At Harry Elias Partnership LLP, we take corporate social responsibility with utmost seriousness. It is one of the cornerstones on which this Firm was built since 1988 and continues to be a significant philosophy that the Firm and its lawyers subscribe to today.
From performing pro-bono work for those most in need of legal aid, to contributing to the community through legal education, HEP gives back to the community in any way possible.
We believe in being not only professional but also responsible and ethical, living up to our name of being a “Practice of Firsts”, and committed to upholding standards in the legal sector.
Doing Pro Bono
HEP is an ardent supporter of pro bono work. The roots of public service in this Firm date back to 1985 when Mr. Harry Elias S C helped establish the Law Society of Singapore’s Criminal Legal Aid Scheme as it's Founding Chairman. The criminal Legal Aid scheme was to assist those who were unable to afford legal representation. Mr Elias was inspired to act after reading figures on the number of low - income Singaporeans and handled one of the schemes first case, securing the dismissal of charges against a woman accused of shoplifting. Mr Elias enlisted numerous lawyers and corporate sponsors to contribute time and money to the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. This spirit has since permeated throughout the Firm. This Firm believes in giving back to society, by continuing its tradition of service and providing fair, equal access to high quality professional legal skills to those most in need and unable to afford them.
Realizing that only a limited number of lawyers and firms offered pro-bono work, HEP partnered with the Law Society of Singapore’s Pro Bono Services Office (PBSO) to be the first law firm in Singapore (as an entity, beyond its individual lawyers) to provide more structured support to enhance the effectiveness of the pro bono programmes of PBSO. HEP was the first law firm to establish a minimum pro-bono pledge of 25 hours per year by each of its lawyers.
The Firm is currently actively organized to be involved in several PBSO projects.
Contributing to Community
HEP is a practice with heart and believes strongly in improving the lives of Singaporeans within the community.
In 2011, HEP supported Singapore’s first Micro Credit Business Scheme (MCBS), a scheme designed to provide business loans to low income individuals, and help Singaporeans become more self-reliant by starting up or expanding their micro business. HEP was tasked to prepare the documents and advise on legal issues arising from this microloan scheme.
In that same year, HEP also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) to jointly develop and implement a grant to assist companies when it came to defraying legal costs relating to the development and implementation of projects related to waste management.
On the professional front, HEP continually supports the role of the Law Society and its efforts made to uphold standards in the legal industry. It was named “Contributor of the Year” by the Law Society of Singapore in 2011.
Supporting Legal Training and Education
HEP supports legal training and education across the spectrum of Singapore society, from junior college students, to law undergraduates, to business people.
We collaborated with the Singapore Mediation Centre to introduce a series of free public lectures on international commercial mediation to students and businesses. Former President S R Nathan was the keynote guest speaker. This was the first time that a leading law firms in Singapore had committed themselves to the education of local businesses on issues of international commercial mediation.
HEP also hosted a Corporate Ethics and Governance Seminar in 2012 to help over 200 local businesses learn more about identifying risks in the marketplace and how to better legally protect them should an event arise.
We organise and sponsor the Harry Elias Partnership National Law Debates for junior colleges at the national level. Mirroring actual court proceedings, students are challenged to research and argue legal issues against other student teams as well as to answer challenging questions from judges. With its highly interactive format and emphasis on research and written submissions, this is arguably one of the most rigourous debate tournaments available to students; allowing students to gain significant experience in a courtroom setting and help prepare them for a career in law.
We have organised and sponsored the annual Harry Elias Partnership-Singapore Management University (SMU) (HEP-SMU) Moot Tournament with SMU since 2010. This is a national moot court competition, open to law students from SMU and the National University of Singapore. The HEP-SMU Moots provide law students with a rigorous and challenging platform for to gain exposure to advocacy and the opportunity to interact not only with senior lawyers from our Firm, but also High Court Judges and legal luminaries who are invited as Guests of Honour to judge the Grand Finals.
Our collaboration with SMU extends beyond moot tournaments. We have also sponsored various prizes for academic achievement, such as the Harry Elias Partnership LLP Prize for the Top Student in Negotiation and Mediation and the Harry Elias Partnership LLP Prize for the Top Student in Family Law, which are awarded to candidates of sufficient merit in the SMU School of Law’s Negotiation and Mediation and Family Law courses respectively.