Episode 167 — Daryl Gray — The Power of Authentic Advocacy: Transforming Lives and Uniting Communities
We were all raised differently, experienced one-of-a-kind situations, and had milestone moments with people who’ve helped define who we are. Our individuality is what makes meeting someone else special and exciting: You never know where they’re coming from or who they’ll be.
Meet Daryl Gray, an attorney who firmly believes in valuing humanity and fighting for everyone who needs it.
On this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Daryl and Michael discuss childhood dreams to adulthood visions and everything in between, including:
- The importance of embracing your community
- How to truly earn someone’s respect
- Why living with purpose is the greatest thing you can do
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We’re all only human. “I grew up in a household that valued education within a community that was ravished by drugs and crime. I got a chance to see everything all at once to put values on things that were important. One of the biggest things that I put value on was humanity, and that’s because I’ve always seen people as people. I don’t judge. It’s not my place to judge anybody. I think when you start to look at that process of evaluating human beings, that’s what made me the lawyer that I am today. I get an opportunity to be someone’s champion. I’m going to be there for them and get to know them and understand what unique situation they’re going through. I always tell people that we’re all one of one. They always say that everybody’s unique, and that’s very true. But we’re all the same in the sense that we want to be treated with respect and dignity. So that’s how my upbringing in Memphis kind of pushed me into a situation where I don’t put value on things like other people do.”
Seeing law through a new perspective. “I was starting to have a lot of insecurities about who I was as a lawyer and thought that maybe I wasn’t doing the whole thing right. I wasn’t sure if I was built for this career, and I was worried that I had made the wrong decision. But all of that changed when I went to Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College. I went there without knowing what I was getting myself into, but I told myself that I would shut everything in my life down to get it done since it takes three weeks to get through it. I didn’t know how it was going to have such a profound effect on my life. When I got out there, I started to realize that maybe there is a different way of practicing law. Because of that experience, I’m now more comfortable doing what I do and living my life every day than I ever have been.”
People are worth the fight. “If I take your case, I’m going to war for you. That’s how I was raised. I talk about that all the time. A warrior doesn’t fight because he hates what’s in front of him. He fights because he loves what’s behind him. That’s how I am, how I was raised, and how I’m always going to be. I feel completely at peace and comfortable with being in a situation where I’m fighting for somebody.”
Addicted to ambition. “You can set these lofty goals and expectations for yourself, but when it starts to come true, what do you do with that? At the point where I am right now, I really believe that in the next three to four years, we’re probably going to have the largest Black law firm in the country. I even know that for a fact, but that’s not how I want to define my firm’s success because everything that I do is about sacrifice. I sacrifice for my clients. I sacrifice for my team. I sacrifice for my community. I’ve sacrificed all these for all these different people. I’m the last person on the trough. But I’m addicted to ambition. I’m addicted to the next thing. That’s why I can never put my finger on what’s going to make me happy. It’s not about the big thing, but it’s about being in a position where you are in all these different markets and you’re servicing all these different people and you’re giving them something that they can’t get from somewhere else.”
Make your people proud. “You have to value everything in your life. The one thing that you have to value more than anything is who you are as a person, because all of the people that poured into you, they did that for a reason. So to honor my family, to honor the people that have cared about me, to the people who gave of themselves to me, I just keep fighting and keep working for them.”
What does being a game changer mean to you? “I think being a game changer really means understanding the game, understanding it is a game, and understanding that there’s rules. Once you grasp that concept, question everything. Understand why there’s a referee. Understand why there’s an opponent. Understand everybody’s role in it, and then reach out on the edges and touch the edges and find space to make changes.”