SINGAPORE - During a collaboration with local non-profit group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), lawyers from TSMP Law Corporation realised the need for legal services among domestic workers and migrant workers in the construction and shipping industries.
It then started to work more formally with Home and Transient Workers Count Too, taking on pro bono cases for migrant workers in 2010. Over the years, TSMP lawyers handled salary dispute and workplace-injury cases.
The law firm, which has handled about 150 various pro bono cases in the past five years, was among more than 70 organisations lauded last Thursday (Nov 19) for making social contributions that go beyond corporate social responsibility initiatives.
The companies were recognised as Champions of Good by Company of Good, an arm of The National Volunteer Philanthropy Centre that has celebrated exemplary organisations since the national recognition framework was launched in 2017.
Mr Melvin Chan, partner and head of litigation and dispute resolution at TSMP, said: "It is certainly an honour, and very humbling at the same time, to be recognised for doing our part in helping those that need help, be it through our community programmes or pro bono work.
"This award is a great encouragement to everyone in our firm to continue to do good in the little ways that we can," he added.
Another law firm lauded for its community contribution was Shearman & Sterling. The law firm began working with local secular crisis centre Star Shelter about a year ago.
Earlier this year, the firm organised a donation drive to collect money, food and household items for the shelter, which provides temporary refuge to female victims of violence and their children.
The firm also designed and conducted an advocacy and legal education workshop for underprivileged children in partnership with YMCA in June 2019.
Ms Chloe Vialard, an associate with the law firm, said: "When we support an organisation, the idea is not to do a one-off event but to push the partnership and get to know each other over time, so we are better able to ascertain their most urgent needs and the relationship grows as we work together."
Next year, the firm plans to provide financial literacy courses to the Star Shelter residents.
Another recipient at the award was beauty and skincare company Shiseido Asia Pacific.
The Shiseido Life Quality Beauty Centre, set up in Singapore last year, provides free private counselling sessions to people concerned about vitiligo (a disease that causes loss of skin colour in patches), scars, burns, birthmarks and side effects from cancer treatment.
It also conducted a lunch talk at the National Skin Centre to equip healthcare workers with useful information and a workshop at the National Cancer Centre Singapore to advise patients on their concerns related to their appearance.
Ms Fang Jiayun, the company's regional corporate sustainability manager, said a woman who came to the centre said she felt uncomfortable picking up her phone on the train as she wanted to prevent drawing attention to her vitiligo condition. In another case, a girl with a birthmark on her thigh wanted to feel comfortable wearing shorts.
The centre advised them on make-up techniques that help conceal the skin concerns.
"Beauty can be seen as very superficial, but here, we are trying to use our expertise to help someone's confidence and self esteem," Ms Fang said.
The company has also published a beauty book offering make-up advice for cancer patients, which can be found on this website.
Correction note: The story has been updated for clarity.