Thank you for visiting the Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog. My name is John Harding. I am a family law lawyer practicing in northern California. Long ago I realized that I could practice law more effectively and more efficiently (i.e., better and easier) by availing myself of the technological tools that are out there. I also learned that a successful law practice requires successful marketing. Hardware and software working together make me a better lawyer, and make my life easier. Marketing helps to bring in the business necessary for professional survival. By this blog I hope to share the tips, tricks, and technology that I have learned about so that others may benefit!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Everki Versa - Stuff Your Case

Yeah I have briefcase lust.  After watches briefcases are probably my most obsessive indulgence. Since law school I think I have used at least twenty different briefcases.  They are proper.  They distinguish us lawyers as special, learned professionals.  They give the impression that we carry secret stuff.

My Floto Parma
My sickness goes beyond briefcases, and includes backpacks, fanny packs, sling packs, and messenger bags.  If it is a vessel to store stuff in, and then carry around, I want it! My current satchel is a Floto messenger bag (to the right).  Aah, the smell of leather....

Lawyer briefcases these days have to be more than they have ever been.  Of course they have to carry our files, and our legal pads, and our exhibits, and our business cards. They also have to carry our pens, our highlighters, our post-its, our laptops, our iPads, our ear buds, our power cables, our memory sticks, and on and on.

Everki Versa
I recently ran into a buddy in court who was
sporting a cool new case.  I confessed my kookiness for cases and my friend let me check his out.  It was a Versa from Everki, and it was nice!  Multiple pockets.  Big.  Substantial. Going to the Everki web site I learned more. The Versa is TSA approved to make life easier when getting through the metal detectors at the airport.  It has reinforced corners and lots of innovative design elements.

Here is what I liked about it:

The smooth running, heavy duty zippers. The multiple clamshell design, creating four distinct compartments.  The felt lining for electronic devices.  The multiple interior storage pockets.

I was indifferent to the ballistic nylon shell.  It doesn't look bad and there is some leather trim to spiff it up a bit, but I think leather looks better, particularly in the courtroom.  The $185 street price didn't offend me.

What didn't necessarily work for me was the orange lining.  Too bright.  Just doesn't look professional.  The interior compartments were tight.  Big files and binders are not gonna fit.  It is definitely a fun bag with lots of cool compartments,  I just don't know that it is practical for a trial lawyer.

Gotta bag you love, leave a comment or send me a note.  I am happy to share reports from other satisfied (and unsatisfied) users.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#Briefcase #Everki #EverkiVersa #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Binders and Bags

When I started practicing law long, long ago the paper folder was the default case file. I used them, but I was never content. They weren't sturdy.  They ripped.  The bendable metal prongs got distorted and bent to the point that getting papers in and out became impossible. Contents ripped. The prongs ripped out, and the folders fell apart.

Change comes slow to the legal profession.  I stuck with those paper folders for a while, and I still see them in use by the majority of lawyers that I encounter.  They work.  I just yearned for something better.  I found it . . .

Around 1990 I came across Bindertek.  They had a sampler pack back then, that I invested in.  When the binders arrived I immediately fell in love.  Sturdy, reliable, reusable.  The 2 ring design allows secure document storage, and the ring mechanism is engineering genius.  I immediately placed a full order.  The 3 inch spine models are the default in our office. We buy them in bulk by the case.  The Ocean Blue color is one of my trademarks.  In fact, they are so well built that we still some of hose binders from our original orders are still in use.  When a case ends, we empty out the binders, send the file to storage, and use the binders with a new case.

Take a look at the paper spine on the photo at left.  That is a piece of white paper in a clear plastic sleeve.  Bindertek sells replacement paper spines, and has a software program you can use to create personalized labels for your binders.

Not to flatter myself too much, but the first time I saw a Bindertek binder in a courtroom was when I carried it into court.  Now they profilerate.  I like to consider myself the BindertekFather amongst the family law bar in the San Fran East Bay courthouses.

The legal profession was one of Bindertek's original target markets.  They continue to market other innovative products for us lawyers.  Their website includes a Products For Your Law Office section.  Therein you will find trial notebooks, practice area specific tabbing systems like personal injury, FAMILY LAW, deposition writing pads, and much, much more.

The one challenge to using binders is carrying them around. As files grow, the number of binders needed increases.  One binder fits just fine into my leather briefcase.  More than one can pose a challenge.  Bindertek used to sell a handsome leather satchel that held two binders.  I have one, and use it all the time.  Unfortunately I don't see it on the website any more.  They do have an extensive selection of other carriers and some beautiful leather briefcases.

So impressed am I with Bindertek that we now use their carousel shelf for storage, their dead file
storage supplies, there spine labels, their family law practice tabs, their exhibit tab and indexing systems, their and their travel cases.  We have a few 1 inch spin binders that we load up for quick court appearances, depositions, and settlement meetings.  I even have a couple of Bindertek's very impressive, very expensive leather binders that I use for special occasions.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Evernote & Biz Cards From Your Hand To Your Contact Manager

Business cards are still a great marketing tool.  They are not virtual, they are tangible.  You can touch them, feel them, smell them.  They work to market you and your practice, and they work to expand your networks.  Handing them out is still an essential element of professional practice marketing.  Collecting business cards is still an essential element in developing your business network. 

Whether you use Microsoft’s Outlook, or Salesforce, or Apple Contacts, or AbacusLaw, or Amicus Attorney, or Goldmine, etc., you need to get those biz card buddies, and their biz card information into your computerized contacts directory.  In days gone by that meant typing the information, line by line, into your computer.  Now you can implement better technology to streamline the process of handling those business cards that you are collecting.

If you use Evernoteand you should — you need to be aware of its awesome business card tools.  With the Evernote app on your smartphone you can take a picture of a business card, have it immediately imported into your Evernote account, export it to your contacts on your phone, and then synchronize it with your Outlook directory or any other contact management program that you use.  Fear not, reading these steps is more complicated than doing the real thing.  For some of these client management programs — Salesforce for example — it is even easier because they have a dedicated Evernote interface.

Even if you have to do it the multi-step way without a dedicated interface, it is still incredibly easy.  Keep reading to learn how. . .  Make sure you read all the way to the end for a bonus tip!

Step One:
Install Evernote on your smartphone.

Step Two:
Lay a business card down on a flat surface.

Step Three:
Launch Evernote on your smartphone, click on the Camera icon, then select the Business Card option.

Step Four:
Move your camera over the business card until Evernote detects it and then automatically takes the picture for you. 

Step Five:
Evernote then reads the business card and imports all of the information as a new contact in your Evernote account.  Nothing for you to do but watch. 

Step Six:
Tell Evernote to send the information to the Contacts app on your phone.  Evernote completes the task immediately, and that biz card buddy’s information is now in your system.

Step Seven:
Synchronize you phone contacts with whatever other Contact program(s) you use.  Nothing could be easier.

Step Eight:
Sit back and enjoy your techie awesomeness!

Free Bonus!  Now keep reading for your super awesome bonus tip, that is particularly great for you LinkedIn folks . . .

If you have a LinkedIn account — again you should — Evernote has a one-click feature so that you can connect on LinkedIn with your new business card buddy.

After you have finished importing the business card and saving it in Evernote, Evernote will launch a pop-up window with a one-click LinkedIn button.  If your new biz card buddy has a LinkedIn account Evernote finds that account and then sends a LinkedIn connection request to that person.  How great is that!  This is an example of how software makers are getting away from the old proprietary, keep-em-to-ourselves mentality, and instead they are embracing the benefits of platform sharing.  The Evernote/Salesforce and Evernote/LinkedIn partnerships are examples.  They expand their user base, and we the users expand the  benefits of our accounts.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#evernote #linkedin #businesscards #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, October 17, 2014

Apple's Yosemite OS X available for download

Apple's latest Mac operating system, Yosemite, is now available for free download at the Apple Store.  I am running it.  I do like the new graphics.  Speed does not seem to have changed.

Not sure why my Mac Book Pro also rings when my iPhone rings? Thinking I am going to disable this?

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#appleyosemite #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Monday, October 13, 2014

.lawyer and .attorney domains available

Here's something fun for you internet marketing junkies.  .lawyer and .attorney domains have been released.  I don't have any hard statistics to back this up but I suspect that if you have yourname.lawyer or yourname.attorney it may help with searches and steering traffic your way.  If nothing else it is a way to expand and further personalize your internet empire!

Visit your domain name reseller (Go Daddy, 1&1, etc.) to get yours today.

P.S. johnharding.lawyer is taken!

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lawyer Has Phone, Will Practice

A smartphone is an essential tool for any lawyer who does any work away from the office.  My Apple love carries through to my phone, an iPhone 5s.  I have that thing so packed with apps my thumb gets tired flipping through the screens.  But that is part of the fun!

AT&T is my carrier because it delivers reliable phone and data service around the world.  TMobile is also quite good, particularly in Europe.  The price is not so much better, so I stick with old reliable AT&T (although I do thank TMobile for making AT&T more competitive and customer focused -- Go Capitalism!).

Wi-fi is everywhere, but when it is not my AT&T iPhone has hotspot capability so that its 4G can get my computer online fast.  This function came in quite handy during a recent road trip to Southern California.  I let my wife do the driving and our teenage daughter was the co-pilot while I turned the backseat of the car into a rolling office.  With the Mac connected to the internet via the iPhone hotspot I had total connectivity! Awesome!  If only I could get my wife to green light the purchase of an RV (not gonna happen) then I would really have a mobile office . . .

Why not an iPhone 6?  Too much time left on my current contract. . . .

A bluetooth headset is also essential.  A headset provides better listening quality than I get from the speaker on the phone, it allows my hands to be free, and provides more privacy.  My current favorite is the ERA from Jawbone.  It is tiny.  The ear bud is super comfortable and does a fantastic job of keeping the headset in my ear.  It has great battery life, that is extended with the separate carrying case, and in a pinch I can also use it to listen to movies and music with it.

I have the Skype app on my phone and I use it all the time to stay in contact with colleagues in the office.  I also have 8x8's iPhone app installed so that I can be connected virtually to our internet phone system at the office.  The added bonus is that I came make free phone around the world provided I have an internet connection.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Polish Your Chrome

I prefer Google's Chrome as my browser. I like the layout. I like the memory options. I used to like it because it was more secure than Internet Explorer. Unfortunately that changed. Add-ons were clogging the performance of the browser. My screen was getting crowded. Even worse, Google was letting marketers, malware and other unwanted and invasive stuff invade my browser and computer.

Fortunately Google paid attention (I think?). It has released a software removal and reset tool for Chrome.  Yes this is more software, but hopefully it will work to clean up unwanted software. Intriguingly it is only available for Windows. Either that means Apple OS systems are immune (Not!) or Google is still working on an Apple recipe.

You can download the program by clicking here:  www.google.com/chrome/srt/

For more information the How To Geek has a great article.  Check it out by clicking here.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers