It’s not all that often that I think Alex misses the point, but in his article yesterday on the London Legal Walk, I’m afraid he might have.
Let me start off by answering the first question he asked: “Is the London Legal Walk the shortest, least taxing sponsored walk in the history of sponsored walks?”
Yes. Because the walking isn’t really the point...
What the London Legal Walk does is bring together over 6,000 individuals from across the legal profession and related organisations to show support for free legal advice and the organisations that deliver it, while crucially raising a few quid – with over £500,000 expected to be raised this year for the first time.
With charities such as Citizens Advice Bureau and law centres already suffering from significant funding cuts, and huge legal aid cuts looming, this support is more important than ever – even if it can never replace the hundreds of millions the government is cutting.
For any sort of event where you have everyone from spritely students to ageing anoraks, you need to make some compromises. A two hour 10km walk through the heart of London on what was a very pleasant Monday evening is exactly that kind of event – relevant, open and accessible to all. Many who were feeling a bit more energetic, such as LawWorks’ chairman and Clyde & Co partner Paul Newdick, decided to run the 10km – a good compromise, I think.
What is taxing about the walk is all the organising that goes on behind the scenes – a huge congratulations to the London Legal Support Trust, Law Society, National Pro Bono Centre and everyone else who’s had a hand in putting on what was a great evening, with more teams and walkers than ever. Without them, and the 100+ volunteers on the day, it simply wouldn’t be possible.
Finally, it’s possibly the only 10km walk where you can get a free alcoholic drink at the end, and that of course makes everything worth it. I personally handed out several hundred free drinks tokens (hello, Knights Templar people!) and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed their evening.
While London gets all the attention as the largest walk, it would also be remiss of me not to point out that walks have also taken place in other places across the country (Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, Guildford, Newbury, Birmingham, Bournemouth and Cambridge) with walks still to take place in Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and Manchester later this year. If you can, do get involved – and book the 20th of May in the diary for next year!
Alasdair Stewart is project manager at pro bono charity LawWorks.
The picture of Attorney General Dominic Grieve was taken by Neil Rose, editor of Legal Futures