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!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Make Custody Calendars for Your Clients; We Use Custody X Change

I am always looking for technology and software to save time and help my law practice. Since 2005 I have been using Custody X Change for parenting plans and custody calculations (in fact, I was one of the first people to license the software after it was launched). Custody X Change helps family law attorneys create custody schedules and parenting plans for clients.

With the software, you can make a custody schedule with the residential schedule, holiday schedule, and vacation or summer break schedules. You can pick a residential schedule from a template or you can create your own. You can also add special events and really customize a schedule depending on the types of schedules you make for your clients.

The nice thing is that after you make a schedule you can print out a custody calendar to give to your client. You can print a few months or multiple years depending on what you want. Clients really like these calendars because they can clearly see each parent’s time with the children and the visual picture helps them understand the schedule.

As you make custody schedules, the software calculates the timeshare percentage of each parent along with the number of hours each parent has the children. This is helpful to know for figuring out child support because you can easily get an accurate number to put into DissoMaster. You can also use the timeshare percentages to discuss schedule options with your client or to negotiate a schedule with the other party.

The software also has a parenting plan feature that lets you print a legal description of the schedule and add parenting provisions. If you have a boilerplate plan that you can use for most of your clients, you may not use this feature very much. But, if you make a lot of custom plans, or you are just starting your practice, you may find the parenting plan and provisions helpful.

Unfortunately for Mac users, the software is Windows based. But as I mentioned in a previous post, you can run Windows software on a Mac.

The software has two versions—the Pro Lite and the Pro Full. The Pro Lite includes all of the scheduling features and timeshare calculations. The Pro Full has all of the Pro Lite features along with the parenting plan. The Pro Full also includes a journaling feature and a tracking actual time feature but these features seem more useful to parents. The price of Custody X Change ranges from $97 for a 6 month license of the Lite edition to $747 for a Lifetime license of the Full edition.

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

#CustodyXChange #Family Lawyer Tech #Productivity #Software #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, September 19, 2014

How About An Online Legal Technology Convention

Ok, this is fun!  How do you like the idea of going to a legal tech convention without actually having to travel to the convention?  Virtual LegalTech make it possible.

Virtual LegalTech offers all the powerful educational and networking opportunities of LegalTech, the premier conference and trade show for technology in the legal community. VLT is a showcase for the latest hardware, software, tools and services that are moving the practice of law ahead through innovative solutions. It's also an invaluable chance to talk with colleagues, share best practices and make connections with professionals from law firms and corporate legal departments from all over the world.

VLT's fully interactive virtual environment enables you to do all the things you'd do at a live event: attend presentations and panel discussions, talk with vendors, see product demonstrations, collect information, network with colleagues and get the latest news from the ever-evolving arena of legal technology. The show is open all year around, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Want To Be TV Stars?

I just got contacted by a friend down Hollywood way.

From the Producers who brought you transformational shows such as The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss, Eyeworks USA announced that casting has begun for their new series on NBC.  This new competition show will bring divorced couples together to compete in both physical and mental challenges for a chance to win a large, six-figure trust fund for their children.

The casting team seeks divorced couples who are willing to put their differences aside to team up for the one thing they can both agree on- their children's financial future.

Interested couples should email the below information to 
CastingDivorcedParents@gmail.com: attn: Shannon

Name & Contact info
How long you’ve been divorced 
Photos of you two together, your kids, your new families 
A paragraph or two about your relationship

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, September 2, 2014

Macs In The Law Office Websites/Blogs/Articles

I am really jumping on the bandwagon for Macs! With the advancement of cloud computing, and since learning of Windows Virtualization, I am now convinced that the impediments to going all Mac are gone.

If you would like to start learning about Macs in the law firm environment, or you want to learn more, here are the links to a couple of outstanding sites.

Macs In Law comes to you courtesy of Brett Burney.  It is chock full of all things Mac, iPhone and iPad.  Beyond the learning materials I also enjoy Brett's deal page -- with deep discounts and free stuff.

Also essential reading is The Mac Lawyer by Ben Stevens.  Ben gets extra kudos for the fact that he is a family law lawyer.  Like MIL, The Mac Lawyer is filled full of all things Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Here are some good articles on Macs in the law office:

The Fine Art of Practicing Law on a Mac
So You Want An All Mac Office?
Can I Use A Mac At My Law Office

For a contrary view of switching over please also consider Mythbusters: Should Your Law Firms Switch From Windows To Mac?

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

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

FutureLawyer First To Leak New iWatch

We have all been waiting a long, long, long time for Apple's iWatch.  Rumors are that when it actually hits the street it is going to be a huge disappointment.  Well that time is now! Congratulations to Rick Georges over at FutureLawyer for being the first to report on the new iWatch. Here is the very first photo:

Click here for the story.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law #rickgeorge #futurelawyer #apple #iwatch #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, August 29, 2014

Running Windows Software On A Mac

Our mainline computers at the firm are Windows machines.  However, my laptop is a Mac Book Pro and my home computer is a Mac.  The Macs are superior in every way.  Better operating system, better software, better screens . . . .

We go with the Windows computers at the office because all of the legal-specific software that we use is Windows-only (for example, AbacusLaw, DissoMaster, Attorney's Briefcase).  Sucks, but that's how it is.

There is an alternative. It is called Windows Virtualization.  Parallels and VM Ware Fusion 6 are software programs that allow you to install Windows on your Apple computer, and then run Windows and all of your Windows software on that computer.  I have installed Parallels on my Mac Book Pro and it is AWESOME!

Once you have the virtualization software installed you simply click an icon and then Windows is running on your Apple machine.  Totally seamless.  It seems to me that Windows runs even better and faster on my MBP than it does on my native Windows machine -- and the same can be said for the Windows programs that I run on the Mac.

Now I can have the best of both worlds.  Windows programs and Mac Happiness.

Fusion 6 on a Mac

A couple of confessions:  In addition to buying Parallels or Fusion 6, you are also going to have to buy a copy of Windows to install on your Mac.  Your looking at more than a couple of hundred dollars.  Also, the complete installation on your Mac can be a bit challenging.  Be humble and call tech support.  With help it took me about an hour and a half to get it done.

I am going to be speaking on this topic at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Chicago on November 5, 2014.  Stop by and say hi!

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

#Apple #Windows #Parallels #Fusion 6 #windowsvirtualization #AAML #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Wearable Smartphone from Samsung

The folks over at BGR are some of the first to break the story on the new non-android, wearable smartphone from Samsung.

Running on Samsung's own Tinzen operating system the Gear S is a fully functioning 3G smartphone.  As you can see from the picture you can also wear it as a watch.  Pretty cool!

Click here for more pictures and details.  Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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