London’s legal community is known for being highly competitive – a reputation that even extends to raising money for good causes. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, barristers and solicitors were recently back in the saddle raising money for Breast Cancer Care as part of the seventh annual Tour de Law, a sponsored cycle race on static bikes. The event took place all over London in law firm offices and barristers’ chambers as 21 different groups of lawyers raced against each other from London to Paris and back – all from the comfort of their own office as a variety of pictures and videos posted on Twitter (@TourdeLaw) demonstrate.
The Tour de Law 2018 cycling challenge was held on 17th and 18th October as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Its primary aim was to raise money in support of the 55,000 people who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK. This year’s participating competitors were: 11KBW, 42 Bedford Row, Co-op Legal Services, Drystone Chambers, Eversheds Sutherland, Farrer & Co LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Greenberg Traurig, Hempsons, King & Spalding LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP London, Latham & Watkins LLP Manchester, Memery Crystal, Norton Rose Fulbright London, Norton Rose Fulbright Newcastle, Proskauer Rose LLP, QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers, Reed Smith LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Wright Hassall LLP.
In what has become Britain’s biggest static-bike race, each team of Lycra-clad lawyers had just two days to cover 1000 km (the equivalent distance from London to Paris and back again) entirely on office-based exercise bikes. Individual cycling slots were typically 15 minutes each, although there was no upper limit imposed. Cycling lawyers at King & Spalding were able to enjoy a panoramic view of the City as they got into gear on the 22nd floor of their Old Broad Street offices; a Latham & Watkins duo attracted a large crowd of spectators as they pedalled furiously while two barristers at 11 King’s Bench Walk Chambers (11KBW) even cycled in their wigs and gowns, but still managed a smile for the cameras.
To incentivise and motivate individual team members, a live leader board in front of each group of cyclists showed their comparative progress in terms of the distance covered and the speeds recorded, as they raced for the much coveted title of Tour de Law Champions 2018. Further awards were also won, including Best Fundraising Firm and the Furthest Firm – for the total distance cycled. The top three men by distance were Charlie Ainsworth (Freshfields), Chris Smith (11KBW); and Matt Nixon (Eversheds) while the top three women were Li Peng (Eversheds); Helen White (Farrer & Co) and Charlotte Godber (QEB Hollis Whiteman).
The London managing partner of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Peter Burrell, says: “As reigning champions, Willkie Farr very much enjoyed taking part in this year’s Tour de Law and supporting Breast Cancer Care. The two-day event brings the whole firm together for an incredibly important cause and we’re very proud to be part of it.”
Firms have until 2nd November to collect all their sponsorships, but the confirmed total already exceeds £46,000 raised in this year’s challenge. Alec Raven, Head of Community Fundraising at Breast Cancer Care, says: “Tour de Law is a great opportunity for law firms to come together, race against their rivals and support an important cause. By participating in the largest sporting event in the legal sector, law firms and Breast Cancer Care help to raise awareness across the UK each year and to support people affected by breast cancer.”
Dominic Carman, journalist, writer and legal commentator.