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Firms face-off, for a good cause

Firms face-off, for a good cause

THE OXFAM Trailwalker has brought out the notorious competitive streak of Sydney lawyers, as firms face off to see who can raise the most funds for a good cause.In the charity walk, teams of…

THE OXFAM Trailwalker has brought out the notorious competitive streak of Sydney lawyers, as firms face off to see who can raise the most funds for a good cause.

In the charity walk, teams of four must complete a 100km walk from Brooklyn to Mosman in less than 48 hours.

A league table of fundraisers for law firms puts Freehills team ‘The Ferocious Freehillians’ out in front, with pledges of more than $3500 at the time of publication. Jim Koutsokostas and Andrew Compton (from Greenwoods & Freehills) have set themselves another target — to complete the trail at a punishing pace.

“The plan at the moment is to do it in 30 hours,” Compton said. “But obviously we’d like to do it in less time than that.”

“I think the very optimistic target that was set was 24 hours,” added Koutsokostas. “So we’re walking straight through without any sleep break.”

Baker & McKenzie senior associate David Jones agreed that part of the motivation to get involved is to face the physical challenge, coupled with opportunity to raise money for a good cause.

“It’s a fantastic cause, but just the whole idea of doing something as stupid as trying to walk 100 kilometres in under 48 hours is appealing. And from all the people we’ve talked to, it’s not something that we’ll ever want to do again after doing it once!”

Jones’s team has taken a commercial approach to fundraising, literally selling the t-shirts on their backs to sponsors. So far the team has raised around $1000, but expects a swing of support closer to the event.

“We’re open to bribery — anything that raises additional money — and we’ve still got hats and shorts and backpacks to sell!” Jones said.

Middletons has multiple entries on the fundraising board, and appears to have a veritable army of participants lining up for the event. At the Melbourne walk held in April this year, Middletons entered six teams of four. In Sydney, five teams have signed up.

Debra Filippin, director of business development, explained that the Oxfam event is a key part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility program. Middletons entered into a full partnership with Oxfam on 1 July last year, covering everything from workplace giving to providing volunteers for events or programs run by the organisation.

Filippin won’t be walking at this year’s event, but is considering taking a place at the starting line next year.

“Obviously, as part of this [CSR] program and leading the charge, I should do it to let people know this is something that is worthwhile and that you should do it,” she said.

For those keen to participate next year, it’s never too early to start training.

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