RDP Director in the TSR Spotlight

Each month TSR Legal explores the legal industry interviewing people who work in different areas of law and gauging their experience and insight.

TSR Legal meets James Davies, Director and Practice Manager at RDP Law

This Month we are interviewing James Davies, Head of RDP’s real estate team. James acts for a wide range of property investors, developers, farmers and land owning SME’s across Wales, the Three Counties and the South West.
What has been your 2018 highlight to date?
It’s been a busy year for us and a positive one. We’ve seen practice turnover growth in double digits again and have seen some really interesting, valuable client gains during 2018. We’ve also made some strong hires as a practice, which will enable us to expand both existing practice offerings and evolve new niche ones, such as cyber security and GDPR. We’ve also been fortunate to be nominated for some national awards such as The Law Society Excellence Awards and the ESTAS. In all a good year, so far, but we’re always looking forward!.
How does your firm stand out from the crowd?
One thing we’ve worked very hard on in the last few years is our culture and I believe that’s a key distinguished between us and many other firms in the market. Our lawyers work flexi time so as to enable a genuine work / life balance and we are very focused on seeing them evolve both as individuals and within their practice areas. That means ensuring that they can work on high quality, interesting legal work in a nurturing environment but without sacrificing their lives to the job. We think a lot of firms pay lip service to this but don’t genuinely deliver on it. Yes, profit is important, but it shouldn’t be the primary driver for a business. Good culture and a shared vision for where we’re going as a team lies at the core of what motivates us and we’re very focused on cultivating that as we move forward.
What do you enjoy most about working at RDP?
Being able to work within a practice where everyone gets on with each other is really valuable. However, what I cherish most about RDP is the quality of our client base and the work arising from it. We get to work on some really high profile, complex legal matters but do this within small teams where everyone gets to input and where everyone shares ownership. Our relationships with our clients are very personal, almost symbiotic and there’s something very satisfying about this. You’re not one of a team of 50 advising a client. You’re at the sharp edge with them and that’s both testing and immensely fulfilling.
What advice would you give to aspiring lawyers?
To always question everything, so as to learn as much as they can about their practice area, how their firms work / operate and themselves. Also, to understand that being a lawyer is as much about dissemination of knowledge as it is about being knowledgeable. Learning good people skills and understanding empathy are key differentiators, in my mind, between good lawyers and really good lawyers.
What can we expect to see from RDP in 2019?
Continued growth (hopefully) targeted around the continued expansion of current practice areas and the evolution of new niche areas. Growth of team numbers to accommodate this. Implementation of new IT initiatives and the bringing in of a new bonus system, which will operate across the firm, both for fee earners and support staff. Continued evolution, but evolution that keeps the firm’s people and its culture very much at its heart. We have ambitions, yes, but we’re going to get where we’re going together.