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Former President Shear passes away.

An early supporter of the Interest on Trust Accounts program, a proponent of the Bar offering law office management advice and economic counseling to Florida lawyers, and a champion of access to justice issues, L. David Shear of Tampa passed away April 26.

Shear served as president of The Florida Bar in 1979-80, when the Bar boasted 25,000 members, the fifth largest in the country at the time. He was 79.

"I believe part of one's professional life includes a responsibility, even a commitment, to contribute to it in an effort to make it better," Shear said upon assuming the Bar presidency when he was 43 years old.

He entered the arena of state Bar work after serving as president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association in 1971-72--the year the HCBA received three awards for merit from The Florida Bar and one from the ABA. He also served as chair of the Southern Conference of State Bar Presidents; served on the board of the National Conference of Bar Presidents; was a member of the House of Delegates of the ABA; and a member of the American Law Institute. He served as chair on the IOTA Implementation Commission, appointed by the presidents of The Florida Bar and The Florida Bar Foundation to implement the first IOTA program in the country. He went on to serve as the Foundation's president.

Shear also chaired the Development Council of Bay Area Legal Services ,and in recognition of his efforts and contributions, BALS opened its L. David Shear Children's Law Center in 2008, dedicated to expediting permanency for children ages birth to five years old and siblings in out-of-home care, including foster care. The center was named for Shear because of his record of dedicated service to the public, especially his support of the provision of legal services to the poor, according to BALS. Shear initiated a Bay Area endowment campaign in 2000 that has resulted in more than $1 million of endowment funding.

Shear told the News in 2000 that one of the proudest moments of his Bar presidency was the creation of the Law Office Management Assistance Service or LOMAS.

"I had a vision that this program would really benefit lawyers, their practices, and the system," Shear said. "We needed to find some way to assist the practitioner, particularly in the solo and small firms, who did not have a lot of support in terms of operating a practice or running their offices."

LOMAS--which recently evolved into the Practice Resource Institute --began operating in 1980 with a focus on educational programs and on-site law office consultations.

"This lawyer-oriented program has never before been tried in the United States," Shear said at the time.

"I am convinced that this unique endeavor can be one of the finest and most beneficial programs ever offered to members of The Florida Bar by providing economic benefit to every lawyer, no matter the size or scope of the firm; thereby creating an atmosphere for the efficient operation of the law office, a greater profit, and the more effective and proficient delivery of legal services to the community," he said.

Shear graduated from Vanderbilt University and the University of Florida College of Law. He was a founder of Shear, Newman, Hahn & Rosenkranz and also practiced with Ruden, McClosky and Gunster.

Survivors include his wife of 29 years, Casey Shear; sons and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey and Kelly Shear, Stephen Shear (Dawn Langnes); four grandchildren, Taylor Shear, Laine Shear, Sam Shear, and Marin Shear; niece, Nina Gerson; and nephew, Barry Frank.

His family asks that memorial contributions may be made to Bay Area Legal Services to Benefit the L. David Shear Children's Law Center, 1302 N. 19th Street, Suite 400, Tampa 33605.

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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:May 15, 2016
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