2021 TAG Summit: Attorney Roy Hadley Describes How TAG is Addressing Racial Inequity in Georgia’s Technology Sector

For more than 30 years, Roy Hadley has been a trusted attorney and advisor to high growth businesses, governments, and family/closely held businesses. Hadley’s practice, Adams and Reese, is international in its scope and focuses on advising clients worldwide on complex corporate transactions, particularly those involving technology, cybersecurity, life sciences, economic development, telecommunications, outsourcing, and intellectual property.

Stay tuned for more coverage from the 2021 Georgia Technology Summit.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
We’re here with Roy Hadley. He is an attorney here in Atlanta with Adams and Reese and co-chair of the TAG Social Justice and Equity Taskforce. You must be a very busy man these days, right?

Roy Hadley:
It’s a fun time, big task, a lot of good stuff going on, but you know, really when I say good stuff, stuff that really needs to be addressed. And stuff that’s long overdue it’s kind of come to the forefront of discussion of people’s minds. And that’s a good thing. That’s really a great thing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It is. You got to have that before you have change, right?

Roy Hadley:
Absolutely. You know, I think the first thing for change is just acknowledging the issue, acknowledging the problem. And unfortunate circumstances have led us to where we are in terms of acknowledging the problem, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and others that have been impactful in terms of the conversations. Both at the family level, the community level, the corporate level, the government level, all of those. But again, just unfortunate circumstances have led us here, but we’re here. And so it’s just one of those things that, let’s take this opportunity to really move us forward, to help us collectively do better.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And is that what you spoke about today?

Roy Hadley:
That’s what we spoke about. Myself and Stacie Hagan co-chaired the TAG, Social Justice and Equity Taskforce. And our primary mission is really to look at threefold one, to look in TAG, in the TAG leadership, see if we’re doing what we need to be doing. Second is to look at the societies and the technology community in Georgia as a whole to see if we can be helpful there. And then thirdly, to really come up with something that’s going to make an impact. And it was that third one that is the most exciting to me because that’s where we’re going to really reach out to African-American technology businesses in Georgia. And offer support, offer funding, resources, offer leadership and just a whole global, I would say, holistic approach to helping these businesses out, which is so long overdue.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. So for the state that gave us Martin Luther King, how do we rate, among all of the other 49 States, what does Georgia look like in this area of diversity?

Roy Hadley:
Well, first Georgia is a leader in technology. And when you look at where Georgia leads all the different FinTech, cybersecurity, other areas, just a global leader in those areas. Unfortunately, some of the communities have not shared in that prosperity, let’s just say. And so the beauty of Georgia is that we’re looking at it and we’re addressing it and we’re putting it on the front burner. We saw the governor, Governor Kemp and Lieutenant Governor Duncan speaking. And there are a lot of initiatives that are going on, but what’s important is that they’re also addressing those problems. They’re addressing what the the issues are and how do we solve those issues and everybody’s coming together. And so that’s exciting part about where Georgia is right now, the leadership, both in the business community, the governmental community and the technology community are just saying, “Hey, look, we’ve got a problem, we need to address that problem.” And that’s what’s really exciting right now for Georgia.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
For sure. Tell us a little bit about your company and your law firm and what you guys specialize in and who’s the perfect client for your firm?

Roy Hadley:
Right. So the perfect client for the firm is anybody. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. No, Adams and Reese is a law firm, that really is a full service firm. We can do anything. We are kind of centered in the Southeast. So we run all the way from Texas to the Carolinas, we have a DC office. And so, we look for mid-sized businesses that’s going to be our sweet spot. And in terms of what I do, which is cybersecurity, privacy work, any company really, or government, a lot of my clients are governments where we really help you get prepared from a privacy standpoint or cybersecurity standpoint. But we also, again, do the deals, the mergers, acquisitions, the lobbying, the governmental relations. Again, that’s the beauty of Adams and Reese, just a full service firm, and I appreciate you asking.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
When you say mid-size a lot of entrepreneurs right now, listening to us and small business owners, I say small, they might have 400 or 500 employees. They still consider themselves a small business. What’s a mid-size firm. What’s the definition of that?

Roy Hadley:
Right. So it goes back and forth, mid-size is anybody that needs our work, if they have a problem. And I’m not saying that facetiously. When people say mid-size, some people say 500 million and less. Some will say, a billion or less. Some will say, company with 10 employees, midsize. So we really don’t focus on a dollar figure because that can be misleading, depending upon what industry you’re in. Or take the City of Atlanta, for example, in any stretch of the imagination, that would be a mid size company, maybe even a large company. So we tend to go where we can be the most helpful.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. That’s fantastic. And companies need somebody like you on their side, for sure. As a small business owner, myself, with a number of different businesses here in Atlanta when you talk about cybersecurity it keeps you awake at night, right?

Roy Hadley:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Because one major hit and you could be out of business, and City of Atlanta experienced that right?

Roy Hadley:
Right. And funny you mentioned that, I actually worked with the city on there that little issue that the city had. But you know, more importantly, what I try to do, I used to work in corporate America. I spent a large chunk of my career. So I’ve sat in the other seat and know what issues and concerns are, including funding and budgeting, nobody has a blank check. And so what we try to do is to be proactive and say, “Hey, let’s not wait until you have an issue. Let’s look at it now, let’s address it now. And come up and prioritize and say, here are the things we can do given the budget to really kind of make you more secure and develop that sense of holistic cybersecurity around your enterprise, in what you’re doing.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. My attorney used to say, “Well, Jim, you can pay me now, or you can pay me a lot more later.” But pay me now is a lot easier to prevent situations that may arise rather than addressing them down the road when they do.

Roy Hadley:
Absolutely. I’m telling my age here, there used to be a FRAM Oil Filter commercials, kind of mechanic greasy and pitching oil changes and basically saying, “Hey, you could pay me now, you do preventative stuff. Or you can pay me when something goes wrong.” And it’s much more fun on the front end. Keeping business is more resilient because nowadays everything’s coming at you. There are a lot of bad actors out there. But there are things that you can do. And if there was one message I would convey to businesses whether governments, whether big or small is there are things you can do. People tend to think, “Oh, I don’t have the money.” We can do things to help you become more resilient.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. That’s fantastic. So for people that are out there that are listening to us, have this discussion, this is a major check mark that you need to put a check through, or say, a box that you need to put a check through when it comes to cybersecurity. And making sure your house is in order and you’re protected and you’re covering all the bases and nobody better in Atlanta to do that than Mr. Roy Hadley. Thank you so much.

Roy Hadley:
Well, that’s very kind of you to say. I appreciate it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Roy Hadley:
My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks.

Roy Hadley:
All right. Take care.


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