Accountability & management of ESG

The following committees are the key governing bodies that oversee the control and direction of ESG matters within Shoosmiths. Details are also provided of the employee networks that help to champion our priorities.

Carbon Net Zero Steering Group 

Chaired by the Director of People the purpose of the Group and its meetings is to monitor progress on net zero across the firm and ensure that actions are taken, tracked, reported and their impact assessed. Its areas of focus include risk, compliance and regulatory requirements, supply chain, estates, carbon data management, training, and internal communications and awareness.

Chosen Markets Committee 

Chaired by a Partner and the Business Development Director the committee overseas the development and implementation of the firm’s clients and markets focus and strategy. A key role of the committee is to ensure alignment across Divisions, Sector Groups, service lines and the International Committee in delivering a single market strategy.  

Community Investment Programme Committees (local) 

Each office, led by the local lead CR Champion, operates a Community Investment Programme (CIP) committee, responsible for delivering the community investment strategy locally. The committees coordinate activities to deliver our community goals and targets. This includes our annual programme of activities for local charity fundraising partners, donations to charities, projects with a range of other third-sector organisations and identifying staff volunteering opportunities.

Employee Forum

The Employee Forum meets with the Chief Executive and Chair every six months and comprises representatives from every employment group across each office. The purpose of the Forum is for employee representatives to consult with management, to discuss any issues and to provide feedback from across the firm.

Agenda items include:

  • financial information 
  • firm ethos
  • environment, health and safety
  • equal opportunities
  • training
  • strategic plans
  • general business developments.

Environment, Health and Safety Committee (national) 

Chaired by the Health and Safety Manager the National Environment, Health and Safety Committee meets quarterly and is made up of the Director of Property and Workplace, National Estates Manager, and Regional Estates Managers. The Head of Corporate Responsibility (Environment responsibility) and Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Wellbeing responsibility) attend.

The committee studies accident and notifiable disease statistics and trends, monitors, progresses and develops the annual National Health and Safety Plan, plans implementing of new Health and Safety legislation, examines safety audit reports and develops safety rules and safe systems of work, training and communication.

Executive Board

Chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, the purpose of the Executive Board is to enable and deliver the firm’s strategy.

Finance and Audit Committee 

Chaired by the Chair the primary role of the Finance and Audit Committee is to provide oversight on financial and audit matters on behalf of the Partnership.

This includes:

  • receiving periodic financial reports from the Partnership’s Chief Financial Officer 
  • receiving planning and final audit reports from the Partnership’s external auditors
  • providing a challenge for the Board on matters of a financial nature, including firm performance and funding.

Heads of Office Forum 

Heads of Office (HoO) report to the Chief Executive on all office related matters and issues. All HoO meet with the Chief Executive regularly on a 1:1 basis and attend quarterly HoO meetings with the Chief Executive and other HoO. The Forum is an important link between the Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer and Heads of Office in terms of sharing best practice, addressing operational issues and sharing other ideas that come from the HoO role and contacts.

International Committee 

Chaired by a partner the international committee is constituted to consider, formulate and implement (assuming sign off is obtained from the Main Board) Shoosmiths’ international strategy and provides recommendations to the Main Board and wider partnership, working closely with our Chosen Markets Committee.

Main Board

Chaired by the Chair the purpose of the Board is overall firm governance, to implement and communicate the firm’s strategy.

It considers the firm strategy, values, investments, partner hiring and performance management, business growth and communication.

National Estates Management Meeting 

The National Estates Management meeting, chaired by the National Estates Manager, meets quarterly to provide updates on strategic estates projects (includes property, refurbishment, energy saving projects and work environment changes) and review the teams’ working practices to ensure consistency and best practice across all offices to exceed legal compliance requirements. It is made up of representatives from each property region – North, Midlands, and South – and the senior management team.

Operations Committee 

Chaired by the Chief Operating Officer and made up of representatives of the Business Services Directorates, the Operations Committee considers matters associated with the operational running of the business and ensures insights are shared across the firm.

Partnership Council 

Chaired by the Chair the purpose of the Partnership Council is the overall firm risk and partnership governance, and to ensure the Main Board is implementing a strategy aligned to the partnership, risk appetite and business.

It considers risk and audit, LLP and regulatory matters, complaints, negligence, insurance matters and firm strategy.

Practice Standards Working Group (Directorates) and Practice Standards Working Group (Divisions)

Chaired by the Head of Risk and Assurance, the Practice Standards Working Groups meet three times a year. Members, made up of representatives from each Division and Directorate, are responsible for developing, implementing and adopting suitable working practices to drive up quality.

The agenda covers:

  • current state of adoption/implementation 
  • areas of improvement
  • areas of limited/no progress
  • further actions and AOB.

Regional Environment, Health and Safety Committees 

These meetings, held quarterly and chaired by the Health and Safety Manager discuss key Environment, Health and Safety topics, accident statistics, action taken, training requirements and report on changes and decisions made at the National Committee Meeting. Assistant Estates Managers and Estates Team Leaders represent each office with a nominated deputy and take staff issues from local divisional / office staff to the meeting for resolution.

These committee members propose, promote and maintain high standards in health, safety, and welfare at work for the firm which, following approval by senior management will become mandatory. Issues raised at the Regional Committee may be raised at the National Committee meetings for further discussion and resolution.

Risk Committee

Chaired by the Quality and Risk Director, the key roles of the Risk Committee are to:

  • act as a forum for identifying quality and risk issues
  • evaluate the significant operational risks faced by Shoosmiths for consideration by the Operations Committee and strategic risks for consideration of the Partnership Council
  • monitor the general status of risks and controls within Shoosmiths
  • debate, develop and draft new Quality and Risk policies and procedures for consideration by the Risk and Regulatory Affairs Committee.

Risk and Regulatory Affairs Committee 

This sub-committee of the main Board meets roughly every six weeks and is chaired by the Chair and composed of the Chair, CEO, CFO, COO, Quality and Risk Director, Divisional Heads and at least two elected members of the Partnership Council.

The primary objectives for the sub-committee are as follows:

  • to ensure that the Quality and Risk strategy is being delivered in line with the firm wide strategy
  • to receive reports and consider future regulatory and risk issues affecting our sector
  • to receive and consider regular reports in respect of regulatory and risk issues within the firm, including updates with regard to significant complaints and potential claims
  • to regularly consider the main areas of risk to the firm and assess future requirements
  • where possible, to ensure that our regulatory capacity is used to deliver value to the business, in particular ensure our regulatory oversight can support the drive for consistency in delivering efficiency gains
  • to be kept updated with regard to our Professional Indemnity and linked insurances
  • to provide support to the Quality and Risk Director and their directorate.

Remuneration Committee 

Consisting of the Chair, Chief Executive, Divisional Heads, Non-Executive and two of the elected Partnership Council members the Remuneration Committee sits every year typically in June to decide each full equity partner’s merit awards for the previous financial year.

Shadow Board 

The Shadow Board was established in 2021 to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across the firm.  It mirrors the Executive Board in that it is representative of divisions and directorates and requires its members to approach Board topics strategically and taking a broad view of what is in the best interests of the firm overall.

The Shadow Board:

  • reviews the business of the Executive Board
  • makes recommendations for courses of action
  • raises any areas of concern
  • brings diversity of perspective across the business
  • makes pro-active contributions to furthering the objectives of the Executive Board

Shoosmiths Foundation Grants Committee 

The Shoosmiths Foundation Grants Committee (SFGC) has been established by the Shoosmiths Board. The Grants Committee, chaired by the Head of Corporate Responsibility, has delegated responsibility for overseeing, monitoring, and evaluating all grant making activities to ensure they are in accordance with Shoosmiths’ responsible business objectives and the Shoosmiths Community Investment Policy. The SFGC considers grant applications to the Shoosmiths Foundation and approves grant payments.

Strategy Committee 

Chaired by the Chair and attended by the Chief Executive, CFO, COO, Divisional Heads, Non-Executive Directors and elected members of the Partnership Council, the committee recommends the strategic direction of the firm and meets to review the progress in line with the firmwide, divisional and directorate strategies.

Employee Networks

Balance Network 

The Balance network champions the importance of gender balance at Shoosmiths (and in the wider legal sector) and achieving balance and wellbeing in our working lives.

CR Champions Network 

The lead CR champions chair the local Community Investment Programme Committees and lead on the delivery of local office charity partnerships.

Embrace Network 

The Embrace network celebrates the culture and heritage of all individuals at Shoosmiths. It champions building a stronger community by understanding and respecting the unique and shared facets of all colleagues. 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Champions Network

Champions help to drive forward change internally and embed positive changes across the firm. They are responsible for tackling mental health stigma and instigating initiatives to improve wellbeing amongst fellow colleagues. Importantly champions are also able to signpost mental health and wellbeing support services and resources.

Pro Bono Champions Network 

Our network of Pro Bono Champions coordinate support for individual pro bono clinics and pro bono programmes.

Proud Network 

Proud is Shoosmiths’ LGBT+ network which aims to provide a way for people to get to know each other through formal and informal events and to feel part of a welcoming LGBT+ community. The network also aims to raise awareness and visibility of any LGBT+ issues that may exist or arise, contribute to Shoosmiths’ inclusive culture, and help ensure that more of our people are able to meet their full potential and flourish.

Unique Network

Unique is Shoosmiths’ inclusion network focusing on health and disability. The network’s vision is to promote understanding of long term health conditions, disability and neurodivergence, to create a community that encourages members to support each other, and to celebrate everyone’s diversity and what makes us all unique



Last updated: 06 December 2023

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If you would like to learn more about our commitment to corporate responsibility, or would like to enquire as to our pro bono or other support for your business or organisation through employee volunteering, please contact us.

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