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!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A New Kind of Standup Desk

I have long been a proponent of stand-up desks.  I have written about them previously here and here. My stand-up desk at the office is a splendid custom built job.  Very rich and very fancy!

My custom made office stand-up desk

I also do a lot of work from home. That work has always been down sitting down at a regular desk. I have been waiting for something to come along that would give me a stand-up/sit-down option at home rather than having a regular sit down-desk and a stand-up desk like I have at the office. The first product that caught my eye was the Varidesk.

Varidesk Pro

Not bad, but not quite right. A bit bulky and clunky for me. I wasn't crazy about the look, and I felt it would eat up too much of my home office desk's surface area.

Next I came across the Kangaroo from Ergo Desktop.

Ergo Kangaroo

Again, not bad. Not as clunky as the Varidesk. Plus Kangaroo makes a Mac specific product - an obvious selling point given that I use a Mac at home. However, I still wasn't sure...

Then I got turned on to Ergotron. They have a slew of desktop products. I found plenty of glowing reviews for their WorkFit-A Sit-Stand Workstations.

The PC version of the WorkFit-A

For us Mac users Ergotron includes a design specifically for the Mac. I made the jump and bought it ($580 from the Apple Store, which includes free shipping). 2 days later it was delivered. After 30 minutes with the included tool kit it was installed, and I am loving it! Come into my home office and take a look.

My WFA in the down/desktop position

View from behind my desk

Swiveled for use in the sit-down position

Fully extended stand-up position. Trust me it is way up in the air.

Check out how the Mac stand becomes a built in part of the screen deck!

Stand-up position, swiveled so I can look out the window!

The WFA takes up desktop surface space, but not as imposingly as other products. I chose to mount mine on the corner of my desk. That is not mandatory. You can mount yours anywhere you want. The stand-up aspect of the WorkFit-A is where it really stands out. This is a high tech piece of equipment. The height adjusts. The swivel adjusts. The angle of the keyboard deck adjusts. The whole thing turns left and right. The Mac stand gets hidden in/becomes an integrated part of the main deck.

The WFA is well engineered, and well built. That arm that you see goes a long way. In the down position it reached across my 30" deep desk. It also goes way up. I am 6'5" and the WFA gets the center of my screen all the way up to me eye level. When I put hand pressure on the keyboard deck the whole assembly stays put. Yet, it turns, swivels, raises, and lowers easily.  A real marvel.

THIS THING ROCKS. I may never go back to the office! If you are looking for a stand-up add-on for your desk, the WFA is it!

Understand, what you are doing with the WFA is hooking your computer to the end of a big, strong metal stick.  It is plenty secure. But there can be a bit of wobble at the end of that stick. Unavoidable, but for me not a problem after the two minutes it took to get used to.

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

#standupdesk #ergotron #Workfit-A #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Value of Social Media

Besides being fun for me, this blog has a very definite business purpose. It is a marketing tool intended to advertise my family law practice. It is a social media tool. Now I can give you more first hand proof that social media channels, including blogs like this, work.

My friend (and often quoted practice management expert) Lee Rosen is huge into social media. Just for twitter he has more than 17,000 followers. A couple of days ago he mentioned this Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog in a twitter post he sent out. Here is Lee's tweet:
Does not look like much, does it? But boy did it work! With one click of his mouse Lee advertised this blog to more than 17,000 people! Then, BOOM, 120 people clicked on the tweet and visited this blog.  That's 120 strangers learning about me. That is great traffic! It has continued for two days now, and more than 200 people have clicked through.  Just as exciting, a high percentage of those visitors then clicked through to the website for Harding & Associates Family Law! That's the magic of social media folks.  I didn't even do anything and I got to introduce myself and my law practice to hundreds of new people. People who can hire me, people who can refer to me, people who can think about me.

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mobile Websites the latest Snakeoil

There is always going to be the next generation... Upgraded software, HD TV, etc., etc.  In marketing and advertising we have gone from newspaper ads and Yellow Pages ads to websites and blogs. The newest bigger, better sales scare tactic in your face is The Mobile Website and The Mobile Blog.

True, more and more people are visiting websites from their mobile devices. That means smaller screens, and different formatting when compared to the big screens of our desktop PCs and laptop computers. Right behind those new small screen audiences there are the marketing opportunists ready to manipulate you into buying the latest, greatest, mobile ready websites and blogs. Don't be so paranoid, and don't be so fast to throw away your money.  All is not lost. You do not have to drop big money on a new website or blog specially designed for mobile devices.

Google, Microsoft, Firefox, WordPress, Blogger, You Tube and the smart folks that run them know where the audiences are, and they know that they have to deliver product NOW that can service those audiences.  They have already identified the trend toward mobile viewing, and they are rewriting their codes to meet that need.

You do not have to go out and spend big bucks with a web design firm claiming they can deliver a mobile ready website for you. That's just them selling you snake oil.  Check out your website on a smartphone. Chances are that it is already mobile ready. If it isn't wait a month or two. If your website or blog hosting service is viable its technology will evolve to mobile ready. If that change is not inevitable with your host, then it is more important that you find a new host. Mobile ready should be standard factory equipment, not an option and certainly not something that you should have to pay extra for.

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

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unhappy With Your FindLaw Website?

Are you a FindLaw website customer?  Questioning whether FL is the right website provider for you?  Well, you are not alone.

Over at Divorce Discourse our friend Lee Rosen makes the harsh criticism and asks the hard questions about websites from FindLaw.  For example:

  • FindLaw is too expensive.
  • FindLaw doesn’t generate sufficient leads.
  • FindLaw generates crappy leads from tire kickers who can’t afford us.
  • FindLaw sells to my competitors, and they outrank me.
  • FindLaw charges me for every little change to my site.
  • FindLaw is constantly trying to lock me in longer.
  • FindLaw puts its logo/links on my site.
  • FindLaw locks me into a contract I can’t easily escape.
  • FindLaw keeps offering new products that I have to buy or my competitor will buy them and get the leads.
  • FindLaw never stops asking me for more money.

Lee gives us a lot more sound advice -- in this instance about getting out from under FindLaw.  If you are a FindLaw customer, you need to read Lee's article.  Please click here.

Be reminded. There are plenty of website builders out there. Just because FindLaw markets to law firms does not mean it creates better law firm websites.  As lawyers and law firms we tend to be sheep sticking with the flock. Creativity is subordinate to custom. Think about it. When has the legal industry ever been known for its marketing innovations? That carries through to law firm websites. As lawyers who are we marketing to? Other law firms?  No, we are marketing to legal consumers. Those are the same people that drink Coke, eat at Taco Bell, shop at Best Buy. When we rebuilt our current website the last thing we did was contact a design firm that specialized in law firms.  Hell no. We went to a builder that creates commercial sites directed at the general consumer public.

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, November 17, 2014

CourtCall Going Live With Video

If you are unfamiliar with CourtCall, it is a national provider of call in services for court appearances.  For years it has allowed parties and attorneys to conveniently appear at court proceedings by telephone, rather than driving to the court house.  It is a wonderful technology and a great option for us lawyers.

I just got an email from CourtCall announcing that they are starting to implement video calls.  This is a huge improvement.  While I have used CourtCall frequently, I have never made it my default for the exact reason that I feel it is vitally important for effective family law trial lawyers to have actual face time in front of judges.  We need to know what our judges look like, and how they operate.  Just as important, those judges need to know who we are, and they need to be able to put a face to the time.

You can get more information, and find out which of your judges are available by video, by clicking here.

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

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stamps For Acrobat

I never cease to be amazed by all the great things that Adobe Acrobate Pro can do.  I also stay ever grateful to Rick Borstein for all the great tips he posts to his Acrobat For Legal Professionals blog. Rick's latest gift are the free editing stamps that you see below.  If you would like to add all of these stamps to your Acrobat stamps palette, just Click Here, and then follow Rick's step-by-step directions.  Call me if you get stuck.

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

ScanSnap iX500 Scanner

The iX500 - What A Beauty
We are in our second decade of being a paperless law firm. The ability to access documents anytime, anywhere is a huge practice advantage. Staff handle the bulk of the scanning and pdf conversion using a power horse networked scanner/copier.

Once in a while I will want to copy a paper document, or get a piece of paper scanned into our system more expeditiously than our regular, very quick process. But, I don't want to walk down the hall to the copy room to make it happen. This want was particularly distracting a couple of weeks ago when my paralegal was on vacation (how dare her).

That same paralegal has a little ScanSnap scanner on her desk for quickie jobs, and she has always sworn by it. I used it while she was away, and immediately understood her enthusiasm. That got me thinking . . . and not in a dangerous way. I clicked my mouse a couple of times, and ordered ScanSnap's latest release, the iX500. It arrived last week, and I am loving it. Without getting too technical, here's the scoop.

  • Scans in color, black and white, and grayscale
  • Single pass scanning of both sides of the paper
  • 50 page sheet feeder
  • Scanned documents become searchable pdfs
  • Connects to your computer with a USB cable, or over a wi-fi network
The iX500 saves your scanned docs to
  • Your computer
  • Your network
  • Your iPhone
  • Your iPad
  • Your Evernote account
  • Your Dropbox account
  • Your GoogleDocs account
  • Your SugarSynch account
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
It does all of this very quickly (25 pages per minute for normal color mode), error free, and in a small package that measures just 11.5' x 6.2' x 6.6".

This iX500 is AWESOME. I love it. I am addicted to it. Why did I wait so long to get one? Don't believe me? Watch the video below to see how cool it is. Better yet, just buy one. You will be glad you did. MSRP is $495. Street prices are as low as $420.

You can also get more info at the Fujitsu website.

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

#fujitsu #scansnap #scansnapix500 #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers