Gary Gallen explains the origins of rradar, and why it brings a new way of thinking to the legal sector.
This is a true why.
Not just any old why.
Not a manufactured why.
Not a marketing why.
Not a politically correct why.
Simply an honest why.
In his last days we spoke of things we had never spoken of before.
He told me why he had never come to see me play rugby or football. Or play any of the sports I loved so much.
He told me why he had bought a card and wrote in it congratulating me on passing my law degree. I wouldn’t go to university when he told me to. I went when I made the decision.
Stubborn to the core.
He kept the card three years and when he gave it to me he said he knew I wouldn’t fail. He was already dying too by then.
He had no qualifications from school. He worked hard all his life to look after his family. I was born late in his life. Another brother came after me too.
He worked harder. The construction game is tough. And when he thought he was doing okay, the people he trusted let him down.
Bankrupt and bailiffs at the door. He told me what his dreams had been. He told me why he hadn’t followed them. He told me why he stayed.
Then he asked me to stay too.
He didn’t want my mum to lose her home. He asked me with tears in his eyes. He was asking me not to follow my dreams too. Just after that another stroke took away his speech.
I told myself my dreams are just on hold. I can still make them come true. Just a little later now.
We buried him on my birthday.
No one noticed except my mum. Just after I had helped to carry the coffin she said ‘Oh God it’s your birthday. We shouldn’t bury your dad on your birthday.’ I replied ‘It’s okay. It doesn’t bother me, and it feels right somehow.’
And so I stayed to take care of business. Lawyers and courts had to be battled. Bills had to be paid and my mum had to keep her home.
My dad had no insurance. Nothing written either on any contract he had.
He was old school. He trusted people. A handshake and his word were his bond.
But whilst he kept his word others took advantage. The system let them too.
Women come and go
I finished my studies after my dad died. I started work in a small high street firm. I qualified as a solicitor and started to practise law. I love the courts and the law. I love the people and the stories.
Why do people do what they do?
I worked round the clock. Different courts, police stations, prisons, meeting rooms or ploughing through paperwork.
My determination and willingness to turn out at any hour quickly helped to build a reputation and my practise grew.
The older lawyers didn’t like my arrival on the scene. They had no competition really until I came along to disrupt the market place.
And that’s when it happened.
Looking after my mum. My dreams on hold. Throwing myself into work and battling competitors much longer established and disrupting things and working out how to do them better.
I met my future wife.
My world got brighter somehow that day. Colours were more intense. Life was music. Every moment was filled with laughter, excitement and adventure.
Met and married in six months. No point in hanging around when something feels so right.
And then a first child. Healthy baby and mum. Absolutely fantastic.
We wanted the best for our daughter.
So I worked harder. Bigger house, better school, second car, bigger mortgage.
Then a second child. But this time a few complications. Lots of doctors. Lots of other opinions and hospitals.
Challenges of a different kind to master.
And then a conversation at work.
Concentrate on work and money. ‘Women come and go but the firm lasts forever’ I was told.
Time to go.
If you think about a client
My reputation was good. Lots of different opportunities.
And then an interesting call. Can a large global firm see me? It offers a different challenge.
No harm in meeting I thought. To listen.
Looking back, I can see why I rose to the challenge. My breadth and depth of experience and expertise were valuable. The firm was growing and raw talent like mine was needed to build a specialist team.
You have 95% of what we need already, they said.
We will teach you the language of the boardroom, let you access places you would struggle to enter so you need better suits, and we’ll show you how to use PowerPoint.
Oh, you also cannot join us as a partner. You may be an equity partner where you are, but to join our firm you start lower down. But, if you can do what we think you can do, you can earn partnership and lead a department again.
And so a big fish in a small pond jumped into the big wide sea and swam with lots of bigger fish.
I became a partner quickly. I became the department head again. Ranked number one in my discipline in legal rankings.
Then another meeting. Of course making money is important.
Then another conversation.‘If you think about a client even whilst taking a pee, it’s billable.’
Another time I realised I don’t really fit the traditional legal world.
Time to go.
Don’t ever show emotion
Family responsibilities are important. Work needs to balance with them.
Two different firms in quick succession.
Both with huge promise, but global economic collapse and fears of several kinds mean we see things differently.
I want to expand. I believe in the opportunities I see, and know how to grab them.
Out of fear and chaos, I see the huge opportunity to create a new business. New services and products that are better for people and businesses to use.
But law firms are not places that like radical change. And they certainly don’t take kindly to the idea of changing quickly.
So when I get passionate, personal and emotional and push for change from within, I realise it makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
That’s when it happens. I’m told you can’t ever show emotion or be too personal. As lawyers we should be detached, clinical and professional.
Time to go.
‘I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.’
This speech is special. Rutger Hauer plays the replicant Roy Batty in the film Blade Runner. He changed the script.
His simple spur of the moment changes are powerful and hugely emotional. In death, the artificial human character Roy Batty shows us he is in fact more human and aware of life and its beauty than most of the human race.
Hauer instinctively knew what the right words were and created a great moment of inspiration and movie history.
This is the heart of why rradar was created. Perhaps I was programmed to behave as a typical lawyer but like Roy Batty did not conform to the traditional stereotype and broke the mould. I changed my microchip.
Instinct is important. Passion for what we do is vital. rradar has been created to be instilled with passion, innovation, integrity and character.
Our customers are human. They are passionate about their business and expect us to be too.
Muhammad Ali said:
‘Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.’
And rest assured, rradar’s will is very strong.
Everyone at rradar combines their different skills with a passion to create better products and services. We challenge the status quo every day. This is why we created our own special legalosophy.
And we are stubborn.
We never give into a challenge. That’s our character. We see things through.
Life throws different challenges at you at different times.
And to us rradar is where different works. Come see how different we are.
Time to make things better.
Time to help more people.
Time to change the world.