When the suits come off – Law Rocks

Late last month at the second of this year’s Law Rocks extravaganzas in London’s iconic 100 Club, a band fronted by Bird & Bird partner Chris Holder walked off with the top prize.

Late last month at the second of this year’s Law Rocks extravaganzas in London’s iconic 100 Club, a band fronted by Bird & Bird partner Chris Holder walked off with the top prize.

For the event’s organiser, Keating Chambers senior clerk Nick Child, however, the real winner was the event itself.

Child, the man who has overseen Law Rocks’ growth from eureka moment to international franchise, is the tireless driver behind the event.

At its core is an evening playing rock star for some of the legal ­market’s finest lawyers, which ­doubles as a charity fundraising opportunity that has so far seen almost £20,000 raised over three evenings.

The Lawyer asked Child to reveal more about this often overlooked aspect of his brainchild.

“For many years I’ve seen the legal industry receiving bad press, with too many people accepting the concept that lawyers are ­overpaid, underworked and ­privileged,” says Child. “This is of course not the case, but it’s often easier to accept the perception rather than investigate the truth.”

Child says that when he had the idea of a fundraiser showcasing legal musical talent he wasn’t sure he’d get enough interest to achieve what he wanted.

“I was looking for four bands that I might scrape together to have a one-off night and raise a couple of thousand pounds,” admits Child. “Due to the sheer enthusiasm of the legal ­community, I currently have 28 bands ’on the books’ and ­wanting to play, with more to ­follow no doubt.”

Great thought goes into which charities are nominated by the bands and all the charities that are supported by Law Rocks, Child adds. In addition, after each round Law Rocks donates a fixed sum to Busking Cancer, the ’musical arm’ of Cancer Research, in the name of everyone participating.

Other charities that have ­benefited in addition to Cancer Research are The Red Cross, Great Ormond Street, Papworth ­Hospital, Teenage Cancer Trust, SOS Children’s Villages, the ­Paralympics, Kids Company, ­Centrepoint, North Hertfordshire Breast Unit and Keep a Child Alive.

“The charities are all aware of the event, and even participate,” says Child. “For ­example, at the 24 June event, the members of ‘The Reed Smiths’ included a ­representative of their nominated charity, Gemma ­Clemson from Fairbridge. Not only was she ­brilliant, she won the raffle prize to boot, giving her a Fender Stratocaster signed by Roger Taylor of Queen, Mike Rutherford of ­Genesis and ­Kenney Jones of The Faces, which she plans to ­auction for her ­charity, raising even more funds.”

Child says he has specific plans to increase the prize fund, which will be in place for 2011. “Having been on a steep ­learning curve for the past two years, and with ­revisions to how I manage the event, I’ve worked out how I can maximise the money raised for the charities going ­forward,” ­continues Child. “It’s meant a slight increase in cost to the bands, but given the principle behind it it’s received ­universal acceptance.”
And it looks like just the ­beginning, both in the UK and abroad. Bands already travel from all over the UK to take part in Law Rocks, but discussions are well underway for an event down under in ­Melbourne. 

“With the help of friends and clients in Washington DC, Boston and Dubai, I’m also working on setting up events in those cities,” adds Child. “Planning these events remotely can take a little longer, but it’ll be worth it. Oh, and ­Marshall Amps just this minute signed up for three years, with money for the prize fund and access to discounted products for me to buy for the raffle.”

With that, Child heads off, ­presumably to sign up more ­partners to next year’s event, though not before tipping his hat to the people who, ultimately, make Law Rocks rock.
“Most of the praise should be heaped on the bands, without whose enthusiasm and often quite amazing talent, we wouldn’t have an event at all,” says Child.
Holder & Co would no doubt concur.