As one of the U.K.’s leading corporate defense lawyers, Gary Gallen is not afraid to challenge the way traditional law practices operate. Over the course of his 25-year career, he became frustrated from talking to people after they had already gotten themselves into trouble. So, he set out to create a new model for helping clients before a legal crisis arose. In 2012, Gary founded rradar with the goal of disrupting the sector, democratizing law, and breaking down the barriers preventing people from obtaining legal representation and advice. Headquartered in Yorkshire, England, rradar is a specialist litigation and commercial law firm that uses legal expertise and digital tools to proactively educate, manage, advise, and deliver solutions to reduce legal risk for businesses. With four U.K. office locations —in Hull, Leeds, Birmingham, and Glasgow—rradar fuses first-class legal advice and representation with the latest technology to deliver a preventative, education-led strategy making the law more accessible and affordable for businesses.
Gary is a member of the bar associations of San Francisco and New York State as well as GBX Global, a group of British tech entrepreneurs committed to providing a network of mentoring, advice, investment coaching, and support for British tech businesses already established or wanting to establish themselves in the San Francisco area. He is also a law tech mentor for Barclays Eagle Labs and is actively involved in the NHS Innovation Accelerator program. CEO Monthly has named Gary CEO of the Year for both the U.K. and Eastern Europe, and in 2021, he was shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the category of Disruptor of the Year. Gary was also a regional finalist for the North of England in the 2021 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
We recently spoke with Gary to learn more about rradar’s immense growth, innovative digital channels, and strategies for helping clients tackle business risks before they become costly legal problems.
What are rradar’s core values?
Unity, Authentic, Relentless, Pioneering - our values are a critical part of rradar and the company we are building. We have looked long and hard at what we would like to be and how we’re going to get there. One of the most important things we focused on was a set of values and principles that summed us up. They shape our culture and our people and what we’re striving to achieve – not just tomorrow, or next week, but next year and in ten years’ time. Our operating model has three fundamental pillars: knowledge, technology, and education. As knowledge and domain experts, we understand the knowledge businesses have and need, as well as the antiquated ways they access it. So, we make that knowledge relevant to different types of businesses through technology and education. We utilize both to help people prevent problems from arising in the future.
How has the pandemic been a catalyst for change within rradar?
rradar has weathered the storm and emerged better positioned to develop a new and exciting range of digital client service tools. Thanks to IT, business continuity planning, and an agile workforce including an in-house development team, we’ve remained fully operational and equipped to serve our clients. We supported them by monitoring the legal, regulatory, and economic developments, enabling us to react quickly, update our guidance, and offer practical help to struggling businesses – particularly when having to make often difficult decisions that affected their businesses and their people.
Now that word has gotten out that rradar adds value to both the businesses that use its services and the commercial entities with whom it partners, how has the company grown?
rradar continues consistently to grow clients, headcount, turnover & profits faster than not only traditional competitors but also most other companies too. We’ve been recognised as being in the Top 100 Fastest Growing Technology & Legal Companies in the north of England for each of the past five consecutive years. We’re also winning new international clients & business partners and we’ve demonstrated consistent growth through acquisitions and the launch of both new digital and legal services. But to make this happen requires people, and we’ve been recruiting some phenomenal industry experts including a CTO and a commercial director from large global firms; top talent who recognize where rradar is going and the changes we’re making. Taking all this into account, I expect that over the next twelve months, rradar will double in size. It’s an exciting time for our company.
To what do you attribute the rapid growth you’ve seen over the past few years?
We invested in all kinds of technology long before many others were on board with it. Several people even laughed at us for making such an investment, but after the pandemic, they realized we knew what we were doing all along. Law firms need to focus on how they deliver legal expertise to their clients faster, smarter, and better, and shaping their business plans around this. The digital tools we had developed and already had in place meant that we could reach and support businesses during the pandemic because our model didn’t require us to be face-to-face with our clients. The pandemic also made people more comfortable with the smart digital side of our legal services business. What we’re doing is very disruptive and different in legal services because we’re helping people understand the support they need as well as the digital aspects. People now recognize digital legal services are something they need.
Tell us more about rradar’s digital legal services.
With the wealth of talent at rradar, we’ve designed a wide range of assistance, advice packages, and digital tools to help clients manage the real risks businesses and their directors face every day. Our services include a client legal advice line, a 24/7 online resource library, and digital and business risk management tools. We’ve also built and designed digitally-based workshops to create solutions for clients and their businesses. We’ve proven that we can function and deliver sustainable services that exceed our clients’ expectations without meeting them face-to-face.
You were recently recognized as being an international advocate for change. Tell us a bit about that.
The Law Society in the U.K. asked me to be an advocate for change, and I’ve also been asked by the government to do some cross border teaching and collaborations, particularly in the U.S. This is because several states are now looking at changing law firm ownership rules, and they are looking at the model we created to implement more tech savvy services that will allow people to access advice differently and digitally. For instance, rradar worked with IBM on digital solutions and during the collaboration, I visited the IBM U.S. office.
A change advocate has the vision, the passion, the belief in a simple message that things can be done better and is able to tell people about that. rradar’s vision of the three pillars—knowledge, technology, and education, is simple and has huge potential to disrupt the status quo across the globe. I’ve shown proof of concept in the U.K. and it’s time to export that to an international audience. There’s a hunger for change and I’m privileged to be able to address that.
CEO and Founder