More than 3,500 lawyers turned out at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday for the fourth annual London Legal Support Trust sponsored walk.
More than 3,500 lawyers turned out at the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) yesterday for the fourth annual London Legal Support Trust sponsored walk.
Raising a record £310,000, the event saw 196 legal teams from across the UK set off on a 10km route from the RCJ over the Millenium Bridge, through Westminster and St James’s Park before finishing at The Law Society’s headquarters at Chancery Lane.
“It was brilliant, we raised £100,000 more than the year before,” said walk organiser Bob Nightingale.
“Having doubled the number of walkers every year for four years, I think it’s becoming something of an institution. People know that the voluntary legal sector is dying and the commercial legal profession is turning to help.”
Following the walk, a ceremony at The Law Society saw the Trust present cheques to the Mary Ward Legal Centre (£27,000), which provides free advice on debt law, and the Islington Law Centre (£25,000), which provides advice on housing, education employment and consumer law, to combat the “immediate danger” of closure that both centres face.
The Trust was also given a boost by the announcement that Weil Gotshal & Manges will be joining a scheme that raises money from the interest accrued by pooling the firms’ client accounts.
Previously Allen & Overy was the only firm to take part in the idea, raising £75,000 a year through the scheme.
“The need is immense – the gap between what legal aid achieves and what is needed is huge, so regular money is important. But the walk was a brilliant demonstration of support by the commercial sector,” Nightingale said.
Elsewhere, the legal teams at Vodafone and the Surrey Law Society held their own walks, turning the sponsored walk into a national event.
The Trust will allocate the remaining funds raises in coming months, and welcomes applications from other law centres in the southeast for funding.