In this episode of “The Geek in Review,” co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer engage with Dan Lear, VP of Partnerships at InfoTrack, capturing insights from the latest LegalWeek 2024 conference. Lear shares his observations on the evolving landscape of legal technology, noting the increased diversity of technologies present at the conference compared to previous years. He highlights a shift from a narrow focus on eDiscovery to a broader array of legal tech solutions, indicating a significant expansion in the sector’s innovation and investment interest.

Dan Lear delves into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal industry. While AI dominated previous discussions with a mix of fear and fascination, Lear suggests the narrative is shifting towards practical integration and utility. The conversation reflects on the cyclical hype surrounding AI, with speculation on whether the legal sector has reached or surpassed its peak AI moment. Lear posits that the real value of AI will unfold as it becomes more embedded in legal workflows, transforming efficiency rather than replacing legal professionals outright.

InfoTrack’s role and offerings in the legal tech space receive a detailed exploration. Lear explains how InfoTrack serves primarily small to medium-sized law firms, facilitating more efficient litigation support through integrated cloud-based solutions. He underscores the challenge and opportunity in educating and transitioning firms to embrace digital practices for docketing and court filings, emphasizing InfoTrack’s mission to expand electronic access to court services for the betterment of legal accessibility and efficiency.

Lear further discusses the demands and dynamics of InfoTrack’s clientele, identifying a trend towards specialization and business acumen within law firms. He predicts that technology will play a pivotal role in enabling firms to succeed by enhancing client acquisition, service delivery, and operational efficiency. The conversation underscores a broader industry evolution towards recognizing and leveraging technology not just for the sake of innovation, but as a strategic asset to differentiate and thrive in a competitive landscape.

Concluding the episode, Lear reflects on the future trajectory of the legal industry and InfoTrack’s place within it. He envisions a legal sector increasingly shaped by technological advancements, where AI and digital platforms streamline processes and redefine the nature of legal work. Through Lear’s insights, the episode offers a compelling snapshot of the current state and exciting prospects of legal technology, highlighting the continuous journey towards more accessible, efficient, and innovative legal services.

Listen on mobile platforms:  ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠ |  ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠
Contact Us: 

Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Threads: @glambertpod or @gebauerm66
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls


Marlene Gebauer 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal profession. I’m Marlene Gebauer,

Greg Lambert 0:14
And I’m Greg Lambert. And we are still at legal week. Four we haven’t left yet. Although it’s getting closer. Yes, yeah. So we I went out onto the, into the vendor Hall and in and ran into Dan Lear. InfoTrack is the VP of partnerships there. And he was gracious enough to come on down and talk with us. So, Dan, welcome to The Geek in Review.

Dan Lear 0:42
Hey, thanks, Greg. And Marlene, it’s really a pleasure to be with you. I went really hard on karaoke last night so my voice is a

Greg Lambert 0:51
little I did that on on Tuesday night, man.

Dan Lear 0:53
It was amazing. It was so very fun.

Marlene Gebauer 0:57
What’s your go to song?

Dan Lear 1:00
Honestly, as hard as I went last night, it’s really funny that I haven’t done it a lot. But I think Adam cameras one of my colleagues actually want Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi is probably that’s a tough one. My my second, which I didn’t get to know. But I did have on the queue was, which I think is what I got to do. This one again, is shocked me all night long by AC DC.

Greg Lambert 1:24
That’s a crowd please.

Dan Lear 1:25

Greg Lambert 1:26
Marlene, what’s your go to?

Marlene Gebauer 1:29
Probably hit me with your best shot.

Greg Lambert 1:30
Yeah, that’s a good,

Dan Lear 1:31
That’s a good one. And

Greg Lambert 1:32
then, typically, I do love Shaq, because I can I can, I can usually get like two or three women to come up and sing along and they have the hard part.

Dan Lear 1:43
Yeah. And you just sit back there and go.

Greg Lambert 1:48
Although if I do it by myself, then I will go to hot blooded from foreigner. Also, that’s also fantastic. Can’t go wrong with the you know, 70s class. Yeah.

Dan Lear 1:58
Yeah, just a tinge of sort of want to say cheese. But like, yeah, there’s

Greg Lambert 2:04
a tinge. Yeah, there’s a lot.

Dan Lear 2:07
Yeah, but it’s, it’s but yeah, it lands in a great way. These days.

Greg Lambert 2:12
Oh, well, then.

Marlene Gebauer 2:14
I was gonna say So Dan, like other than carry on. You know, how has your experience?

Dan Lear 2:19
Is there a show?

Marlene Gebauer 2:21
Or anything else? How is your experience been here at att legal week? You know, what are what are your some of your takeaways? Yeah, my voice.

Dan Lear 2:29
Yeah. It’s, it’s been really interesting. So I have not been to this show. I think the last one I came to was actually the January right before the pandemic. So that’s, that’s just generally been interesting. I think we’re all sort of reemerging from this weird. last few years, um, takeaways. So? I mean, I think one of the things that that, that most people have commented on that I think is fairly interesting is there seems to be a much greater breadth of technologies here. I think. And, and, and just ediscovery anymore. Yeah. Which, again, this show, I think, got maybe an unfair rap, kind of, for being just an ediscovery show. So I think that’s been really interesting. I think, and I think, honestly, just to extrapolate that out a little bit, I think it’s a really interesting testament to, I think, technology that is like, finally kind of coming to the legal sector. And I guess, kind of to take that one step further. This is something I’ve been paying moderate attention to. I feel like there’s a lot more people in finance here, like, evaluating looking at thinking about investing in these technologies, which I don’t, didn’t feel to me like was, which seems really obvious being in New York, but to me didn’t feel like it was as prevalent in years past when I’ve been here. Maybe I just pay more attention to you. And maybe I know who those people are. Because on occasion, I’ve had conversations with them. But

Marlene Gebauer 4:04
I think I think that’s an area that’s gaining popularity, and I probably shouldn’t mention other conferences, while we’re here at legal week. But there are other conferences that are devoted specifically to that sort of bringing, you know, bringing buyers, developers and investors together.

Greg Lambert 4:20
We had an entire show about that. Exactly. Oh, interest.

Dan Lear 4:24
No. So I think I think that’s, I think that’s an interesting thing that’s happened, but I think the and of course, of course, AI you know, last year we were scared now we’re like leaning in and super engaged. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next year. Yeah, it almost we’ve been joking. And I’ve had a few conversations sort of, are we have we reached the end or are we past peak AI in legal but it’s certainly everywhere. You know, at this show?

Marlene Gebauer 4:56
Yeah. All I’m keeping hearing everyone’s like, Yeah, I think we’re at the peak or sort of going down into the trough. off. And so I think that’s what everybody’s sort of saying, well, and

Dan Lear 5:03
to be clear, and I don’t want to turn the microphone back on you guys, let me let me start. I think this is when it actually gets interesting, right? Because now it’s permeated right now they’ve really sold it. Like people we end up doing with this stuff. Like, that’s when I think stuff can start to get really interesting.

Greg Lambert 5:23
Now you have to actually have have something to show totally and do work around. is not about talking anymore. It’s about doing

Dan Lear 5:30
Absolutely, yeah. It’s not about just sort of adding AI to your name or putting it on your domain. It’s like, okay, now you got to stop.

Greg Lambert 5:38
She didn’t have that AI is, is your new name. And your Yep. Well, for listeners who may not know about InfoTrack. Given the kind of a high level overview of what you do, and who your customer base is. A have the wrist radio that

Dan Lear 6:26
I know. Again, like it’s crazy how this works, right. But I sort of I got the apple or Apple Watch. Yeah, I got the Apple Watch. And I’m realizing like this. This is like more than Dick Tracy. Right. And that seemed like so cool back.

Greg Lambert 8:59
Yeah. One of the new ones too.

Dan Lear 9:01
It’s a year old. Yeah, yeah. That’s yeah, this is not the I have any thoughts about the Apple Watch? This is not that podcast, unless of course you want it to be. But it’s yeah, it’s insane.

Marlene Gebauer 9:14
So I mean, it’s interesting with the docket services, because you know, there’s so many sort of online, kind of docket retrieval, like you basically can kind of, sorry, you basically can go and get it online. But I mean, there’s still a number of jurisdictions where, you know, you can’t get that or maybe certain things that you can’t get. So, you know, is that something you’re considering to in terms of sort of offering that kind of online support

Dan Lear 9:39
Gor courts in which it’s not available online yet?

Marlene Gebauer 9:43

Dan Lear 9:44
So it’s, that’s a super interesting question. The short answer is we still have a lot of work to do in terms of just covering the courts that do offer online so that’s like step one is like for those where it is available, let’s like currently, I think our docketing product is only available in New York. work, New Jersey and I think Georgia, and there are many more states that would enable us to do if we want to do. So that’s step one is like, let’s just get the places that are easy, like, you know, the low hanging fruit. Beyond that. You know, it’s a fun question Marlene, and where I also where I often like to go is maybe too far into the future. But you know, one of the things that I really am excited about working at InfoTrack is, and I think, again, your audience in YouTube will probably agree is like, all of this stuff should be electronic. Like, there’s just no reason for it not to be. And again, if I can, ever so briefly get on my soapbox, I think the more it becomes electronic, the greater access, we’re able to provide to not only the legal profession, but the public in general, which I think is like a net positive for our society. So like, that’s the, you know, that’s the part that kind of gets me jazzed. But part of what we’re really working to do is not only kind of encourage courts who either have electronic filing or electronic dockets available to enact sensible rules around how people can access them and make them available to folks like us, as well as others. So that’s kind of step one, but also like to encourage those courts who don’t currently have it to bring them online. So that was a little, I still didn’t answer your question, I sort of

Marlene Gebauer 11:23
That’s alright, we always tell people to answer the question you want.

Dan Lear 11:29
We do in some cases, and I mean, I may be telling tales out of school, but I’m pretty sure this is true. In some cases where. And I yeah, I would love for us to see, let me put it this way. And I should caveat all this by saying I’m relatively new enroll, I just started this job in November. So there’s still pieces of the business I’m learning. I do believe that we can, in some cases, initiate physical filing kind of through that electronic portal. So like in some courts, we can, again, like the service of process piece, basically send a message out to like a courier service, who then delivers filings physically. So we do do that. I think. I think for us, it’s about a getting that low hanging fruit of folks, you know, of courts who either are just coming online in terms of E filing, or are already and don’t have the greatest rules or seem inclined to move in that direction. It’s about either working with them, or encouraging them to move in the right direction. Instead of you know, I mean, we could, we could absolutely build out a much more sophisticated kind of ground game, if you will, right, that handles all of the physical filing for all of these different places. But I think ultimately, again, kind of going back to my, my more sort of accessing note, We’d rather see those courts come into the digital age. And so kind of pushing them that way is probably where we’d be investing our resources. But we do do that from time to time.

Greg Lambert 13:01
So your customer base, you know, what’s, what’s kind of the average? How’s your customer?

Dan Lear 13:07
Yeah, and you ask that question earlier

Greg Lambert 13:09
that’s fine. But I also want to build on that, you know, what are some of the demands that you’re seeing from customers? Now and 2024, whether it’s coming up to the booth and talk to you or, you know, shoot me an email? So what which customer look like, and what are they kind of asking you to do for them now.

Dan Lear 13:32
So customers for us tend to be a little bit on the smaller side. That’s more to some degree by choice. The way we’ve decided to build the business is just to focus on kind of that small to medium sized law firm segment.

Greg Lambert 13:48
And how would you define that?

Dan Lear 13:50
I mean, we have firms everywhere from solos on up to firms of about 100 people. So yeah, like the super well, I don’t know, yeah, much bigger than that. And kind of to just drill down there. Those firms don’t tend to use the systems with which we, you know, kind of cloud based systems, which with which we often integrate. So I think that’s kind of one piece. And then I think that just like, from a business perspective, we’ve just chosen not to sort of be patient enough to wait through those sales cycles, at least not right now. Again, it’s just a decision, I think, at some point, and I think there definitely needs on that level as well. We’ve just kind of chosen to focus. I think the I think the other thing is personal injury, family, probate, all of those tend to be with firms that are a little bit kind of on the smaller side, right. So that’s also I think, the and those are the those are the those are the a large majority of the filings, right? And so kind of the overlap of all those pieces is sort of how to spot because they’re your second question was,

Greg Lambert 15:04
what are the client demands?

Dan Lear 15:05
What are they asking for? Um, so honestly, it’s it’s really interesting for many of these firms, and integrated kind of litigation support offering, this is like the first time they’re really experiencing this. And so honestly, like, a lot of them, I would say our bigger challenges are like, Hey, you should be doing it this way, instead of leaving your practice management system and going to, you know, either initiate service a process manually over the phone, or like, filing your, you know, your case electronically in the court, like, truly that’s, like, helping them understand the benefits of what we’re doing, I think is still like a really big part of the work that we’re doing. And, and honestly, like, it’s pretty remarkable. How much and I’m like, I’m not trying to over

Marlene Gebauer 16:08
well, no, I mean, I think I think that’s a real well, for everybody. And like, how do you manage that change management conversation?

Dan Lear 16:18
This fellow use a little bit of a different, wasn’t crass was crass. But it wasn’t a cuss word. But we had somebody come up to our booth at a conference a few months ago, who said, Hey, I just went and use your electronic filing portal. He’s like, it’s like the best thing I’ve ever heard. He was like, like, ecstatic about the experience. And again, I’m not trying to sell us here. I’m just saying, like, I don’t think that people are conditioned to think of things as endless. I mean, let’s be honest. Also, this is one of the hurdles we run into as well. In some cases, lawyers built for this time, or legal professionals built for this time, right. So to some degree, weren’t weren’t, were making things more efficient, were arguably kind of going counter to their incentives. But yeah, kind of step one is just like opening people’s eyes and helping them see this kind of what do I think that they want? Or, honestly, it’s really more of a conversation of like, what do we think they should want. And that sounds a little bit arrogant, but like, the vision we have is that our workflow and the way that people use us in practice management system is still very disjointed in a practice management system is still very disjointed. So we’d love to figure out a way to make it more immersive to make it more natural to make it easier. Just so that, like, it’s, it’s more obvious. So that a lot of the things I mean, again, you know, when when practice management first emerged on the scene, well, now, I mean, let’s talk just cloud based because that’s, that’s a tree with which I’m familiar. I don’t go that far back in the legal sector. You know, it was just radical to have Time and Billing. And now you know, now there’s documents. Now there’s calendaring. Now, there’s email integration, and all that stuff, just feel so comfortable. And we want to get to a place where like, it’s just second nature that you can go into one of these systems and expect that you can file electronically and maybe not even know that info trackers on the back end.

Greg Lambert 18:18
Do you want to do crystal ball or you got other questions? All right. Well, before we get to the crystal ball, is there anything that that we haven’t asked you that you’d want to talk about?

Dan Lear 18:28
Um no, I would just say I have, I’m familiar with the podcast. I think it’s fantastic. I love what you guys are doing. I love that there are people out there talking about this stuff. So I just wanted to give you a pat on the back for the work that you’re doing. And thank you for for letting me here, even though we’re not even done. But that was, ya know, it’s been a pleasure.

Marlene Gebauer 18:56
All right, it’s great. Well, so we do ask everybody the crystal ball questions. So if you’re a listener, you know, you know, they do indeed. And so sort of, you know, taking your crystal ball and looking in the next two to four years, you know, what are some things you see in terms of trends or challenges or changes that we’re going to see in the industry?

Dan Lear 19:22
So let’s see, what’s the best. I mean, I’m trying to decide whether to do AI first or last. I think we’ll start with AI. So I, I think it is going to become like email. Not from the perspective of like, I think it will probably have, ultimately a pretty significant impact on on the way we work, but maybe not in the way that we think like I just don’t I for a variety of reasons. I just don’t think it’s ever going to like replace legal professionals people can’t see me vendu Unlike the air quotes, I just I, like lawyers have and legal professionals have existed for for time immemorial. And I think they, they always will, for a whole wide variety of reasons, I just don’t think I think it’s going to be a really, really long time before any of that makes any sense. But I do think like, you know, the speed at which we get things done, the speed at which we communicate the speed with which we are expected to respond, as legal professionals has increased dramatically with the introduction of new technologies, and it’s not even speed as so much of its efficiency, right, the way that we do things. There are very, very, very, so I started my legal career as a, as a records filing clerk in a large law firm in Seattle, Washington, which is where I live. And there was a fairly, and this fellow wasn’t even that old, then. He’s like, in his 50s, which again, to me, doesn’t seem old anymore. But he says, and this is like 2001 2002, he would, he would receive emails, his secretary would print them out, he would hand write responses, and then she would put them back into the so kind of along those lines, I don’t think there are too many lawyers hand drafting their you know their briefs anymore, maybe they do, because they like it. But like, you know, there’s just much more efficient ways to do that. So I really see. I see it becoming, you know, a tool that again, like, if you’re, like super adept at word, you’re, you’re way more efficient and way more effective than your, you know, than your lawyer down the street or your lawyer from 30 years ago. But you know, it’s not doing the work for you. And so I really think that that’s sort of how we’re going to see kind of AI evolve. I think the other pieces that I am watching, I think there is my my, like, the practice of law, from my perspective is just is becoming more and more of a business. And I like nother podcast another time, we can talk about whether or not that’s a good thing, but I do think it relates to technology. And I’ll get there. And I say that in terms of the VA law firms, I think it has a few different impacts. The law firms that I see succeeding are those who know how to do certain things like specific, they specialize, like just to be very candid. And or they are like, very, very good at a lot of the business end of the profession, acquiring customers, servicing customers, marketing, running operations, that sort of thing. And I think what that means is, I think you’re going to see increasingly those firms succeed and grow. And a lot of the firm’s that either don’t have those skills or don’t have the sort of wherewithal to focus are not going to be as successful. That’s that’s sort of the the the, you know, if I look into the crystal ball, which, again, I think big picture is actually like, a pretty good thing. Really, for everyone involved, right? Yeah, no, I really do. And I think for a wide variety of reasons, I think it’s better for consumers. I think it’s better. I think it’s just better across the board. Kind of flipping that back on technology. I think that the the firm’s that are able to understand how they leverage technology to accomplish those goals. Again, whether it’s in the acquisition of customers, whether it’s in service of customers, whether it’s being more whether it’s being more efficient. I you know, that’s where kind of tying things back to what to what it is that we do. I think sometimes we worry like, Oh, we’re, you know, we’re forcing lawyers to do something that they wouldn’t want to do economically, or is it not in their economic best interest, because they can build for this time. But as I look into my crystal ball and look down the path, I just think, like, there are so many things that lawyers used to bill for, right, like handwriting things, you know, marking up those drafts, that now would not be reasonable since charges. Yeah, exactly. That now would not be a bill for so like, we are going to get to a place where those efficiencies naturally get cut out because a firm that is using some and again, I don’t want this to be an advertising for us. But a firm who is using something like InfoTrack and is able to move faster, and smarter about the way they deploy their resources, I think will ultimately be more successful. Awesome.

Greg Lambert 24:43
Well, Dan lair from InfoTrack, thank you very much for letting us grab you off the floor and sticking microphone in front of your face. So

Dan Lear 24:52
thanks. Thank you both so much for letting me hang out. It was really a pleasure.

Marlene Gebauer 24:56
This is fun. This is great. This is really good. So and thanks to all All of you, our listeners for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found on LinkedIn or X at @gebauerm, and on Threads at @mgebauer66.

Greg Lambert 25:15
And I can be reached on LinkedIn or on X at @glambert. So Dan, where if someone wanted to learn more either about you or INFOTRACK where’s the best place for them to look

Dan Lear 25:28
so very easy. And then as far as the technology, Marlene I’m very impressed that you still call it that you have managed to call it X not Twitter’s

Greg Lambert 25:38
It took us a while. I finally took it out of the scripts. So

Dan Lear 25:42
I’m on that I’m on that thing. I used to spend a ton of time there. I don’t as much anymore but I’m at @rightbrainlaw on on that platform. And then I’m on LinkedIn, Dan Lear, pretty easy to track down.

Marlene Gebauer 25:53
All right, very good. Thank you.

Dan Lear 25:54
Yeah, Thank you.

Marlene Gebauer 25:57
And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you.

Greg Lambert 26:01
Thanks. Thanks for not forgetting about Jerry.

Dan Lear 26:04
Thanks Jerry.