Welcome

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!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Great Tools to Broadcast your Windows Computer to a Big Screen TV

I have had a large, flat panel television hanging from my office wall for years. I use it to draft and
review documents with clients, to show DissoMaster to clients, etc., etc. It is an incredibly useful tool, and can really add to the efficacy of client meetings and settlement meetings.

My original set-up for the system was a big job.  It required hard wiring because wireless technology for such a system was not around yet. The wiring for the project was two ethernet cables pulled up and down walls, and across ceiling crawl spaces, with USB adapters plugged into my PC and the television. This original technology worked adequately, but not perfectly. There would be a latency as the images moved to the TV, that could result in choppiness. Also, there was some kind of memory glitch that would necessitate rebooting my computer to clean things up after using the TV. The clarity the of the images was good, but not up to the full high resolution (HD) capabilities of the television.

I tucked the dreams of a better way to do it into the back of my mind... I got to thinking this week: How can I make it better? Then I had an epiphany.  How about Apple TV?

I brought my Apple TV from home and connected it to the TV. Of course I immediately had mirroring with my Mac Book Pro -- that has long been a standard feature of Apple operating systems. I needed a system for Windows....

Next I went to the internet and did a search for Apple TV with Windows. A slew of listings came up.  I spent about an hour clicking and viewing. Eventually I came across a website for a product called Air Parrot 2. Created by a company called Air Squirrels (you gotta love the names!), it is awesome! For $12.99 you get a piece of software that allows your Windows PC to wireless share content with other devices. In my case it allows my Windows PC to connect via our office wi-fi with the Apple TV plugged into my big screen TV. It also works with Macs and Chrome.

Set up could not have been simpler. My Windows PC screen fills the entirety of the television's screen (no black bars along the sides of the TV screen). There is no latency or chopping. And I get HD resolution! Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!



Utilizing big screens really ads to the practice. Now the technology makes it easier to do. Combined with the ever dropping prices for really nice, really big, flat panel TVs, there is little reason not to do it.

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

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Office365 is Micrososoft's Future

Jeff Bennion is a lucid law practice technologist. The writing on his virtual wall says Office365 in Big Letters. This week he posted a great article on Above The Law. In the article Jeff makes the following observation:
For years now, Microsoft has been acquiring companies and integrating them with Office 365 and Windows 10 to let you do more from places other than your desk. For example, the new Timeline feature takes advantage of the artificial intelligence working in the background of Windows, and lets you start a document at work, and when you pick up your cell phone or go to another computer it will ask you if you want to pick up where you left off, regardless of whether that file is on your computer. If it’s not on your computer, it downloads it and you can get to work seamlessly.
Jeff also notes the upcoming release of new Surface computers from Microsoft:
So, today [May 23, 2017] Microsoft is having its conference in Shanghai to announce new Surface computers. What does that mean for lawyers though, whose Outlook calendars and pleading templates work just as well on a fourth-generation Intel i5 than on a seventh-generation i7? Does it really matter what the new computers are and how fast they can do things?
The answer is yes, but not because we need faster, better computers. It’s because between the hardware changes that are coming and the software changes, manufacturers are rapidly trying to change work culture to encourage mobility and remote working. We are right in the middle of a huge work culture change, which includes law practices, and it’s being driven in part by these new things coming out.
Jeff is giving us lawyers a heads up that we have to start getting ready now for the inevitable transformation of computing to the cloud. His big statement:  We are going mobile.
The Death of the DesktopIt is my prediction that desktop computers in the office will be gone in five years. As we’ve seen in big law firms, more law firms will rely on employees working from home. That will be hastened by the technology that is allowing that transition to happen more smoothly. 
This message does not come as a shock to me. As someone who has been telecommunting for three decades, the pattern makes sense. People are mobile. Why shouldn't our computing platforms be able to follow us, rather than tying us down. Mobile technology equals convenience. Convenience equals efficiency. Efficiency makes for better performance, be it sales, writing, practicing law, anything!


Get ready folks, the transformation will be a lot easier if you go with it rather than fighting it. If you are not already there, you need to start looking to the cloud. If you are a Microsoft Word of Excel addict, you better start learning more about Office365.
Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 
Please click here to read the entirety of Jeff's brilliant article.

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Small Firm Legal Marketing Blog

I am always on the look out for new sources of information to help make the practice of law more efficient, more pleasant, more profitable. To that end I recently find a new blog that I think is pretty good: The Small Firm Legal Marketing blog. Produced by a Washington DC personal injury lawyer who only gives us his first name, Maxwell (sort of a lost marketing opportunity on his part), the blog includes tips into search engine optimization, product reviews, and social media plans.

The blog is pretty new, but I think it has a lot of potential. While not grand in scope or content (kind of matches this blog in that respect) it is worth a click, so click here to visit smallfirmlegalmarketing.com.

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, May 2, 2017

Office 365 Report

Well, it has been a couple of weeks since we implemented Microsoft's Office 365 Business Premium. On the whole I would say I am most enthused. Having all Microsoft Office products (Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.) on all of my hardware is great! Likewise, being able to go live with Outlook regardless of device or location is a huge convenience. And for $12.50 per user per month, you cannot beat the cost!

Remember we made the switch after Rocket Matter -- our Great practice management software -- released its Office 365 integration features. Those new tools are also proving to be a great addition to our practice, particularly the new email integration tools.

Of course, we are talking about Microsoft here, so I am not going to say everything has been problem free. Office 365 requires a new way of thinking, and it has been mind numbing at times. I have bought books and reviewed dozens of blogs and chat groups as part of the learning curve. Of course, there are also hiccups. We have not completely moved all of our files to the cloud because we are still struggling with some Sharepoint and OneDrive formatting requirements. We are still getting used to finding those cloud based files and documents. While in court yesterday I tried to review some pleadings on my iPad. It did not go as smooth as glass. With time there will come familiarity. I am not worried.

I have been a proponent of maintaining a mobile practice for decades. Office 365 is a major development in that regard. It was the right move to make.

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

#Microsoft #office365 #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mindfulness and Balance

Today I write to you about meditation. What does meditation have to do with technology and law practice? Quite a bit thank you. Let me elaborate.

About a year ago I was having dinner with another family law lawyer as part of a dine around program at a CLE conference. He is a long time friend, and as friends do we talked about law, our lives, our families, etc. Eventually we got to the topic of stress, and how much of it there is in a family law practice. As we were talking about stress, my mood went down. My buddy's mood stayed high. I asked him how he was able to keep his spirits up even though we were each sharing some real stress stories with one another? He explained that he had begun meditating...

Meditation, really? I responded. Here is where the technology comes in. He explained that he had downloaded an app to his phone, and that everyday he was dong his app-based meditation. That it was really helping him to manage the stress in his life, and that I should give it a go.

Stress, stress, stress!  Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety! Frustration, frustration, frustration! As family law lawyers it is there.

My curiosity piqued, I began researching the topic of mediation, and methods of doing it. Here is the family law practice part. The virtues of meditation have been extolled for thousands of years. I had just never given it much thought. But the more I researched, the more impressed I became with the asserted physical and mental health benefits. Wouldn't we all be better family law practitioners if we could manage our stress and anxiety more effectively?

I tried a slew of different iPhone apps. Glenn Harrold has become a favorite. The really life changer for me though is an app/website called Headspace. A subscription service, Headspace has an app for smart phones, and a very nice website. Now I am going to pirate from that website.

www.headspace.com
On your mobile and tablet, you can listen to Headspace on the go and download sessions to use offline. On your computer, you can play any session, any time. The techniques used within the Headspace app have been refined and developed over many centuries, passed down from teacher to student. The intention of these techniques is to cultivate awareness and compassion so that we might better understand the mind, as well as our relationship with the world around us. With this as our focus, we view any kind of health benefit beyond the development of awareness and compassion as a helpful byproduct or positive side-effect of regular meditation.

Headspace has single sessions and series sessions focusing on sleep, stress, anxiety, sports, health, relationships, performance, and on and on. You get comfortable, put your headphones on, and listen to the guided meditation sessions. You set the length of the session you want at 10, 15, 30 minutes, and go through it work-free.

For me this stuff absolutely works! The programs are guided programs. Andy Puddicombe, one of the founders of Headspace and the person who narrates the programs, does all of the work for you. I don't have to struggle to learn mediation. It is fed to me by the app. That I love. I also love feeling better, having more energy, and having a clearer mind. I am definitely a believer.

I get it. It is easy to be a skeptic. I was. Then I gave it a try. I am better off for it. If it works for me, I am sure it can work for you. Give it a try. What have you got to lose other than stress and anxiety!

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, April 18, 2017

News From Lisbon

The European Chapter Meeting for the International Academy of Family Lawyers was held in March in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal. As always the IAFL put on a fantastic meeting.

On the unofficial agenda this year the hot topic was The UK's exit from the European Union (i.e,, "Brexit"). How family law practice in Europe will be affected is still open to speculation. Second on the lively debate forum was new President Trump...

On the formal agenda topics discussed included international relocation and the evolving areas of same sex families and also transgender law. These topics are equally relevant here in the U.S., and given the amount of time invested in them at the Lisbon meeting, there is every indication that these areas of practice that will have increasing impact on our family law practices.

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Day 2 of the Office 365 Migration

OK, where are we at?

Migrating data over to Office 365 is not a task for novices. I learned that from reading reviews online, and was advised of same when I was on the phone with Microsoft sales for the purchase of our Office 365 subscriptions. My friends at Rocket Matter referred me to Lisa Hendrickson. She Rocks!

Lisa runs a consulting service called CallThatGirl. She is a remote service provider. By that I mean she does not do a personal, physical site visit. Instead she logs into your machines remotely, and does her thing over the internet. Quite handy.


Lisa has been busy copying data, backing up data, posting data, and setting things up. The migration is done, but took hours time as gigabytes of data were moved. It is a time consuming process. So much so that Lisa had the migration run overnight. That gets us here to Day 2. Witing for all the data to transfer....

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

#Office365 #Office365migration #callthatgirl #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers