Next time someone tells you that robots are coming for everyone’s jobs, point them in the direction of Rradar. Founder Gary Gallen is shaking up the legal profession by automating as much work as possible. But still, he’s hiring lawyers at a fair clip.
The East Yorkshire-based firm already employs nearly 100 people, and that headcount is set to double this year. Revenue is growing fast too; Rradar comes in at number 19 in the 2017 Northern Tech 100 league table.
It’s impressive growth for a firm that lawyer Gallen started alone in his conservatory just four years ago.
Today, law works much the same as it always has. The Legal Services Act of 2007 aimed to relax the way the sector worked, but it hasn’t led to much in the way of real disruption. Now Rradar is changing that by completely rethinking how businesses work with lawyers and insurers.
Education, not fees for simple work
Rradar is as much an education company as it is a law firm. Rather than just working with businesses when something goes wrong, it trains them to help stop things going wrong in the first place.
Online training, seminars, one-to-one calls, podcasts and more are provided to help businesses understand and tackle the risks they’re likely to face. These risks range from health and safety, to fraud prevention. If insurers can cover something, Rradar can offer a training package that helps reduce the risk that a claim will ever have to be made.
Now Rradar has launched a ‘Siri for legal advice’ app called Grace. If an executive needs to check, say, employment law, they can ask this virtual assistant for answers rather than being charged a hefty hourly fee for the same information from a human.
More interesting work for humans
Gallen says the rest of the legal sector hasn’t been too keen on the idea of taking work away from human lawyers. After all, this basic advice is the bread and butter of many law firms. But it seems to be making life more interesting for Rradar’s lawyers.
Now that it’s so easy for customers to get answers to basic questions, they come to the company with more advanced, interesting problems that are more fulfilling to work on.
“Lawyers want challenging work. When we commoditise basic info, we get more calls about the more clever second- and third-tier work.”
The tech side of Rradar’s business is growing – it’s explored virtual reality as one way of educating clients, for example. But despite that, its Leeds and Glasgow satellite offices are growing fast as they staff up with legal professionals. “Our customers want local representatives. They want drop-in centres they can come to for a chat and advice,” says Gallen.
Gallen argues that if the legal profession doesn’t commoditise its most basic knowledge, the likes of Google will come in and do it instead. “Tech doesn’t put humans out of work. It just reframes where humans provide the true value, using technology to create bridges of trust.”