representation for the public and advocacy experience for junior lawyers; and Support Through Court, which has 800+ volunteers offering support and guidance before, during, and after court, ensuring that those facing court alone feel prepared and supported in accessing justice.

We also work with the 3 Pillars Project, which is a sports-based mentoring programme for young people in custody and those recently released from prison.  Many of those taking part in the programme have little or no experience of work or the working environment, particularly in professional services.  We offer work placements to those who want to gain experience of office life in the city.

London Living Wage

We are a London Living Wage employer and we also ensure that all our service providers such as cleaners, plumbers and building contractors, pay their staff at or above the hourly rate suggested by the London Living Wage Foundation.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

At South Square we are committed to creating a working environment that promotes the professional growth of our members and staff and promises everyone equality of opportunity.  This applies to all aspects of our work, from recruitment of members and staff to working with our clients or dealing with our suppliers. We are signatories of the Women in Law Pledge and supporters of the Charter for Black Talent.

We have two members with special responsibility for matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusion: Stephen Robins and Georgina Peters. Each reports directly to the Heads of Chambers.  You can find our Diversity and Inclusion policy here.

Fair Recruitment

We use the Bar Council’s Pupillage Gateway for pupillage recruitment and we work with external organisations such as the Bar Council to ensure that everyone involved in the interview and assessment process has received training in fair recruitment. Before initial consideration, all applications are anonymised.  We are using an external provider to assist us in contextual analysis of candidates’ applications for pupillage.

Pupillage Recruitment. We are firmly committed to ensuring fair access to the Bar and to that end we are working with Bridging the Bar to help achieve this by providing mentors to aspiring barristers from underrepresented societal groups.

Staff Recruitment.  South Square is an equal opportunities employer. Our recruitment process for staff is based on the principles of fairness and transparency and, while we assess applicants on a number of core competencies including problem solving, judgement, initiative, commitment, teamwork and communication skills, our focus is finding people who will uphold our values and behaviours.

Career Development & Work Allocation

South Square wishes to ensure that all of its members and staff are treated fairly and provided with the support they need to develop their careers. For members, particular attention is paid to the allocation of work. A copy of our work allocation policy is here.

The Executive Committee receives regular reports on a number of important performance metrics including gender pay, the fair allocation of work, the allocation of led work, and flexible working and caring responsibilities.  These reports allow Chambers to monitor important aspects of its operations and to identify any trends which may indicate potential concerns that need to be addressed.   This in turn helps us to ensure that our policies are effective and meet the needs of our members and staff.

We invest in our staff, paying for or assisting with the cost courses that are likely to develop their professional skills.  Recent courses covered by our training and development budget have included marketing and branding, facilities management, and diplomas from the Institute of Legal Management.

All Members are also able to seek assistance with developing their careers from our Senior Practice Managers and the Chambers Chief Executive, and members who wish to take Silk can request a mentor and seek assistance with their applications.  We also provide training opportunities for Members focused on practice development and presentation skills.

Disability & Accessibility

We want any to provide as full as support as we can to any members, staff or clients with disabilities. Work is being carried out to make chambers accessible to wheelchairs and we have a hearing loop available.

We will gladly consider any requests for reasonable adjustments from disabled applicants or clients. A copy of our reasonable adjustments policy is here.

Behaviour at Work

Following consultation with staff and members we have produced a document setting out the standards we aspire to and the behaviour we should expect from one another, a copy of which is here. These values are reflected in the Chambers Code of Conduct, to which all members and staff are expected to adhere, a copy of which is here.

We expect our barristers and staff to call out inappropriate behaviour and, where that is not considered possible, we encourage them to use Talk to Spot, a secure online tool for the Bar to confidentially and anonymously record and report any incident.

Parental Leave

We offer a generous parental leave policy, a copy of which can be found here. We provide active support to members returning to work from parental leave in order to enable them to resume their practice.

Bar Standards Board Equality & Diversity Survey

Click here to view the Equality and Diversity survey.

GOVERNANCE

Well run companies tend to have strong governance.  At South Square we have invested considerable resources to ensure that we operate as transparently and fairly as possible; documenting the processes and procedures that govern the day-to-day management and decision making of our organisation, including: how our Executive Committee is established, how it functions, and how it relates to other Members of Chambers.

There are two principal documents, the Articles of Association of our service company (of which all our barristers are directors and shareholders), and our Chambers’ Constitution.  The rights of barristers and staff are set out in detail in our policies, to which everyone has access.

The Constitution requires that the board comprises representatives from each level of Chambers (QCs, Senior Juniors and Junior Juniors) and at that at least one board member must be a woman.  Each member of the board is elected by other Members of Chambers and everyone on the board has equal voting rights.  The Chambers Director is the company secretary and attends all board meetings, representing the interests of the staff where necessary.

Our accounts are audited annually by an external auditor (Price Bailey Accountants) and shared with all Members of Chambers.

“Chambers and Partners 2018 – Band 1 for Restructuring and Insolvency”

“Chambers and Partners: Company/Insolvency Set of the Year 2018”

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