Aspart of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Darren Richie, Chairman and Founder of Richie Litigation.
Darren established his Los Angeles based criminal law firm to provide his clients with only the best legal expertise. Powered by unwavering principles of integrity, bravery, and motivation; Richie will never give up on a client. By founding such a nimble, savvy, and fierce firm; he has laid an impeccable foundation to help ferociously protect any prosecution or defense. His own experiences are what give the firm its iron will and tenacity for achieve excellence.
Darren has an extensive lineage of achievement and winning. Of the elite few from the C-Suite and President of companies, he has been responsible for ultra-luxury brands as Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Maserati, and Ducati. Through his entrepreneurship, he has created prosperous business enterprises. These accomplishments have made Darren no stranger to the trials and tribulations those building their own empires will face and persevering without fail.
Because Darren is so well versed in the challenges his clients may face, he is able to advocate for them with indomitable fierceness. His love for competition and strong drive for success are contagious. You will no longer be deprived of justice. Darren Richie will restore your freedom while casting maximum accountability on those who stole it.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
From my very first memories, I have always wanted to be an attorney. Courtroom drama as portrayed in our culture was very attractive to me. During my school years, I was very involved in extracurriculars that supported that dream — I participated in debate and mock and moot trials, competitively; and I excelled. Prior to graduating law school, I worked at a very large global law firm in New York City for two years.
While the experience was invaluable, I realized “Big Law” was not my calling. At that firm, I found I was more drawn to the business executives who gave work to the lawyers. However, I was determined to achieve my law degree. Upon graduating from law school, I entered business. My silent goal was to achieve enough financial success to start my own law firm. But as time passed, the money in business was hard to walk away from, and the risks inherent with starting your own business were outweighed by other needs.
It wasn’t until two the two worlds collided that I was able to launch my legal venture, Richie Litigation LLC. Those two necessary circumstances were a) financial confidence and b) witnessing first hand being wronged in the workplace.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Because I didn’t begin practicing until 14 years after graduating from law school, I could sense that opposing counsels on cases were not taking me seriously. Lawyers are not unlike other individuals in the working world, they are always looking to leverage weakness. Yet, in this case they were mistaken. I observed a lot of maneuvers that were designed to wear me out or make me give up fighting the good fight for people who have been disadvantaged by others’ misconduct. My resolve is not breakable.
I think those I was up against did not anticipate such steadfastness. It isn’t surprising to see that people who are in litigation resulting from negligence or intimidating tactics would demonstrate consistent behavior during the course of the actual litigation. Those very same people change their tune very quickly when they see a straight determined face time and time again.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Failure has never been an option for me…And it isn’t because I can’t stand to lose — it’s because I love to win. My motivation comes from both internal and external forces. Internally, I have been driven in this manner from the beginning. That core strengthens, though, when it meets external forces that call your integrity or resolve into question. My mantra is simple, but powerful, and it has worked for me time and again: “Whatever it takes.”
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Litigation is a long road. Cases we have filed from one or two years ago are now seeing their day in court. It is incredibly rewarding to know that, through our advocacy, our clients are getting their needs met. Seeing them being made whole is the best feeling in the world.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Like many employers, some of the largest — and, occasionally, the funniest- mistakes are poor hiring decisions. My first hire was a well accomplished and accredited attorney. On paper, this hire sounded great. However, when I met with this person, I didn’t have a great feeling about the situation. Against my instincts, I hired this person based on the names and places of prior employment (which were objectively prestigious).
The hire turned out to be a complete disaster for me and my clients. Always go with your gut.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
They say litigation should be viewed as economics and not principal. They say that a principally based litigant loses before he/she even starts.
We don’t believe that. My firm is built on principal. Richie Litigation takes a uniquely human approach. I have empathy for my clients’ issues — namely, being taken advantage of or being mischaracterized publicly. That compassion drives me. When I go to battle on a daily basis, I prosecute my client’s issues as if they were my own.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The key is to have a strong support network at home that forces you, against all odds, to unplug.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There was a time after law school when I didn’t have any money. When I say no money, I mean only a few hundred dollars to my name and no place to turn for more. I was offered a position at the law firm I worked at in New York which would have instantly put me on solid financial ground.
Following my gut, however, meant that I needed to take the road less traveled when I came to the proverbial fork in the road. I was almost begging for a job in business after graduation.
I was told I was overqualified many times. In fact, the main manager at the place I ended up starting at did not want to hire me. It was the manager below him that fought for my hire. That was a pivotal moment. Someone saw something in me and took a chance on me as an untraditional candidate. I am forever grateful for that.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why.
There will be days when you are so stressed out, wondering how you will ever make it to the next day. Learn to love that feeling because it is exactly that which will drives you to sustain.
Follow your gut and always, always, trust your instincts. This goes not only for hiring, but for everything else in business.
Pursue your dream relentlessly — if you do, everything will fall in to place exactly as it should. Spending 14 years in business after graduating from law school was the perfect preparation for launching my own firm.
Others will doubt you along the way. Use that doubt as fuel to fight even harder for what you believe in: your firm, your principles, and above all, your clients.
You will, occasionally, need to unplug. Home is where your support network is. Be fully present there — and allow yourself to recharge from time to time, so you can be invincible at work.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Head to RichieLitigation.com, for all of the latest news and updates.