Donahoe Kearney - November 2019

THE SPORT THAT UNITED A COUNTRY THE 1995 RUGBY WORLD CUP In early November, the 2019 Rugby World Cup will wrap up in Japan. The international competition brings out world-class athletes and entertainment. While matches are certainly intense, respect for the competition and for referees is a core tenet of rugby culture. After going head-to-head with an opponent, you’ll still shake hands, and maybe have a beer together, at the end of a match. This principle was on full display nearly 25 years ago at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in South Africa. The South African Springboks were up against the New Zealand All Blacks, and a number of factors made this an exceptional match. Just a few years earlier in 1991, apartheid legislation had been repealed in South Africa. The policy had left a deep cut, and the country still had a long journey toward healing and reparation. Nelson Mandela, who had been elected in 1994, was set on championing a “rainbow nation” in this new postapartheid era. Rugby started in England in the late 1800s, and colonizers took it to South Africa, where South Africans of every color embraced the game. It was controversial because of its connection to the architects of apartheid, but Mandela saw rugby’s potential as a symbol of hope and unity for a country that desperately needed it. Springboks captain Francois Pienaar (played by Matt Damon in “Invictus,” the film adaptation of this event) thought the president’s support of the team was a brilliant act. “During those six weeks, what happened in this country was incredible,” Pienaar said. Just before the final game that would decide the 1995 World Cup winners, Mandela sported a Springboks jersey and stood behind the team. Through a hard-fought match, South Africa came out on top, and, after receiving the trophy from President Mandela, Pienaar explained the atmosphere of the event: “When the final whistle blew, this country changed forever.” If the 1995 World Cup was any indication, the camaraderie inherent to rugby can transcend all kinds of barriers. Meet a fellow rugby player or fan in any part of the world, and you’ll likely forge an instant kinship. In 2021, you can look forward to cheering on the women’s teams during the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.


Like a lot of big firms, the one we worked at became more and more like a client mill. They took on high volumes of cases and cycled through clients so fast that they never got to know them. Clients were just numbers that turned into legal fees padding the bottom line. Keith and I wanted to actually

Moving into our first ‘real’ office in early 2005

form relationships with people — real

people who work hard to support the people they love. We wanted to

make a difference in people’s lives; we wanted to help the plumbers, electricians, carpenters, elevator mechanics, construction workers, and nurses of the world. We wanted to get to know and help the people and families who needed us. We wanted to hold hospitals, insurance companies, and construction companies accountable for the harm they caused regular people. We wanted to serve our community and make it safer for everyone. We were lucky we had all of you to support us during that time, and now. You’ve trusted us and referred your friends, family, and coworkers to us and helped us grow. We’re thankful we get to help all of you fight against a system that seems to knock you off your feet at every turn. To this day, we still don’t have the perfectly designed beautiful office space, but the first thing you’ll see when you step through our door is a wall of pictures of our clients. They remind us what’s really important. And we want everyone to know why we are here the minute they walk through our front door — our employees, our clients, insurance company lawyers, delivery drivers, the mailman, the Fed Ex guy. Everybody. It’s fitting that the month marking our firm’s start 15 years ago coincides with the Thanksgiving season. Looking back, we have a lot to be thankful for. So, to those of you who have been with Donahoe Kearney since the beginning, and to those of you who are new to the firm, thank you for your support. We may have helped you get back on your feet, but you’ve helped us stay on ours. So, that’s exactly what we did — and why we did it.

-Frank Kearney


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