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Lawyers unite for kids

Lawyers unite for kids

An environment lawyer at Herbert Geer (HG) is chairing an event to raise money for underprivileged children.Herbert Geer partner Robert Wilcher and his wife Sophie Bartho have challenged other…

An environment lawyer at Herbert Geer (HG) is chairing an event to raise money for underprivileged children.

Herbert Geer partner Robert Wilcher and his wife Sophie Bartho have challenged other firms and lawyers to participate in '1$day' to see how much money Australians can collectively raise by donating $1 on only one day in the year.

Bartho hopes to raise $110,000 this year which will go to Save the Children (STC) to help build health clinics in Laos each serving between 3000-4000 people.

Wilcher said he and his wife looked at programs run by World Vision, Oxfam, Red Cross and the STC, among others, before deciding STCs' was the most measurable one to fund.

"The money we raise will establish permanent clinics rather than the existing decrepit wooden huts and we will be able to visibly track the impact of our funds," said Wilcher.

While funds can be collected beforehand- a celebration will be held in Martin Place on Thursday 20th October to raise more money and count it all.

With eight million children dying every year before their fifth birthday from preventable diseases, Baker & McKenzie property law partner and Sydney pro-bono coordinator David Jones saw a need to get his firm on board.

"With two children of my own I have the pleasure of observing the incredible advances and changes in the way we raise and educate our children, even compared with my own experiences 30 years ago. But millions of kids around the world don't have access to the most basic of health care or the opportunity for an education," said Jones.

Bakers has provided all of the legal work required to get 1$day set up on a pro bono basis, since June 2009.

"As lawyers I think it's important to give back to the community and to use our skills to help those less fortunate," said Jones.

Practising barrister Kate Morgan, of Tenth Floor Chambers in Sydney, sits on the 1$day board and said her young child had impacted on her decision to get involved in the initiative.

"About five years ago my eight-year-old son, Isaac, asked me whether, if everyone donated $1 it would solve poverty in Africa. The no nonsense lawyer in me started to explain the structural impediments to solving poverty. Luckily for him, his grandmother, much more sensibly said, 'of course it would Isaac'," Morgan said.

The event currently has authority to fundraise in NSW, ACT, SA, NT, TAS and VIC and is waiting for permission to fundraise in QLD and WA.

Wilcher said it would focus on Australia for the first three years and then look to expand internationally.

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