Community support

Bell Gully supports a wide range of not-for-profit entities by contributing our time, expertise and financial support to organisations that work for the good of our local communities.

  • Community support
  • Pro Bono

Community support

Bell Gully is committed to making meaningful contributions to initiatives that support the wellbeing of our communities, and the positive growth and development of the people within them. Our pro bono and community programmes guide our commitment to pro bono work and community support. These programmes form a fundamental part of Bell Gully’s culture. Click here to read more about our pro bono and community​ programme.

Our community support comes in the form of donations, fundraising efforts and by volunteering our time and skills to provide practical and appropriate help.​

We have long-standing relationships with local and national charities, and we actively encourage and support our people to get involved in them, for a good cause. Supplementing our formal programme, inspiring individual efforts demonstrate the firm's culture of giving back to the community. It is a spirit that is expressed at every level of the firm – from our summer clerks, lawyers and business support staff through to partnership level.

Among those with whom we work are:

Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand
For many years now, Bell Gully partners and staff have put their heads on the line as part of the Shave for a Cure campaign to support the work Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand do with patients and families of those affected by leukaemia and related blood conditions. We also field teams to conquer the Sky Tower steps, and the Fire Fighter Sky Tower steps challenges. These annual events raise significant funds, together with awareness for the six New Zealand adults and children diagnosed with leukaemia and related conditions every day.

InZone Foundation
The InZone Foundation is an educational initiative providing access for Maori and Pacific Island students to top academic performing state schools by housing them in zone. Inspired by the initiative, some of Bell Gully's junior lawyers established a structured mentoring programme for InZone Auckland Grammar School students. The programme has proven to be a great success, benefiting the students as well as our junior lawyers and has now been extended to the recently established InZone programme at Epsom Girls Grammar School.

Pacific Islands Law Students Association
We have worked with the Pacific Island Law Students Association (PILSA) to set up small group workshops to help PILSA members with their applications to large law firms for graduate recruitment programmes.

City Mission
At Christmas time, we co-ordinate collection and purchase of gifts and food for those who need it, on behalf of the Auckland City Mission and the Wellington City Mission.

Summer clerk volunteering
Each year, we send our summer clerks out to one of our pro bono clients to provide practical assistance. For many years, our summer clerks volunteered at the houses of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand patients, assisting with general maintenance, cleaning and gardening. More recently, our summer clerks have worked on a construction site in Manurewa, where they sanded and painted interiors, built fences, removed scaffolding and assisted with landscaping on a new home as part of Habitat for Humanity's Assisted Ownership Programme for families in need. They have also accompanied students from a KidsCan supported school on a trip to Rangitoto Island.

Safer Homes in New Zealand Every Day
Our programmes don't shy away from charities that address confronting issues. We support Safer Homes in New Zealand Every Day (Shine). Domestic violence affects very large numbers of New Zealanders every day, and Shine works not only to support those who are negatively impacted, but to rehabilitate the offenders as well. Our staff have assisted with Shine's street appeal, and raise money on Orange Friday with a bake sale.

SPCA's Cupcake Day
Each year our staff host a cupcake competition and sale, donating funds to the SPCA.

Movember Foundation
We see varying results from our people's efforts to grow facial hair each year, raising funds and awareness for men's health issues in support of the Movember Foundation.

Helping the environment

We aim to use natural resources in a sustainable way, and are serious about minimising the environmental impact of our operations.

We do this by:

Minimising waste
We take steps to minimise waste and recycle materials wherever practicable.

Having a sustainable supplier network
We seek partnerships with suppliers who demonstrate sound environmental values and practices.

Wisely using energy and other resources
We seek to improve energy efficiency and conservation wherever possible. We have instituted measures to minimise electricity, gas and water use.

We choose to be located in premises operated by property managers committed to sustainable practices. The Vero Centre in Auckland has achieved the UK Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Award for building efficiency and an EECA Energy Wise Award.

Pro Bono​

Bell Gully is a strong community supporter - sharing time, skills and financial support for the benefit of those in need. One way we do this is through our pro bono programme.

Over many years we have made major pro bono contributions to a wide range of individuals and organisations. In 2009, we formalised our pro bono programme, which is overseen by a committee of six partners and two senior associates. Our objective in formalising the programme was to lead by example, and to encourage other firms to make comparable contributions.

Since then, we have won three awards recognising the impact of our pro bono commitment:

  • 2015 Recognised with a White Camellia Award for Community Leadership and Engagement - promoting equality through community initiatives and advocacy,

  • 2012 Corporate Citizen Firm of the Year, awarded at the ALB Australasian Law Awards in Sydney, and

  • 2010 The Community Service in Law Award, awarded at the New Zealand Law Awards.

As part of our programme, we have established specific criteria to ensure our pro bono work reaches those who need it most, with our focus on enhancing access to justice for those who can't afford to pay for it, and promoting the public interest. Our policy provides structure and processes around how we source, manage and promote pro bono work.

Our pro bono work falls into three categories:

  • Free, for clients who would otherwise be denied access to justice because they have no means to pay for it.

  • Free or heavily discounted, for non-government and charitable organisations with funding and other support from third parties.

  • Free or heavily discounted for limited art, culture, heritage, sports and recreation groups who merit pro bono support.

If you are seeking pro bono assistance for a matter that meets these criteria, please email our pro bono programme manager Rachel Gowing to make an application.

Our pro bono programme in action

We're nurturing long-term relationships, confident in the knowledge that when we do pro bono work, it's going to very deserving recipients. A selection of our pro bono clients are referred to below.

Community law centres

We have built close relationships with the Auckland Community Law Centre, the Waitematā Community Law Centre and Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley (the CLCs). The CLCs provide essential services to those in the community without the means to pay for legal advice, assisting with a wide range of issues. As a substantial component of our pro bono programme, we:

  • provide secondee lawyers to each of the Auckland-based CLCs for one day each week,

  • provide secondee lawyers to the Wellington CLC on a regular basis,

  • partner senior Bell Gully lawyers as mentors with Auckland centre lawyers,

  • invite employees to participate in our in-house training sessions and to take advantage of legal research skills training,

  • offer to take referrals of matters that fall outside the expertise or capacity of the CLCs, and

  • have built websites for each of the Wellington and the Waitematā centres.

In addition to this, we have logged nearly 750 pro bono hours assisting all 26 of New Zealand's community law centres on two major matters:

  • negotiations with the Legal Services Agency, securing on-going funding for community law centres nationwide, and

  • facilitating the establishment of a new national body – Community Law Centres of​ Aotearoa Incorporated.

We support charitable organisations working in the health sector, including Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, Arthritis NZ, NZ Aids Foundation and Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Local and global aid organisations
We recently celebrated 125 years of Bell Gully's support of the Salvation Army. Among others, we also support LIFT International and Tear Fund with pro bono legal advice.

We assist various charitable organisations with a focus on youth support and development. These include KidsCan, Make A Wish Foundation and Plunket.

Local community
In addition to our relationships with the CLCs referred to above, we also support local community-focused charitable organisations, including Habitat for Humanity and Shine.

We also advise charitable organisations with a cultural focus, including Asia New Zealand Foundation and InZone Education Foundation.