A virtual fitness challenge to raise money for charities affected by Covid-19 has raised a blood-pumping question: which lawyers are fitter – those in-house or in private practice?

The legal sector challenge is the first big initiative from the In House Pro Bono Group, which was formed last year by in-house lawyers who believe providing pro bono work is the responsibility of all lawyers.

Co-founder Deborah Smith, senior counsel at Goldman Sachs International, says many charities have had to cancel or postpone fundraising events. ‘It’s difficult to keep fit in lockdown. It’s even more difficult to run a charity in peak demand when funding has dried up.’

The challenge has been billed as ‘In-House v Private Practice v Academia v Chambers, Courts and Inns’. Competitors are required to make a minimum £10 donation to the charity of their choice. They have to log their ‘active minutes’ – whether it is running on a treadmill, a daily walk outside or perhaps working out in their living room. The group will post challenges on its Instagram account for the chance to earn bonus minutes.

Smith says nearly 200 individuals have signed up, including 52 in-house and 119 private practice competitors. But don’t let the numbers fool you into thinking private practice is fitter – Smith says in-house lawyers are recording more active minutes per participant, ‘meaning the two teams are still neck and neck’.

The challenge runs until 22 June.