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Why one firm pairs charity and community to its business vision

For Karim + Nicol Lawyers, “actions speak louder than words”. It is fundamental, the NSW-based firm believes, for service as legal professionals to be more than simply the provision of advice.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 04 February 2021 SME Law
Karim + Nicol Lawyers
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Karim + Nicol Lawyers director Michelle Karim first dipped her toes into the waters of community fundraising five years ago, to raise money for cancer research following her father’s diagnosis with stage 4 cancer. Fellow director Nadia Karim’s reasons were very similar, as she, too, wanted to raise money with her family to support cancer research following her own father’s diagnosis.

In the years since, the pair – together with fellow firm director Carrie Nicol – have been dipping toes into the water more literally, partaking in fundraising activities such as the Cole Classic Swim on Manly Beach in Sydney, operating under the “Swim for Karim” moniker, which Michelle Karim credits Ms Nicol for coining. The fundraiser has turned into an annual event for the firm, for which they lead a sizable team of lawyers and barristers. In March of this year, the firm will also partake in Laps for Life, which will see them complete a team swim of a cumulative 300 kilometres.

In 2020, the firm raised over $4,000 for bushfire relief efforts, on top of $6,000 already secured for cancer research.

 
 

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Michelle Karim said that each of the three directors has their own individual interests, but that there are “so many worthy causes and issues” that the trio are passionate about, including but not limited to Indigenous rights, mental health and child protection.

“Supporting different charities and bringing the industry together has become part of the Karim + Nicol culture,” she explained.

One of the reasons that Karim + Nicol was established, she explained, was so that they could “be different and make a difference”.

“We have offices in Manly, the Central Coast and we recently opened a branch in Byron Bay. We love the beach and getting out and about in nature. We make it our mission to support our local community – we offer pro bono advice services, are active members of our community organisations and local small businesses,” she said.

That new Byron Bay office, Ms Karim noted, is set to service clients located in Northern NSW (from Grafton to Tweed Heads) and offer quality criminal law advice and representation, in the same way that the firm aims to serve those in Sydney and on the Central Coast.

The firm’s work ultimately pairs well with its charity and community efforts: “Our work in the criminal justice system connects us with a range of people, many juveniles, living with mental health challenges. This year our chosen charity is ReachOut. Through our fundraising, we hope to spread awareness of and gain support for young people in Australia living with mental health difficulties, and to help prevent youth suicide,” she posited.

These efforts will be needed even more in a post-pandemic world, Ms Karim mused, given how the age of coronavirus and the subsequent economic downturn has left many people in the community “physically and socially isolated”.

“In particular, local businesses and communities are now more vulnerable than ever. It is so important that we stick together, that we continue to engage with each other and our local community to ensure we can begin the process of recovering together,” she said.

Ultimately, Ms Karim proclaimed, “actions speak louder than words” for law firms across Australia.

To that end, the firm encourages lawyers across the board to join their fundraising efforts – starting with Laps for Life in March, which will raise money and awareness for young people facing challenges pertaining to mental health.

“We welcome and encourage everyone to join us – to throw on their swimmers and have fun, while making a splash for the cause,” said.