CPBO Spotlight On: Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company that makes corporate citizenship a priority. From its Skills to Succeed initiative that aims to equip 250,000 people worldwide with the skills to get a job or build a business, to environmental stewardship to pro bono work and corporate giving, Accenture and its people are working to making a sustainable difference in communities around the world. With such a serious company commitment to doing social good, it is no wonder that Accenture’s legal department boasts an exceptional pro bono program. Under the helm of Accenture General Counsel, Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer Julie Sweet, the legal department has undertaken a wide range of pro bono efforts, including innovative global pro bono work.
Teaming with Baker & McKenzie in the U.S.
Teaming with Baker & McKenzie*†, Accenture has helped countless elderly, poor clients at educational clinics run by the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago. The pair has also assisted low-income naturalization applicants referred by the National Immigrant Justice Center with their applications and other related processes. Finally, Accenture and Baker & McKenzie have provided a comprehensive legal assessment of a Chicago-area nonprofit that works to increase and preserve the supply of decent and affordable housing in Illinois for low- and moderate-income households.
Global Pro Bono Efforts
Taking advantage of the company’s global reach, Accenture lawyers find opportunities to do pro bono work across borders. One of the company’s most impressive pro bono efforts is the project it began several years ago in Nepal with the human rights group PILnet. The team set out to inform international law and normative practices with regard to discrimination of minority populations and to encourage education and literacy.
To this end, Accenture hosted a webinar to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas surrounding education and literacy in developing countries. From this webinar came an initiative to empower women in the workplace in Nepal, deter sexual harassment, advocate equal pay and rights, and protect health and safety. Accenture and PILnet expanded the team to include Caterpillar Inc.**, Merck & Co., Inc.**, and Baker & McKenzie—a virtually unprecedented and innovative inter-company, cross-border approach to meaningfully impact humanitarian issues. The resulting program—which united nearly 70 lawyers in 11 countries —was designed to empower women in the workplace in Nepal, where women and girls as young as 10 years old work in “cabin and dance” restaurants in which they are compelled to smoke, drink, and engage in sexual relations with patrons. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a decision decrying the practices and directing the enactment of legislation to address the issue.
* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
** denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM
† denotes a member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project