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!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

iOS Battery Drain

Thanks to kwikboost.com for this graphic!

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, September 17, 2015

Holy Cow, Look at that Briefcase!

And now back to my obsession with briefcases...

Long time readers will recall my joy when I found my Floto briefcase. I am still in love, carrying my Floto daily. 75% of the time it meets all my needs perfectly. As a trial lawyer though that 25% of the time I need something more. For bigger load days I tote two or three Bindertak binders, my Mac Book Pro, cords and cables, several legal pads, and even my awesome portable printer. Particularly when I head in to trial, or need to take the office on the road, more capacity is in order.  For the longest time I utilized a ballistic nylon rolling catalog case (like the one to the right) for my big loads. It served me well, but was not ideal. It was over stuffed, and I still had to have a second case riding on top of it.

For fun I surf the internet and look at briefcases. A couple of years ago I read an article on the Philly Law Blog that turned me on to Saddleback Leather.  I studied all their stuff and their SL Classic briefcase got its hooks in me. I found other options online, but none matched the Classic. It hypnotized me, but at more than $600 the cost pushed me away. My life became a tug of war. I became Ralphie and the SL Classic became my Daisy Red Ryder.  My abhorrent briefcase lust inner demon Id kept telling me buy it, buy it. My always wise Super Ego held me back...

At some point during the tortuous battle between Super Ego Good and Id Evil my peace seeking Ego developed a plan. It would put away $20, $25 a month in a type of Christmas Club account, in case I could some day rationalize the SL Classic.

After a couple of years I had a nice nest egg socked away. And then it happened! The zippers on the rolling bag broke. It had to be replaced. It still worked mind you, but it was now flawed. A powerful trial lawyer such as myself could never compromise his task with less than perfect equipment! It was time for the SL Classic...

Look at this beauty!

I bought the extra large. It is a beast. It weighs 8 pounds! It is made of thick, rich leather.  It smells great (that satiating smell of leather is another stimulus that could fill text books). It is stand up stiff. It has heavy duty hardware that would make a Swiss mountain climber proud.

But does it work as a trial bag?

This week the bag went to trial with me, and performed magnificently.

Here you see two stuffed Bindertek binders, an exhibits folder, three legal pads, a Mac Book Pro and charger, a small note pad, Post-Its, three highlighters, a White-out dispenser, and four extra pens. The side pockets, that you cannot see, are holding my iPhone and wallet.  That's a lot of stuff.  Yes, the bag was heavy, but I was able to carry it easily enough from the parking garage, through security, to the courtroom, and back.  Would not want to walk across town with it, but a couple of blocks is no problem. The SL Classic XL passed the trial test.

There was one thing I was worried about, that's the strap buckle on the case. I was concerned that it would be a problem opening and closing the bag in trial speed.  After a couple of days of use the strap had relaxed, and now opens and closes fairly easily.

What I really liked is that the bag stands tall and when the lid is folded back in and out access is a breeze! Is it worth the price? Probably not, but it sure is nice.

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

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Google's Got A Router

You know what wi-fi is.  It is our wireless path to the internet. It is the invisible beam that enables our computers, tablets, and smartphones to send and receive emails, texts, photos, posts, and chats. It helps us watch movies on line, send files over the internet and pass the time at the airport.  For years the technology has been pretty much the same: Plug a square box into your computer, pay an internet service provider for access, watch a bunch of lights start to flash, and surf away. The only real limitations are range, signal strength, and speed.

Google is trying to bring a new sexy to routers.  The Googlies have released their OnHub router, and it is getting pretty good reviews.


BGR.com points out these features:

  1. The OnHub router comes with a Google designed antenna system which, when coupled with Google’s software, can dynamically adjust pertinent router settings as to keep interference to a minimum.
  2. The router allows you to prioritize one device over another. In other words, if you want to ensure that the Netflix stream on your laptop gets more bandwidth love than, say, a nearby iOS device downloading a few updates, you can make that happen.
  3. You can say goodbye to toggling router settings the old fashioned way. Google OnHub’s companion mobile app gives you complete control over your router settings directly from your smartphone. Need to reset your router? It’s as easy as opening up the app.
  4. The companion mobile app will also keep an eye on the state of your network, let you perform various network tests, and even suggest solutions to network hiccups as they arise.
  5. Want to share your Wi-Fi password with a friend? The OnHub mobile app makes it a breeze. Simply tapping on a “reveal password” button will make your Wi-Fi network more easily accessible to people you want to share it with.
  6. Google OnHub makes it easy to not only tell how many devices are on your network at any given time, but to also discern how much data is being used by each device.
  7. First noted by The Verge, the companion app can also perform speed tests and subsequently provide “real-life examples of what types of internet activities are optimal, like ‘You can stream Ultra HD video at this speed.'” This should be especially useful for the majority of Internet users who aren’t likely to be well-versed in all things Mbps.
  8. Hardware wise, the OnHub router comes with an array of 13 different antennas, each positioned 120 degrees apart. This ensures that the signal is spread out uniformly in as many directions as possible. On a related note, Yousef Shanawany adds the following nugget of insight: “According to Matt Cutts, who was a guest speaker on this week’s This Week in Google, the last of the 13 antennas in the OnHub is used to switch the outgoing signal to the best channel it can sense in the air every five minutes, whereas regular routers sense the best channel only when the router first turns on, and keeps that channel until the routers are reset.
  9. Not surprisingly, the OnHub router supports 802.11ac WiFi which can deliver speeds as fast as 1.3 gigabits per second along with wider coverage than earlier standards.
According to Google more than 120 different devices can connect to one Onhub.  Its switching technology is also possessing of some magical power to speed up the speed of your wi-fi notwithstanding the speed control forced upon you by your ISP. The biggest, perhaps the only criticism, is the $200 price tag.

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

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Which Social Media Platforms Are Important For Lawyers?

"Conversationprism" by Brian Solis and JESS3 - http://www.theconversationprism.com/. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Conversationprism.jpeg#/media/File:Conversationprism.jpeg
I sat down with my 18 year old daughter this weekend to discuss social media.  The options left me dizzy: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, the list goes on and on. Those are just the ones that are hot for teenagers and twenty-somethings.  I decided to investigate further.

I installed the Instagram app on my iPhone, created an account, and within two minutes I had four followers!  Pretty impressive. I went deeper and learned that the function of the app is to communicate with others by posting photos. I posted a photo of my dog. I got no responses, replies, whatever? I decided posting photos of my dog was not a productive means of marketing my family law practice. I deleted the app from my phone.

My experiment begged the question: which social media options are relevant to me and the marketing of my law practice?  The consensus among law firm marketing experts is that LinkedIn is the best.  Attorneyatwork.com asked the experts at the Legal Marketing Association. Each of the three experts said that LinkedIn wins. Facebook was also popular. So too was SlideShare, a service that allows you to uploads presentations, PowerPoints, etc., for the world to view. You can view the discussion by clicking here.

I had another question.  Before we get to which social media platform is best, I must ask if socia media works at all as an effective tool for marketing a law practice. The experts seem to think so.  I am not so sure, but because there is a chance it might work, I am going to do it.

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

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

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's A Small World After All!

A fun war story about practicing family law in the internet age.  Today I went around the world to negotiate a settlement.

This past Friday opposing counsel sent me a settlement proposal by email from her San Francisco office before leaving to spend a month in Asia.  I then forwarded that proposal to my client who is vacationing in Maui.  This morning my client and I used the collaborative tools in Adobe Acrobat to dissect the proposals and to develop our counter points. Next I drafted a response letter in Microsoft Word and sent the Word file to my client for review. He used the collaborative/track changes tools in Word to make his desired modifications to the letter, and sent the file back to me. We also talked on the phone (the weather was quite nice in Maui!).  After reviewing and approving the modifications from my client I converted the letter into a pdf document, affixed my electronic signature, and sent the letter via email to opposing counsel, so that she can download it, and work on it while in Asia.  I cc'ed my client on the email, and also uploaded a copy of the letter to his online document repository so that he could always find a copy of it.

Ten years ago things were not this easy. Shows you how technology can improve the practice of law. Also reminds us though that if we are not careful with how we manage technology it can take over our lives, and make the office inescapable.

To avoid having worldwide 24/7 availability eat me alive I have attorney-client communication rules that I educate my clients to before they hire me. I also explain these same rules to opposing counsel, for whom they have equal application.

  1. I communicate during office hours. That scope extends to phone calls and emails. 
  2. I only work on weekends in emergencies. 
  3. My client or opposing counsel going on vacation is not an emergency (I do relax this rule a bit if I am going on, or coming back from a trip).

These rules help maintain peace and order. They only work if you lay them out at the get go, and they only retain their efficacy if you have the discipline to stick with them.

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, August 4, 2015

2015 Best Apps List

The Cyber Advocate has released its list of the best apps for 2015. Complete with iOS and Android app reviews, the Cyber Advocate list brings a lot of solid info for those of us looking to expand our app collections. The list is not focused on lawyers, but then again sometimes it is good to stray beyond the lines and have a little fun.  The new Star Wars app for instance? It is 4th on the Cyber Advocate list.

Check out the complete list by clicking here.

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

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Legal Productivity Blog

Legal Productivity is a great blog sponsored by Rocket Matter. It is one of my regular stops when I am looking for new practice management thoughts and ideas. It is one of those blogs that revitalizes you and renews your excitement as a lawyer. If you are a technology wonk it has even greater attraction. The break out topic headers for the blog say it at:  Get Organized, Market Your Practice, Make Money, Leverage Technology, Go Mobile. Isn't that hitting the practice management nail write on the head?

Recent posts have included:

A Simple Daily Routine to Maximize Productivity
Communication and Collaboration Apps for Law Firms
Lawyers: What To Do If You Are Not Getting Paid
Anatomy of the 21st Century Lawyer [Infographic]
Law Firm Branding or Individual Attorney Branding?

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

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