Three days ago (on 3 September 2015) Sean Jones QC set up a Just Giving page called the ‘Lawyer’s Billable Hour Appeal’. This was to raise a target of £7,500 by “billing for Refugees for Save the Children because of the vital work they do with refugee families”. The page goes on to state:-
The refugee crisis is real, urgent and claiming lives. We are asking lawyers to donate a billable hour to help Save the Children do its vital work.
Not everyone can give, we know. If you cannot please deploy your advocacy skills to nag someone else into doing so.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Sean elaborated on this:-
I got very upset by the photograph of the young boy on the beach, and as a father of young children I just found seeing that utterly harrowing.
Given that this whole crisis seems to be energetic machine for creating appalling injustices it is naturally something that makes lawyers sit up and want to do something about it.
In just a matter of hours Sean smashed the target he set himself and just three days later, and as I write this post, the sum donated has reached £112,612.80 with 914 donations. This is an amazing response to a fantastic initiative. Much of the word has been spread in such a short space of time through social media which shows how powerful the medium is.
It is not just lawyers who are donating. Here are a selection of comments left on the page:-
- Another characteristically brilliant idea, Sean! I make no admissions as to what my hourly rate is though!
- I’m not a lawyer, but it doesn’t matter. Donating what I can.
- A couple of hours from a teacher (based on contracted hours, not the actual hours we do!!). So many refugee kids have come to my classes over the years, having seen things no child should.
- Thanks for providing this opportunity. I’m not a lawyer, I’m a disabled person who knows, in some tiny way, what it feels like to be without support. I don’t have much but a little is better than none
- I’m not a lawyer, just a humble plumber but please accept an hour’s fees from me too.
- I’m not a lawyer, I’m a photographer, but I loved this idea so much I wanted to pretend to be one today
Forget the politics – it’s about saving children. Well done, Sean.
- When I was at school and read about war refugees I couldn’t believe that people could stand by and do nothing – I don’t want to be one of those people who do nothing
- Even though no longer fee earning, proud to be a lawyer today. Thank you for making this happen Sean. #Syria #refugees #humanity
- I am not a lawyer, nor do I live in the UK but Sean’s appeal and the response of the British people have moved me. They are better than their politicians. Greetings from Ecuador!
- Law student in anticipation of billing something sometime…
- As a Legal Aid criminal barrister this is far more than one billable hour but far less than I’d like to give. This is a wonderful chance for lawyers to be part of the vanguard of compassion. Well done.
- I don’t do ‘billable hours’ but I do do ‘vital’
- I’m nine. I do not have much money but I did chores to get this money to donate because I think it’s a really good idea
- Sean Jones, I applaud your efforts to raise money for this fine cause. We should all do what we can to support these people in critical circumstances. From Sydney, Australia.
- I’m a 10 year old boy who does not have a lot of money but this cause is very crucal. We need to keep this cause going so please donate more. I am not a lawyer but my mum is and I want to be one too.
Sean has pledged that if the £150,000 mark is reached he will release the recording of his “career-destroying #LawSmash standup routine. Other LawSmashers will do the same.” Only two of the nine LawSmashers have so far released their recordings and you can hear those via my post on Law Smash: Lawyers do stand-up comedy. So get donating now for this vital cause to hit that £150,000 target and hear the full set from Law Smash. I am sure that new target will be well surpassed in a short period of time.
Well done Sean.
You can donate via Sean’s Just Giving Page: justgiving.com/BillableHour
Update – 20 September 2015
Two weeks after writing this post, Sean’s appeal has gone way over the £150,000 mark and today stands at £188,014.57. Sean has therefore, as promised, released his “career-destroying” #LawSmash standup routine. You can now listen to that via my post on Law Smash: Lawyers do stand-up comedy.