Lawyers have raised more than £180,000 to help support the thousands of refugees fleeing their war-ravaged homes.

Employment barrister at London’s 11 KBW, Sean Jones QC, started the campaign after seeing a similar appeal organised by a group of children’s book writers that raised more than £100,000.

He set up an online Just Giving page asking lawyers to donate a billable hour to Save the Children. On social media website Twitter, he wrote: “Children’s authors are putting my own tribe to shame.”

Having initially set a target to raise £5,000, the appeal smashed that sum within an hour. The increased £7,500 target was exceeded, with £100,000 raised in 48 hours.

Donations ranged from £10 to £1,000 and at the time of writing the total had reached more than £180,000 from more than 1,400 individuals, chambers and firms with money still pouring in.

But in recognition that not everyone had the funds to give, Jones said: “If you cannot, please deploy your advocacy skills to nag someone else into doing so.”

Jones said: “I feel ashamed. I knew that the suffering and gross injustices the refugees are suffering would be something that lawyers would want, naturally, to address. However, I underestimated the urgent determination of my colleagues to help and their generosity.”

He said: “I’ve been particularly moved by the legal aid lawyers who have dug very deep to help, often donating a whole day fee. So much for greedy fat cats.”

“The Bar Council and specialist associations have all got behind the appeal. I have never been so proud to have such people as colleagues,” he added.

Lawyers in Canada, Australia and Germany have followed with their own appeals.