Early in his career, Tampa attorney David Shear was a litigator.
But then Shear transitioned to the corporate side, handling real estate, corporate and banking law, doing a lot of commercial transactions.
The practice grew as his clients grew, adding more employees and revenues. Shear wrote contracts and supervised closings and mergers and acquisitions.
Today, while other attorneys at his stage may consider retiring, Shear is as busy as ever and plans to continue because he enjoys what he does. He works with his son Jeffrey at the firm Ruden McClosky in downtown Tampa.
Based on his experience, Shear says Gulf Coast businesses need to carefully read and evaluate anything they may be signing or writing.
“Most documents need to be scrutinized,” Shear says. “They are not always in the reader's best interest.”
Also, when businesses draft company documents, they need to know there are legal issues wrapped up in the documents they are writing.
“We urge them to seek legal counsel,” Shear says. “The size of the impact could be $5,000 or $1 million.”
Shear has used his corporate law skills not only to help clients, but to help the poor, underprivileged children, abused and elderly along the Gulf Coast. Shear now has a legal center for poor children in Tampa named after him.
“That's what any lawyer would want to do, particularly those in pro bono,” Shear says. “These are people who need services which they could not possibly afford, but needed them just as badly.”
In recognition of his efforts, Bay Area Legal Services has created the L. David Shear Children's Law Center in Tampa. The Center is dedicated to finding permanent homes for children up to five years old, and their siblings, in out-of-home care, including foster care.
The Center collaborates with the courts, local children's agencies and other groups serving abused, abandoned and neglected children. Shear established an endowment in 2000, totaling more than $1 million now, to benefit Bay Area Legal Services.
Shear is also the chairperson of the Bay Area Legal Services Development Council which he helped found. In that role, he has helped educate community leaders about Bay Area Legal Services.
Shear was one of the original supporters of the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account program, which originated in Florida in 1981 and was approved during his term as president of the Florida Bar.'¯It was the first IOLTA program in the United States.
In 2006, that program generated more than $70 million dollars in Florida for the delivery of legal services to the poor.
One of his sons, Jeffrey Shear, is a partner in his law firm. The other, Steve Shear, is owner of Levy Awards and Promotional Products in Tampa, which he bought eight years ago from former owner George Levy.