CLAYTON UTZ’s Canberra office showed its competitive side last week at the Australian National University’s North Oval.
The firm’s team, ‘Klutz Nutz’, thrashed Corrs Chambers Westgarth 9-nil in the first round of Law Week’s six-a-side soccer competition. Another early victor was ‘Murphy’s Law’, fielded by Colquhoun Murphy and captained by former Australian Olympic soccer star Sacha Wainwright. Murphy’s beat a team made up of members of the Legislative Assembly, 5-1.
The competition, part of Law Week, which aims to connect the law with the broader community, is only in its second year of running. Soccer tragic Ben Caddaye, who’s also editorial officer at the Law Council of Australia, volunteered to resurrect the sporting side of the event by starting up a soccer comp to replace a fading touch footy event. “Touch footy was quite hard; you needed to be fast and fit,” said Caddaye. “Soccer is for everyone, no matter what fitness level.”
At the same time, the matches were also taken extremely seriously, with trophies and bragging rights at stake. “Lawyers are very competitive people,” said Caddaye. “They like to do well in everything they try, and that’s really obvious.” The event was a great networking opportunity, with about 200 Canberra lawyers and their friends on the one oval for a two-hour period. It also created a world away from the lawyer’s workday. “Just because you’re in control in the courtroom doesn’t mean you’re going to be in control on the field,” noted Caddaye. “There was a lot of yelling going on, on the field and the sidelines.”
Caddaye’s successful effort last year, drawing fourteen teams with only one week’s notice, culminated in a flood of interest this year. Organisers had to turn away teams. Last year’s joint winners, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and KJB, both lost their first round matches this year, signalling a changing of the guard. Teams will fight it out at lunchtime every Friday for four weeks, with the finals held on 19 May.
Team naming was creative and drew on famous international soccer team names, with Minter Ellison appearing as ‘Minter Milan’, Blake Dawson Waldron as ‘Blakeburn Rovers’ and Dibbs Abbott Stillman as ‘DASton Villa’. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions turned up as ‘Real DPP’, and the ACT Legislative Assembly as the Canberra Commoners.