The London Legal Walk took place on 20th May, with over £575,000 raised for charities which provide free legal advice. Taking part in this 10K stroll around London were 7500 lawyers (482 teams), including the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Judge), the Master of the Rolls (Lord Dyson), the President of the Supreme Court (Lord Neuberger), the Director of Public Prosecutions (Kier Starmer QC) and the Attorney General (Dominic Grieve QC MP). Cuts to legal aid have made this annual event more important than ever.
Pounding the streets of legal London were a team from The City Law School, with Chris Lowney and Ellen Gordon-Bouvier alongside 10 students. Ellen tells us a little more about the walk:
The London Legal Walk is an annual event where law students, solicitors, barristers and members of the judiciary walk a 10 k course across London to raise funds for pro-bono clinics and legal advice centres in the South East. As many people know, Legal Aid is in the process of being all but obliterated by the government and access to justice for those who cannot afford to pay is a major concern. Pro-bono clinics offer an invaluable service in many areas, including debt, housing, family, employment and immigration law. City University itself offers pro-bono services to the community in conjunction with the Mary Ward Legal Centre. Funds raised from the legal walk will help places like Mary Ward stay open.
Chris gives his account below:
All quite enjoyable, if a little painful for the knees – over 6 miles on concrete. 10 students plus Ellen and I. Departed at 5pm from RCJ. Through Temple, along Embankment, Horse Guards, St James’ Park, across HPC, (nearly lost 4 of our party here to a no73 bus, as we misread the traffic signals!!) along south side of Serpentine, over the bridge – halfway point, then back along north side of Serp, major chaos at second visit to HPC, where we encountered the vast majority of the walkers from law firms – starting a bit later – stopped the traffic, then back through Green Park, Mall, Traf Sq. and Strand to RCJ.
Back at 7pm; 2 hours. More photos taken. Given drinks vouchers for much-needed restorative gargle. Main Hall of RCJ a sea of tired walkers, including 3 massage tables for the seriously wounded; CLS walkers did not avail of massage facility!!! But did avail of alcohol facility. Met Simon Innes and Prashant Sagar who were part of the security operation; this was apparently required as there had been a rumour that a movement called Fathers for Justice would pull some stunt to disrupt things, due to the august presence of the Lord Chief Justice and the MR, whom we didn’t meet but were presumably dousing their blistered paws in hot salty water somewhere.
RCJ got very crowded and began to resemble the Somme in 1916. Being a tad squeamish, we retired to the Law Society Hall where more drinks vouchers – and free drink – were made available. The main reading room looked a tad like Glastonbury with prone or squatting track-suit or lycra-clad bodies everywhere. I maintained the appropriate standard of décor and decorum by wearing suit and black shoes throughout. I mean, after all, we are supposed to be Officers of the Supreme Court of Judicature. I cannot, alas, say the same for Ellen. We encountered no security problems anywhere.
Ellen and I departed around 9pm to leave the few remaining CLS students to continue their recovery programme, through more vouchers.
Some final words from Ellen:
Personally, my legs are pretty sore but it was a very enjoyable evening (the drinking was more enjoyable than the walking to be honest). It is great that we have raised money for such a good cause.
The student walkers were:
LPC Interim Director Linda Jotham says: The CLS LPC is proud to have participated in this event, raising the profile of – and funds for – this important cause.
LPC students at City met up with their mentors at the end of April in an evening of networking at Grays Inn. Organised by Deputy Programme Director Linda Jotham, the legal practitioners acting as mentors were largely CLS alumni with others coming from respected law firms across London.
Mentors will offer informal advice and guidance as well as a window into the realities of their work, and are committed to at least 18 months contact.
Most of those acting as mentors will be 2 years qualified; meaning that they still remember the qualification process clearly! Linda Jotham and the LPC team did their utmost to try to match mentors and LPC students carefully, whether by size of firm or area of practice.
Mentors came from a diverse range of specialities; litigators in professional negligence and financial services, corporate lawyers, pensions lawyers, private client, family practitioners and property lawyers. There was also a spread with those from large magic circle firms, medium-sized City firms, provincial firms and high street practices. There were criminal practitioners and those from local authorities too. Those with more out-of-the-ordinary requirements were also catered for, with one student being matched up with an equestrian lawyer.
Jo Joyce completed the LPC at City Law School in 2009 and subsequently secured a training contract with Shoosmiths. She says she is delighted to be able to return as a mentor:
"I particularly enjoyed the small collegiate environment of the City LPC. The tutors know you by name and continue to take an interest as your career progresses. What really sets City apart is the high quality of tuition - the lecturers are experts in their field but they are also excellent educators."
What did the LPC students think?
"It was a fantastic opportunity to talk to someone in a firm about what its like to work in certain levels of firm, and to talk to him about what I want and where he would recommend. He was very nice and very helpful. He has kindly offered to review some of my applications and make suggestions of where I may have gone wrong and to ask around as to whether there would be any work experience opportunities in the types of firms I would be seeking a training contract at." (Aimie Farmer)
Young Lawyer magazine has joined forces with NCLT to give you all the opportunity to win a free place on their flexible part-time LPC, worth a whopping £5,900. To secure the prize simply write a feature for Young Lawyer on the very topical question:
Should assisted dying be lawful?
The course place can be taken up a any of the regional centres: Bristol, London, Manchester or Southampton and includes tuition fees, course materials, examination and certification. As the winner, you'll also get to see your essay in print!
See full details and how to enter on the Young Lawyer's website.
Closing date is 11th July so get writing!
Lisa Pearson's piece for the Law Society Gazette discusses the frustration of finding that many lawyers don't have 'the ability and desire to really talk to clients'. Read about her ideas for changing things via inclusion in the LPC.
Having spent the two years prior to doing the CPE writing for an e-commerce magazine, I already knew that I wanted to work as an e-commerce/IP lawyer. According to my research, there were only two law schools in London offering electives in e-commerce and commercial law. What swung the pendulum in favour of The City Law School was the idea of attending the same law school as Mahatma Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. The successes of the alumni certainly said a lot more about the quality of the education at The City Law School, Grays Inn Place, than the school prospectus.