Concept for - Meet the B Corp Champion - Abigail Grace

In this new series, we introduce our B Corp Champions. Spread across all teams and sectors these dedicated individuals share their knowledge on B Corp, to not only improve practices in our own firm, but to help others implement their own changes.

For this edition, we introduce Abigail Grace, solicitor in our Immigration team.

Can you tell us why you wanted to become a B Corp Champion and how it fits in with your role at Stephens Scown?

I am really pleased that Stephens Scown has achieved B Corp status. I’ve always felt strongly that the work I do should reflect my values and the B Corp framework, which requires accredited organisations to meet high standards of social and environmental transparency and accountability, has made it easier for this to be the case. I wanted to be involved because I think it’s a really good way to do business; at Stephen Scown we care about more than just profit (B Corp means we uphold the values of supporting people and planet too) and I think that comes across in the service we provide.

As a solicitor in the Immigration team, I feel supported and valued. I also feel encouraged by the firm to think more widely than just my job role, to consider our place as a business in the community of the South West and to give back in ways that make sense to our culture.

What changes have you seen within your team since becoming a B Corp?

B Corp has given my team, the Employment and Immigration teams, a structure for important conversations about what kind of work we want to attract and why. It has been really interesting to consider the ethical element of what we do and be able to ensure that we are able to provide supportive legal advice which really helps people to do business in a positive way. People are at the heart of both immigration and employment law, so these factors are really relevant to what we do.

I think as a team we take our B Corp credentials seriously when we consider our responsibility to help those in need of immigration advice. In addition to seeing clients from all walks of life and different corporate sectors in our day-to-day work, we have also taken on some pro-bono projects, and we support local charities which in turn support refugees and asylum seekers locally. We do this through offering supervision and mentoring to volunteers and staff trying to navigate the ever-changing world of immigration law. This involvement assists in creating awareness of our work as a firm and opportunities for referrals in both directions, making sure we can offer clients the best possible service.

Why do you think it’s important for a business to consider becoming a B Corp?

It’s a seal of approval, a credible and robust indicator that a business is on the right track towards sustainability, a happy work force and ethical business practices. Once you know about it, you notice it everywhere and I think being part of that community is invaluable. Particularly in the food and drink sector, where we have many clients, people want to know what brands are taking steps to be more ethical and sustainable, so they can choose where to spend their money. With so many brands and businesses trying to distinguish themselves as having particularly ethical or “green” credentials, it is helpful to have a certification that you can trust.

By balancing profit and purpose, a business is more likely to retain talent and ensure that everyone, at every level of the business feels valued and works to make the business a success. I can think back to various jobs I have had in the past and it is clear to me that when people feel valued, they are more invested in how well the business is doing. That sense of community and shared goals is so important.

Lastly can you share with us something you do personally at home or at work that has either a positive impact on the environment or wellbeing of others?

I currently volunteer at Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support once a week, assisting clients there with legal advice and supporting staff where possible. This is really rewarding work and I am glad to be able to use my knowledge as an immigration lawyer to help some of the most vulnerable people in society.

In terms of the environment, I have just started preparing the garden for spring and try to be conscious of preserving and restoring the environment as well as making things look beautiful. We have two bee hives so I have chosen bee-friendly plants and flowers to keep them happy throughout the year.

Stephens Scown is one of only a small handful of law firms in the UK with B Corp status so please get in touch if you would like to know more about getting B Corp certified.