Almost four years ago I was incredibly fortunate to join Avvo as their first and, to date, only (to my knowledge) Director of Industry Relations. The biggest compliment I can pay the Avvo leadership regarding the amazing space that they have created for me at Avvo is to repeat the three things nearly everyone says to me when I describe my job:
- “That’s your job?”
- “How did you pull that off??”
I have an amazing job for one of the best, most-respected companies in legal tech with a ton of freedom and a huge measure of trust. Beyond that, I also enjoy the ear of many members of the Avvo senior leadership and learn daily from them and from the amazing, amazing team at Avvo.
But, I guess I should have said “enjoyed” and “learned” because many of our senior leadership have left and, as of May 31, I too am leaving Avvo.
The reasons are many but they really boil down to two things: First, I’ve learned a lot at Avvo. I want to take that knowledge and help as many of my legal tech friends and colleagues as possible. Second, having spent time “fighting the good fight” both for Avvo in specific and for regulatory change in general it’s clear that legal professionals themselves are the biggest obstacle and the biggest opportunity for the legal sector.
Let me unpack each of these.
First, legal tech has come a long way since 2014. Many legal startups have raised good money from quality investors. Still others have bootstrapped their way to serious growth and innovative and interesting business models. Technology is permeating the practice of law. Maybe it’s happening more slowly than many of us would prefer, but it is happening. Instead of focusing on just one company and just one company’s mission (as awesome a company and laudable as mission as they may respectively be) I’m eager to take what skills I’ve got and all that I’ve learned from my time at Avvo and push as many of my friends and colleagues forward as possible.
Second, for many attorneys the “technology revolution” is still a long ways off. I frequently joke that my main job at Avvo was apologizing to skeptical attorneys for the existence of the internet. I saw this same attitude when I tried to spur discussion on regulatory change. When considering some of Avvo’s more innovative business models in a regulatory capacity lawyers would often say “Well, the rules are written a certain way today and even though we all agree that the rules should be changed, that’s not what we’re here to do.” Proposals for regulatory change were similarly slow and while some remain promising, they have still been largely ineffective.
So, what am I going to do with myself? Well, I’m proud to announce the birth of Right Brain Law legal tech consulting and the Right Brain Law professional community.
I’m doing two things:
First, I’m taking on some consulting gigs with a few select legal tech companies. As I said, I’ve learned a bunch from Avvo and seen a bunch of different legal tech business models. I’m excited to see how I can continue to push the revolution. If you’re interested in working with me, hit me up on Twitter or shoot me a note at dan [at] rightbrainlaw.co.
Second, if close-minded lawyers are our problem then broadening minds and building innovative legal professionals is the solution. I’m growing a community of ambitious legal professionals who want to do amazing, unconventional things.The community is still in its infancy but we’ve got a weekly newsletter (sign up here) and I’m piloting a career design jam for a few small groups of legal professionals. I’m already at capacity but you can add yourself to the waitlist here and see the details here.
My time at Avvo has been amazing. I hope that my subsequent endeavors both immediate and long term justify the chance Avvo took on a lawyer with a unique background and a lot of energy about helping lawyers do things differently.
In the end, I’m convinced that the best way to express my gratitude is to carry on in the spirit in which they brought me in: pushing forward boldly and passionately striving to work with good, smart people and to succeed in making the world a better place.
 The “team of passionate, smart and driven people was assembled in Seattle who believed that there had to be a better way to deliver legal services to average people.” as Kevin O’Keefe recently referred to them.
 Yeah, yeah, the website is still a work in progress. In lean startup fashion, I’m working to lock down product/market fit before I pour on too much of the marketing gas