Prisma Legal on becoming a BCorp and Tips for certification

Being a B Corp is a core part of Prisma Legal. Principal Lawyer and Founder, Fotini Kypraios,  shares why Prisma Legal pursued certification as well as advice for those considering certification or currently undertaking the process. 

“B Corps are businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Certified B Corps, envision a better economic system where businesses can benefit people, communities, and the planet…”

Prisma Legal emerged out of a desire to prioritise  clients, my relationships with them and their families. Practising law has never been just about preparing documents and sending a bill. It has always been about connection. We are human first and lawyers second. When you’re genuine about establishing long-term client relationships, then that trust and connection is reciprocated. The firm was built on this philosophy.

I became aware of B Corp through a friend and later heard the CEO of B Lab Australia and New Zealand, Andrew Davies, speak at a conference. I found the ethos spoke to my values and my principles about being a lawyer, namely prioritizing people over profit and giving back to the community. 

As we were already philosophically aligned with the principles of  B Corp, we found we didn’t have to change the way we  operated, but we did do a lot of work  documenting and recording how we worked and measured our impact. It’s a process I stopped and started a few times, but I was always very  focused on the type of firm we are and our point of difference. This encouraged me to keep going.

Finally, just after our third birthday, we became certified as a B Corporation and we’re incredibly proud of that achievement. It takes significant effort and a lot of time, but it was well worth it in the end! The firm was built on a people focused philosophy and becoming a B Corp was a natural fit.

Tips for Business considering B Corp Certification

Tip 1: It’ll make you a better business, even if you’re not ready to certify
The process of B Corp certification can be useful, even if you’re not quite ready to certify. We found it encouraged us to reflect on our work, measure outcomes and highlighted gaps in internal processes and policies. 

A great example of this was that we knew we did a lot of pro bono, but during the process of B Corp certification, we were surprised at just how much pro-bono legal work we gave back to the community and to clients. Our improved practices now help us track our impact. For example, last year alone we gave away over $122,000 worth of legal services!  Measuring things that you otherwise would take for granted as a smaller business is really, really valuable.

Tip 2: Ask for Help
B Lab provides tremendous assistance, with extensive one-on-one time provided to help you fill-in questions, explore whether you’re equipped for certification, or whether there are things you need to do. Don’t be afraid to ask them as many questions as you need! 

Tip 3: Don’t Give Up!
It’s a process that’s supposed to fit everybody, so you may find it doesn’t really fit your business. If you think you don’t have the necessary processes or structures in place, don’t be discouraged and use Tip 2! 

Learn more about B Corps, the purpose, movements and the community behind it.