How refreshing to see lawyers from Clifford Chance actually doing some proper work for a change. Around 300 partners, assistants and staff took most of Friday (2 November) off to paint, clean or build stuff in schools in New York and Washington DC. And the next day a bunch of them were at it again.

Tucked away in the corner of one Brooklyn playground, Tulkinghorn’s scribe uncovered US managing partner Craig Medwick dabbing away at a battered-looking fence with a paintbrush. Medwick assured him that the fact it was a gloriously sunny day had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he’d got himself out of the office for a few hours.

Senior partner Stuart Popham also had the painting bug. In between scrawling what looked like subway graffiti onto some poor, unsuspecting American schoolchildren’s previously pristine wall, Popham claimed to have been press-ganged into the whole event.

“I came here for a client meeting, but Craig was very persuasive,” said Leonardo da Popham. “Basically, he wouldn’t let me go home until I did some painting.”

The commendable effort was part of Clifford Chance’s second annual contribution to community action group City Year’s US-wide youth service projects.