Member Spotlight: Lt. Col. Gabe Bass Returns from Afghanistan
August 28, 2020
Back in March when the global pandemic caused the closure of courthouses, law offices and brought on the era of Zoom meetings and working from home, OBA member Gabe Bass was on the other side of the world.
Lt. Col. Bass was in Afghanistan as the Officer in Charge of the US Marine Forces Central Command Coordination Element. He returned home earlier this summer from the six month deployment where he provided leadership during a widening health crisis, while also taking fire.
Reflecting on that time for OBA’s Member Spotlight feature, he reluctantly expounded on the casual mention of more than 30 rocket attacks from enemy forces that included ISIS.
He said the closest impact was about 100 yards away, “but I was inside at the time.”
“It just becomes part of life. You expect it,” he said. “Life here is pretty easy relative to how people live in other places. Even in the strange times we are in now. Our society functions so much better than it does in Afghanistan where there is rampant corruption and little access to health care.”
“It definitely makes you appreciate life in Oklahoma City … or anywhere.”
Bass’ career in the Marines began while in the midst of law school at the University of Southern California and while he was part of a successful technology start-up company. That was in the early 2000s, and amidst the September 11 attacks on the United States. Those attacks somewhat served as a catalyst to act on something that had long appealed to him since childhood, to serve in the military.
He went through the paces of Marine Corps training, finished his law degree and a master’s program in technology at OU, got married, passed the bar, went through officer training, and eventually went on active duty serving in military justice at Miramar in San Diego. He represented Marines accused of violations of the Code of Military Justice. His case load included petty crimes to major felonies like drug smuggling and murder.
By the way, he says most lawyers might not be very familiar with the military justice system aside from watching movies like “A Few Good Men.” And he adds that Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of a Marine Corps Colonel is highly accurate.
By 2007, the Bass family that included his wife and son, left California and came back to his home. Gabe joined the family law firm, Bass Law Firm, founded in 1934. He also was a Reservist where he “commuted” as a Reservist to New Orleans, the headquarters of the Fourth Marine Division Reserve Infantry Division.
As a civilian, he practices law in the areas of business planning, real estate, oil and gas, estates and trusts. Gabe’s maverick spirit and technology chops also led him to start a new company. In 2018, he launched Intellidrafts, a company that produces high-quality forms for lawyers.
“Intellidrafts was born out of a desire to scratch my own itch. It was a product I wanted to use but it didn’t exist. I eventually decided to commit time and resources to it,” he said.
The first customers outside of his firm came on to the platform about 18 months ago. The service and appeal has steadily grown, while Gabe jokes that lawyers are notoriously slow adopters of technology.
He said the whole idea behind Intellidrafts is to help lawyers and their staffs draft better documents faster, through a system that is intuitive and professional.
There are close to 200 forms on the Intellidrafts platform. As an example, there is a suite of forms for estate planners where wills, trusts and powers of attorney can be drafted quickly with redundant data entry eliminated, and client data can be applied to other forms such as an advanced directive.
“Your end product is formatted elegantly, doesn’t have typos or those leftovers from a prior version, embarrassingly sent to a client with someone else’s name,” he said.
The company acts as a crowd-sourced venture in which users suggest improvements and get their feedback acknowledged and questions addressed in short order. The result has been a near 100 percent renewal rate for the $299 annual fee with a portion sent to OBA for programs to help lawyers.
“Intellidrafts was born out of a desire to scratch my own itch. It was a product I wanted to use but it didn’t exist. I eventually decided to commit time and resources to it.”
He said most Intellidraft users come from small firms that practice broadly and may not necessarily stay on top of all the recent developments in all areas. This product will have best practices and changes in the law and will pay for itself in efficiency and time saving, factors that also help clients who pay for lawyer’s time and expertise.
As Gabe returned from Afghanistan and resumed his law practice, the world was different from when he left Oklahoma last December, but the practice of law and concentrating on Intellidrafts is resuming normalcy, even if it is the “new normal.”
“I had never done Zoom meeting with clients before. I’m finding that’s becoming very common. Clients that I wouldn’t expect would be interested in a Zoom meeting, are in fact interested in it.”
He takes it all in stride, whether working in the midst of rocket fire, or during a pandemic.
Find out more about Intellidrafts here.