3/5/2016 by Katherine Memery
In the second of our ‘Realm Hotspot talks to’, we caught up with Richard Whalley, Partner at HRC Law, recent winners of Law Firm of the Year in the 1-5 partners category at the Manchester Legal Awards 2016.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
My favourite holiday destination is Paris. I've had my share of beach holidays and now prefer city breaks. I like Paris because it is a people watcher's paradise and I love trying to get off the beaten track. It is the sort of place you can just wander around for days and still not see it all.
Why did you decide to set-up HRC Law?
Simon Whitehead and I first discussed HRC in June 2012, nearly a year before we started. We both wanted to be able to work in a different way and provide a first-class service to our clients. Starting with the two of us in a serviced office, we've grown to a team of 16 people and just over £1m turnover so the gamble paid off!
And why was it that you became a solicitor in the first place?
My route to being a solicitor was a bit convoluted. After the usual childhood aims of being a footballer (not good enough), or a rock star (seriously not good enough), my career choice was to join the police. My parents weren't keen, but the deal was that if I did a degree first I could go for it. I applied to do criminology at university and got accepted. Then, for various reasons, I decided to take a year out. During this year, I rethought my plans. Though the forensic side of the police service interested me, I began to think more that I may be able to find this elsewhere. A friend of mine was studying law (she now works for a magic circle firm in London), and after discussions with her I changed University choice and course and did a law degree. Whilst on my course, I treated it as vocational and knew I wanted to be a barrister or solicitor. I ended up deciding to be a solicitor after shadowing both and the rest is history.
How did it feel winning an MLA recently?
Winning the MLA is a career highlight. Several of us have been nominated for and in some cases have won individual awards. However, it was great for the whole team to get some recognition because we take teamwork and collaboration very seriously. As I say, I am immensely proud of all of us and this was the icing on the cake.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the legal profession?
In my mind, the biggest challenge to the legal profession is based around the evolution of how firms work. The days of having finders, grinders and minders in a firm are gone, and all firms need to be agile and able to adapt to their clients. When I entered the profession, lawyers tended to be seen as being on pedestals and a bit remote. Now, like any sector, the law is a service industry and this is a new mindset for big parts of the profession.
And to finish, what do you prefer and why: nights in or nights out?
Ten, or even five, years ago I'd have said nights out. However, as I've grown older I think I now prefer nights in. There's a lot to be said for sitting there until the small hours with friends and a few bottles of wine putting the world to rights, and on the rare occasions when I get the opportunity, this is how I'd like to spend a Saturday night. I suspect if/when the mid-life crisis kicks in, I'll change my mind again but, for now, I'd say nights in.
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