Folklaw struggled to keep up with 100s of lawyers from across the profession for the annual PILCH Walk for Justice jaunt on Tuesday (14 May).
Folklaw shelved its usual early morning routine of bikram yoga at dawn to the gentle strains of Jackson Browne’s Lawyers in Love album to make the trek out to Hyde Park in Sydney in time for the 7.30am starter’s gun.
While Folklaw was rugged-up in jeans and a stylish leather jacket as befitting the cold, grey conditions, he was put to shame by the vast majority of hardy lawyers decked out in proper walking attire, including shorts, an item of dress that doesn’t flatter Folklaw’s legs.
While the weather was bleak, spirits were high.
“I thought it is a good thing to do,” said Allens paralegal Jacques Mcelhone, in shorts, looking contemptuously at Folklaw’s attire. “I do know that PILCH do a lot of good work in the community for people who don’t have access to legal representation, so I thought it would be a good thing to support.”
Mcelhone is on the money. PILCH provides access to justice through pro bono services to marginalised and disadvantaged people and the community organisations that support them throughout Australia.
“Today is a recognition of unmet legal need, which is getting bigger and bigger in Australia, and also a celebration of the work lawyers do,” said Katrina Ironside, the principal solicitor and coordinator of PILCH in Sydney prior to the walk. “Lawyers often get a bad rap, but a lot of people work in community legal centres and do Legal Aid work, with many private practice lawyers and barristers also doing work on a pro bono basis.”
The fraternal nature of the walk and the pull it has across all sections of the profession means that senior partners at global firms, such as Murray Deakin from K&L gates, walk with parelagals such as Mcelhone.
“I think it is that camaraderie that motivates people to come together,” said Deakin to Folklaw after the walk, having barely broken a sweat over the six-kilometre course. “The fact is that a lot of people contribute to PILCH.
“It is a fantastic concept and you want to be part of it and we are keen to participate.”
In addition to Sydney, Walk for Justice trots were held in Brisbane, Townsville, Melbourne, Adelaide and Newcastle.
So far, more than $16,000 has been raised for PILCH, but to help them reach their goal of $20,000, you can donate here.