No me neither, they don’t seem an instant association really in comedy or otherwise. Yet 82 groups of lawyers, law students, judges, support teams, and free legal advice centres have excelled themselves in the past couple of weeks taking part in the Great Legal Bake. There have been legal themed cakes, with Birmingham Law School Pro Bono Group holding a competition for their students to depict a Tort Case in a cake! There were some very imaginative examples…
Some put on themed events such as the vintage tea party at Bevan Brittan, a lunch bake off competition at Mackrell Turner Garrett and a full buffet provided at EAD Solicitors. Treats being sold included a piñata cake full of treats at Dutton Gregory, a skilful Lego cake at CILEx Head Office and very impressive cupcakes all over the country. K&L Gates made sure everyone had a chance to buy by going around with a trolley of cakes throughout the day and raised an amazing £600.
Coventry Law Centre had a legal VIP pop by to sample their cakes, Lord Bach certainly seemed to enjoy them (see pic). Hillingdon Law Centre also used the chance to really show their place at the heart of the community and had bake sales in their office, with clients contributing delicious morsels, as well as having a local pizza shop and café selling cakes to help raise funds.
But the message behind the baking was much more serious than the fondants and sugar coated fancies suggest. All these bake sales were held to provide much needed money for the free legal advice sector, where the need and demand for quality and accessible advice continues to grow, whilst funding and availability of resources and provision is dropping.
The Great Legal Bake is a national event run by the Legal Support Trusts that span England as well as Reaching Justice Wales. Each of these organisations raises and distributes funds to providers of free specialist legal advice in their area whether this be the local Law Centre or CABx, or a coalition of advice providers and other charities.
Free legal advice runs the eternal risk as being seen as an unpopular cause, with the focus being unjustly on the money to lawyers and their fees. Lawyers in this sector work an incredible amount for little financial reward. Their motivation lies instead in the worth of what they are doing.
For a family being threatened with homelessness, an elderly person feeling bullied by a corporation, a child who has been trafficked from another country in need of support, or someone who has been unfairly discriminated against in their workplace, these front line legal advice agencies really are a lifeline. And one that is severely threated at the current time.
All efforts make a difference. We know we cannot ever replace the enormous level of funding that has been lost from the free legal advice sector in recent years. But we can make a difference in helping thousands of people who otherwise would have been without a voice. Thank you so much to everyone who took part, baked, ate, donated or otherwise to support the Great Legal Bake. We are thrilled to report we know it has raised at least £7,000 and with totals still due in from over 30 of the groups, we hope that will keep on climbing.
Lawyers and cake – who knew they made such a great mixture?
The next fundraising events the Legal Support Trusts are running in 2014 are the sponsored Legal Walks across the country – to find out more and get involved with these, or be on the contact list for the Great Legal Bake 2014 visit www.accesstojusticefoundation.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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