31 October 2016 - Article
England and Wales, 2014
Charity Law Association
Me in a minute
I love working with clients in the charity sector who have a genuine passion to make an impact
What I enjoy the most about advising charities, not-for-profits, and individuals or organisations interested in establishing a charity, is the remarkable range of this area of law, and the level of enthusiasm and creativity of those I am fortunate enough to be advising.
As a trainee solicitor, circulating from practice area to practice area, what struck me immediately on my arrival in the charities locale was a realisation of the seemingly endless degree of its expanse. I was launched into working with art galleries and museums, industrial and provident societies, independent schools and academies, disaster support organisations, universities and professional examining bodies, large fundraising charities, grant-making foundations, service providing charities, medical organisations, dual-qualified US/UK charities, and philanthropists from an array of different backgrounds, each with their own independent vision. While the legal structures in place, the goals of the organisations or individuals, the sizes involved, the jurisdictions, the issues being faced, the governance arrangements, the contexts and backgrounds, and the rules or regulations of relevance were often very different, what connected all the people I found myself advising was a genuine passion to make an impact, regardless of the challenges or red tape they faced, and often without the level of media or public recognition their altruism deserved. I knew straight away this was where I wanted to practise.
Working with a group of enthusiastic, inventive people over the years, considering their queries and ideas, comprehending their business goals and ambitions, sharing their navigation duties as they avoid problems and overcome trials, and witnessing the impact of strategies and plans materialising into successful ventures, is and has been a great privilege. I have come to appreciate the importance of not just delivering accurate advice as to risks or relevant rules or changing boundaries in the regulatory protectorate, but in properly understanding the intended direction of travel for trustees, officers and philanthropists, and identifying opportunities and practical solutions to help them in reaching their desired destinations.
Outside of the office, I can usually be found on a rugby pitch, on Regent’s Canal splashing about on a paddleboard, or in far more pain than I should be running up a mountain or cycling round a lake after an ill-conceived sign-up to a triathlon (probably in Scotland). I am also learning Arabic, which – despite finding it challenging (particularly the correct pronunciation of the letter ع) – is becoming something of an obsession; I find myself staring at windows on Edgware Road, mouth ajar, sounding several letters out, celebrating as I decipher the word for ‘chicken’, then recoiling in embarrassment as I discover everyone is looking at me and thinking to themselves ‘why doesn’t he just go into that Lebanese restaurant instead of salivating on its doorstep!’