Dan Lear

Patron saint to misfit lawyers

Financially Legal is a twice-monthly podcast with accompanying articles on the financial aspects of the business of law. Host, Dan Lear, talks with law firm leaders, academics, business professionals and thought leaders to provide compelling and provocative insights at the intersection of finance, economics, and law.

Dan Lear

Dan Lear
Patron saint to misfit lawyers
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Recent Posts

Webinar Recording: Building a Scalable Practice with Subscriptions

Posted by Dan Lear on January 30, 2021

Last week I joined Kristin Tyler from LAWCLERK to talk about how lawyers can use subscriptions to build a healthy law firm.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Why law firms should consider integrated ACH

Posted by Dan Lear on January 28, 2021

In a weird way, eCheck or ACH payments are an anachronism. Or the name "eCheck" is, at least.

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Topics: Business of Law, Payments


Episode 20: How do you build a “cloud-based” law firm? An interview with Tim Parlatore and Elana Bertram of Parlatore Law Group

Posted by Dan Lear on January 28, 2021
 
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Topics: Firm Financials, Financially Legal Episodes


Webinar: Building a Scalable, Healthy Practice with Subscriptions

Posted by Dan Lear on January 12, 2021

We've been talking a LOT about subscription legal services lately. In fact, check out our recently launched Subscription Legal Services Resource Center where we've collected a bunch of our best subscription-related content all in one place.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Gravity Legal News


Why and How You Should Get Paid Electronically (from ABA GPSolo Magazine)

Posted by Dan Lear on December 12, 2020

Note: This article was originally printed in the November/December 2020 issue of the ABA GP Solo Magazine.

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 19: Should you have a law firm CFO? An interview with Kenna Valentine from the e2e

Posted by Dan Lear on December 9, 2020

“I was told there’d be no math.” It’s a common joking refrain for law students and even practicing lawyers. “I went to law school to help people,” so many lawyers tell me. But a firm needs to pay for you  - and itself - in order to keep helping people. Let’s face it: law firms are businesses. And the better a firm runs, the more people it can help. So understanding the finance and economics of a legal services business is crucial. That’s where Kenna comes in. 

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Topics: Firm Financials, Financially Legal Episodes


Gravity Legal's Dan Lear on Law Firm Autopilot with Ernie 'the Attorney' Svenson

Posted by Dan Lear on December 5, 2020

Ernie “the Attorney” Svenson has been thinking about law, tech, and making law practices work better for lawyers for a long time. So, we were stoked when he invited our own Dan Lear to be a guest on his Law Firm Autopilot podcast.

The occasion was the recent release of Gravity Legal’s subscription legal services white paper and the topic was . . . wait for it . . . subscription legal services.

Dan and Ernie talked about subscription fatigue (fact or fiction?), the importance of a solid value proposition for subscription legal services, how to get started with subscription legal services, how subscriptions can allow you to leverage your highest and best use as an attorney, the economics of law firm subscriptions and how that’s related to niche marketing, and how Gravity Legal is different from LawPay.

Check out the episode here and a big thanks to Ernie for the invitation!

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


The Gravity Legal Subscription Legal Services White Paper

Posted by Dan Lear on November 16, 2020

We're very pleased to announce the release of our subscription legal services white paper. Six months and over 40 pages in the making, this is every law firm's guide to getting started with subscription legal services.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


Can lawyers accept Apple Pay?

Posted by Dan Lear on November 6, 2020

Getting paid electronically is more relevant than ever in our current pandemic moment. It's no wonder, then, that lawyers have lots of questions about how to get paid without cash or paper checks.

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Topics: GPay, Apple Pay, Venmo, Business of Law


Tools for your subscription legal services offering (Part 5)

Posted by Dan Lear on November 1, 2020

Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts on the what, why, and how of subscription legal services. You can find our first post “What are subscription legal services?” here. Our second post, "The 'why' of subscription legal services (Part 2)" is here.  The third post, "The ethics of subscription legal services (Part 3)" is here. Part 4, "How to launch your subscription legal services offering (Part 4)," can be found here.

We at Gravity Legal recently launched a suite of tools that make offering subscription legal services easy. If you'd like to learn more about the tools we’ve built,
contact us.  

We also have three episodes of our Financially Legal podcast featuring lawyers who have built and are offering subscription legal services. Check out those episodes with 
Jon Tobin, Beth Lebowitz, and Kimberly Bennett. You can also hear me and Megan Zavieh discuss the ethics of subscription legal services on her Financially Legal podcast episode.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


Episode 18: How do you get started with a subscription legal services offering? An interview with Allen Rodriguez of One400

Posted by Dan Lear on October 28, 2020

Allen Rodriguez is a legal product development strategist who has been serving the legal industry for over 18 years. He’s currently the Founder and CEO of the law innovation agency One400. Before that he was the Director of Attorney Services at LegalZoom, where he helped LegalZoom figure out their, now very successful, subscription and lawyer-assisted offerings. He got his start in the legal sector running operations at the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service.  

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Subscriptions


How to launch your subscription legal services offering (Part 4)

Posted by Dan Lear on October 22, 2020

Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts on the what, why, and how of subscription legal services. You can find our first post “What are subscription legal services?” here. Our second post, "The 'why' of subscription legal services (Part 2)" is here.  The third post, The ethics of subscription legal services (Part 3) is here. We at Gravity Legal recently launched a suite of tools that make offering subscription legal services easy. If you'd like to learn more about the tools we’ve built, contact us.  

We also have three episodes of our Financially Legal podcast featuring lawyers who have built and are offering subscription legal services. Check out those episodes with 
Jon Tobin, Beth Lebowitz, and Kimberly Bennett. You can also hear me and Megan Zavieh discuss the ethics of subscription legal services on her Financially Legal podcast episode.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


Episode 17: How do clients decide to hire a law firm? And how can decision science help you in your practice? An interview with Nika Kabiri of Kabiri Consulting.

Posted by Dan Lear on October 15, 2020

Nika Kabiri is a JD, a PhD, a decision science consultant, teacher, and writer. If that’s not enough for you, just know she’s a rock star. Previously Nika was the Director of Strategic Insights at the online legal marketplace Avvo. Whether through market research, tireless and effective advocacy, or her amazing public speaking skills in that role Nika helped Avvo and the legal industry better understand the legal consumer.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes


The ethics of subscription legal services (Part 3)

Posted by Dan Lear on October 10, 2020

Note: This is the third in a series of posts on the what, why, and how of subscription legal services. You can find our first post “What are subscription legal services?” here. Our second post, "The 'why' of subscription legal services (Part 2)" is here.  We at Gravity Legal recently launched a suite of tools that make offering subscription legal services easy. If you'd like to learn more about the tools we’ve built, contact us.  

We also have three episodes of our Financially Legal podcast featuring lawyers who have built and are offering subscription legal services. Check out those episodes with 
Jon Tobin, Beth Lebowitz, and Kimberly Bennett. You can also hear me and Megan Zavieh discuss the ethics of subscription legal services on her Financially Legal podcast episode.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


The “why” of subscription legal services (Part 2)

Posted by Dan Lear on October 3, 2020

Note: This is the second in a series of posts on the what, why, and how of subscription legal services. You can find our first post “What are subscription legal services?” here. We at Gravity Legal recently launched a suite of tools that make offering subscription legal services easy. If you'd like to learn more about the tools we’ve built, contact us.  

We also have three episodes of our Financially Legal podcast featuring lawyers who have built and are offering subscription legal services. Check out those episodes with 
Jon Tobin, Beth Lebowitz, and Kimberly Bennett. You can also hear me and Megan Zavieh discuss the ethics of subscription legal services on her Financially Legal podcast episode.

“Subscription-based legal services? Stop right there.”

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


Episode 16: Could you be an outsourced general counsel? An interview with Beth Lebowitz from Auxana and Nimbus Legal

Posted by Dan Lear on September 29, 2020

Subscription-based outsourced fractional general counsel sounds like a mouthful, but it’s not really that complicated. A fixed monthly fee for part of a lawyer’s time offering business advice to a company. The examples of a variety of different types of subscription offerings in our recent five-part series on subscription legal services is all the evidence you need. Beth Lebowitz believes that this outsourced general counsel model is as good for lawyers as it is for clients. In fact, she’s so committed to it that she’s founded both a law firm, Nimbus Legal, and a marketplace/community, Auxana, around the model.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Payment Methods ,Subscriptions


What are subscription legal services? (Part 1)

Posted by Dan Lear on September 23, 2020

Note: This is the first in a series of posts on the what, why, and how of subscription legal services. We at Gravity Legal recently launched a suite of tools that make offering subscription legal services easy. If you'd like to learn more, contact us here.  

We also have two episodes of our Financially Legal podcast on subscription legal services featuring lawyers who have built and are offering subscription legal services. Check out those episodes with Jon Tobin and Kimberly Bennett.

If you bill time on an hourly basis for long enough you begin to ask yourself some troubling questions: Should I DIY remodel my bathroom? Or are those 70 hours better spent billing clients at an exponentially higher rate of return, while I pay a plumber to screw the job up better than I ever could? Should I do my own laundry? Or should I bill another client? Should I walk the dog? Or should I set the dog adrift on an iceberg into the ocean, saving myself countless hours that could be used to bill clients in the future?

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


Webinar: What's your law practice worth?

Posted by Dan Lear on September 17, 2020

A couple of weeks back we worked with Tom Lenfestey from the Law Practice Exchange to develop a simple calculator to help legal professionals to estimate the value of their legal practice.  We launched the calculator in conjunction with an episode of our Financially Legal podcast in which I interviewed Tom and discussed the whys and hows of law practice valuation as well as buying and selling practices. 

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Topics: Business and Culture, Business of Law


Episode 15: Can you do that with your law practice? An interview with Megan Zavieh of Zavieh Law and Lawyers Gone Ethical

Posted by Dan Lear on September 16, 2020

Lawyers can usually think of lots of possible reasons why trying something new in their practice is “against the rules.” Megan Zavieh is a California state bar defense attorney (who lives in Georgia!) and she’s not messing around. Instead, she’s launching a subscription legal services offering, cheering regulatory changes related to non-lawyer ownership and breaking down the rules around shifting credit card processing fees to clients or selling your law practice. Megan’s got some great takes on all of this plus how to run an ethical, forward-looking firm in the time of COVID and beyond.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes


Episode 14: How do you sell a law practice? An interview with Tom Lenfestey from the Law Practice Exchange

Posted by Dan Lear on September 2, 2020

It’s common for dentists or doctors to sell their practices but far less common for lawyers to do so. And a Zillow-like marketplace for law practices? Forget about it. And yet, that’s just what Tom Lenfestey is doing. Tom has built his business, The Law Practice Exchange, to increase liquidity in a market for law practices and evangelize the buying and selling of law practices as a legitimate option for the development, growth, and conclusion of a lawyer’s professional efforts. Tom has some valuable tips to prepare your practice for sale, how to get the most out of a sale, how to find a buyer, and much more.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes


What's your law practice worth?

Posted by Dan Lear on September 2, 2020


TLDR: Just skip the nonsense and give me a link to the law practice valuation calculator.


A few years ago I was trying to figure out what to do with my legal career.  I met with a friend and mentor for whose firm I'd worked during law school. Perhaps sensing my trepidation about the future this close-to-retirement lawyer said "I'll give you my practice." 

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Topics: Business and Culture, Business of Law


Episode 13.5: How do clients wish you talked about money? A mini-podcast with Gravity Legal’s own Emery Wager

Posted by Dan Lear on August 28, 2020

Our recent podcast on how lawyers talk to clients about money inspired Gravity Legal’s own Emery Wager to think about how lawyers had talked to him about money. A client of many lawyers at Gravity Payments (our parent company), Emery came up with a list of five things he wishes lawyers would do when they talk to clients about money. We dig in on this mini-episode of Financially Legal.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


How should lawyers think about money? The experts weigh in

Posted by Dan Lear on August 21, 2020

Listeners and readers have been pretty interested in our recent podcast on how lawyers talk to clients about money and our recent blog post about how one client (and Gravity Legal team member) wishes lawyers talked to them about money. So, we decided to ask the experts how lawyers should talk to clients about money.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Business of Law


Episode 13: Is there an ideal size for a law firm? And what, if anything, does that have to do with the online legal gig economy? An interview with Greg Garman from LAWCLERK

Posted by Dan Lear on August 19, 2020

Greg Garman is a busy man. One of the founders of a 20 person law firm in Las Vegas, Greg is also the co-founder and CEO of LAWCLERK, an online marketplace for freelance legal help. In this episode, Greg shared some great insights on how and why he thinks right around 20 lawyers is the sweet spot for a small law firm.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Episode 12: How do you talk to clients about money? Eight mini-interviews with lawyers across the country about a crucial law practice conversation.

Posted by Dan Lear on August 5, 2020

Conventional wisdom is that there are really only two reasons that marriages end: sex and money. Sex with a client is frowned on and talking about it - except, perhaps as a part of the representation - is probably not a great idea. However, conversations with clients about money can be some of the most important conversations you have with them.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Financially Legal Episodes


Episode 11: Can you build a sustainable values-based law firm and offer services to clients at an affordable rate? An interview with Jacqueline Horani from Legally Unconventional

Posted by Dan Lear on July 22, 2020

Jacqueline Horani is a lawyer engaged in integrative consulting and plain language law in New York City. Inspired by the integrative law movement, Jacqueline is building a practice around conscious contracting, which focuses on identifying and integrating the parties’ values directly into the contracting process.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Incubating The Future

Posted by Dan Lear on July 11, 2020
A lot of people talk about the “access to justice” gap. In 2007 Fred Rooney decided to do something about it. Applying lessons he’d learned helping a network of lawyers in New York build businesses to represent the poor and moderate means clients, Rooney created the first law firm incubator at CUNY School of Law. 
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Topics: Business and Culture, Gravity Legal News


Episode 10: What is the role of civil rights attorneys in the fight to rectify civil injustice? An interview with Geri Green and Cynthia Chandler

Posted by Dan Lear on July 8, 2020

Geri Green and Cynthia Chandler have been fighting for marginalized individuals both in and out of courts for decades. In this episode of Financially Legal we talk about how and why, according to the 2019 Clio Trends report, civil rights attorneys bill for so little of their work (20% - the lowest of any practice area) and collect so little of what they bill (80% - third lowest). 

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes


Episode 9: A legal “plan?” What does that even mean? And why would you sell one to contractors? An interview with Seth Bloom from Levelset

Posted by Dan Lear on June 24, 2020

Seth Bloom is the Sr. Director of Attorney Services at Levelset. If you’re not familiar with Levelset, it’s a company that helps all kinds of contractors, but particularly those in the construction space get paid and focus on what they like to do. It’s most relevant for legal professionals because those contractors often file, manage, and – when things go south - litigate liens. Enter Seth and the network of attorneys he’s building to help those construction professionals sort all of that out; but Seth's story doesn’t start there.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes


Episode 8: Can you balance work and life? Should you even try? Is there anyone out there who can help you? An interview with Erin Giglia from Montage Legal Group

Posted by Dan Lear on June 10, 2020

Erin Giglia is the Co-Owner of Montage Legal Group. As you’ll hear, Montage was founded more than a decade ago to exploit a “gap in the marketplace between freelancers and law firms.” Since then the model that Erin and her co-founder Laurie established has been emulated, adapted and admired by firms and freelance legal business across the legal sector.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes


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