One Reason a Group of Lawyers Plays Softball For New Jersey Kids￼
It’s a lot of softball to play – and money to pay – for one day.
In 2019, Barry Carter of NJ.com profiled – of all things – a group of rival law firms playing friendly softball games where the rules are slightly strange.
If a player strikes out, causes a double play, or gives up a home run, they pay $125. If they give up a grand slam, the price is $500.
And when eight law firms and lawyers from Prudential play this game for six hours, they can net anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000.
Where does this money go, you ask?
It goes to sending city kids from the Greater Newark area to camp through the Fresh Air Fund.
How the Giving Tradition Began
For over 30 years, lawyers in New Jersey have organized the annual Battle of the Barristers Charity Softball Tournament.
The tradition began with two law firms, Gibbons and the then-Robinson, Wayne, and Greenberg, who played a friendly match simply for bragging rights.
The losers would treat the winners to drinks after each game until they realized, what if we paid it forward instead?
Enter the Fresh Air Fund, an initiative of the Newark Day Center. Michael Griffinger, 83, senior director with Gibbons, recalls the days when only lawyers played, and the umpires were federal judges.
“None of the lawyers would fight with the judges, because they would have to see them in court the next day,” he laughed.
Today, the tournament has grown to encompass employees from other departments, a variety of other firms, and even Prudential.
Hundreds of Kids Sent to Camp
Every summer, some 200 to 400 kids benefit from the great outdoors due to the funds raised by the Battle of the Barristers.
That’s a lot of kids, and a lot of time well spent.
Newark Day Center is just ONE of the ELEVEN charities that the Greater Newark Holiday Fund supports. No matter where you come from, we are grateful for your contribution. And when you partner with the Holiday Fund, your gift is funneled across all 11 charities.