Meet Dan Lear, Director of Industry Relations at Avvo

Dan’s our resident thought leader—the guy who makes sure that we’re pushing the envelope in the way we think about legal tech. Not just in our products, but as a brand. I was curious how someone earns the title of thought leader, so I sat down with Dan to learn a little more about what his job entails.

Dan started out as a lawyer for various Seattle tech companies. He explained that even before Avvo, he knew he didn’t want to be a traditional lawyer.

“A lot of what I was doing was trying to facilitate discussions– speaking at legal events and writing for a bunch of legal publications.”

He even started a local Meetup group for those who shared his interest in legal tech. Now, he does basically the same thing, but with the power of the Avvo brand behind him.

“I try to talk as little as possible about Avvo. We want to be seen as a resource and as thought leaders. The goal is to demonstrate that we’re out there on the frontier.”

Dan spends about half his time speaking to other lawyers and bar associations on a bunch of different subjects related to the intersection of the technology and legal industries.

“Everything from honestly explaining to lawyers that consumers really are looking for them online, to talking about how artificial intelligence could change the way that lawyers do what they do and how consumers access the courts and the legal system.”

Dan recently shared his presentation about the online legal consumer, or what’s he refers to as the “Consumer Revolution,” the surge in demand for online legal help. Consumers are looking for their lawyer online, but surprisingly, some lawyers haven’t figured that out yet.

As someone who works in legal tech, I wanted to understand exactly why more lawyers didn’t instinctively know this, seeing as how tech permeates so much of what we do on a daily basis. From taking an Uber home to planning your next getaway on Airbnb, why shouldn’t you be able to find your lawyer online?

Dan explained that the comfort level of what people are willing to do online has increased rapidly since the inception of the internet. Take Ebay for example. At the time, people were skeptical that something like Ebay could ever work, let alone be successful. How do they make sure people actually fulfill orders? How do people get paid? Today, the concept of matching buyers and sellers on one platform seems simple, but it takes time for consumers to trust new technology.

For Dan, online legal services are no different. It takes time to build trust, but he’s ready to help others fearlessly embrace the changing legal landscape.

If you want to hear more about Dan, you can check him out on Twitter or catch him at the next Seattle Legal Innovation and Technology MeetUp.