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!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tips For Accepting Credit Cards In Your Practice

Accepting credit card payments from clients can be a huge benefit to your bottom line. However, there is a learning curve. When you accept payments your processor is going to collect a fee, and depending on who you are using that fee can be quite expensive. To help you understand better I direct your attention to a post from the ABA's Law Technology Section.
Accepting credit cards—namely Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express—  helps a company in many ways. However, it is important to avoid the pitfalls associated with taking a credit card for payment. Just like we need to maintain our health by exercising regularly, law firms must exercise their financial acumen when analyzing whether or not they have the best credit card program for their practice. . . 
Credit card fees are confusing. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express maintain different rate structures depending on the type of card and on how a transaction is processed. The associations that manage the interchange fees present rates in different forms such as qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Credit card companies also have other fees such as batch fees, debit fees, annual fees, voice verification fees, and address confirmation fees.  I think you understand the point: This can get really tricky and confusing!
This article goes a long way to resolving the confusion. If you are accepting credit cards, you need to understand what it is costing you. If you are considering credit card payments you need to know what to expect. Click here to read the entire article, with answers to these questions.

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

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Specialty Blogs Work The Best

If you are going to take the time to publish a blog, it may as well generate some business for you, right? Well, the key to that success would appear to be a very tight focus. Thanks to our friend Kevin O'Keefe for letting us re-post his recent article on niche law blogs. Yours truly is a St. Mary's College alum, and thus wise in the ways of college basketball. Kevin cheers for Gonzaga, so we must hold that against him. Nonetheless, he does know blogs, which almost evens out his character score. Here is what Kevin writes on niche blogs:

Most large law firms publish law blogs by traditional practice groups. There are over 130 employment-law blogs being published by Am Law 200 firms, alone. 

The 2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market from Georgetown Law and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, widely labeled as the “Georgetown Report,” signals that publishing blogs focused on general practice areas is misguided. 

Niche-focused publications demonstrating subject matter expertise are key. 

Why? The erosion of the traditional law firm franchise over the last ten years. Clients are disaggregating work and allocating work to different law firms based on subject matter expertise established, in part, through niche blog publishing. 

From the Georgetown Report: 
One significant result of this disaggregated approach is that the client’s relationship with its outside counsel may – and often does – shift from a traditional client/trusted advisor relationship to more of an ad hoc, transactional relationship. In the latter model, the outside lawyer becomes less of a counselor with respect to the overall matter and more of a provider of specialized services that the client is unable to provide internally or acquire more effectively elsewhere.  
Fox Rothschild, which publishes thirty-seven law blogs, is one law firm that recognizes the disaggregation concept in its approach to blogging. 

Mark L. Silow, firmwide managing partner for Fox Rothschild, recently told Bloomberg Law that he’s amazed both by the amount of traffic that the firm’s blogs attract and by the amount of business that they generate. According to Silow, a niche focus is key: 
The thing that we encourage, and actually insist on in our bloggers is that they be very focused, that they be very specific. We would never approve of someone who says I am going to write a litigation blog. It has to be much narrower, much more focused. 
Why does Silow insist on niche blog publications?
Clients are hiring experts. They are not hiring law firms, they are not hiring generic lawyers, they are hiring experts. If you can blog today on a decision that came out this morning involving a really specific technical aspect of the law, you have now portrayed yourself as a current expert. 
Silow’s thinking closing parallels the findings of the Georgetown Report:
The buzz word is disaggregation, where clients, especially the larger and more sophisticated clients, are no longer saying “Fox Rothschild is my law firm, whatever legal issues I have pick up the phone and call Fox Rothschild.” They have now have litigation counsel for this, they have litigation counsel for that kind of issue. They have tax counsel, real estate counsel, securities counsel, and all kinds of counsel.” 
Those who can project and have the real specific expertise are getting more and more work.
There’s little doubt Fox Rothschild is outperforming the majority of large law firms on the blog front. The reason is a proactive and strategic focus. Rather than the tired and old marketing and business development by practice groups with a large number of lawyer bloggers, Fox Rothschild looks to opportunities for growth.

Fox Rothschild’s blogs can have as many as six or eight bloggers, but a good number have two to three bloggers, with some as few as one. The firm is tapping into the interests and passions of its lawyers in order to establish firm niche expertise.

Fox Rothschild’s business success is in line with the findings of the Georgetown Report:
There are, of course, many reasons that some law firms outperform others – including historic location, practices, and client base – but there are two characteristics that seem to have emerged over the past several years as particularly important in marking firms as likely winners: strategic focus and proactive response to the needs and expectations of clients.
Though there are exceptions, general practice oriented blogs struggle, especially to start. The blogs do not become must-have publications for clients, including in-house counsel. The blogs do not get shared on social media. The blogs do not get cited by reporters, bloggers, or the courts.

As a result, the lawyers’ interest in blogging wanes, and the blog shows it. The firm has wasted an opportunity (and often hundreds of thousands of dollars in collective lawyer time).

Legal blogs present an opportunity for lawyers and law firms to make a name for themselves as subject matter experts. But follow the wisdom of the Georgetown Report and Fox Rothschild. Go niche law blogs.

2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market [Thomson Reuters]

Kevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) is the CEO and founder of LexBlog, which empowers lawyers to increase their visibility and accelerate business relationships online. With LexBlog’s help, legal professionals use their subject matter expertise to drive powerful business development through blogging and social media. Visit LexBlog.com.

LexBlog also hosts LXBN, the world’s largest network of professional blogs. With more than 8,000 authors, LXBN is the only media source featuring the latest lawyer-generated commentary on news and issues from around the globe. Visit lxbn.com now.

Please click here for the original of Kevin's article.

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

#kevinokeefe #blogs #nicheblogs #lawblogs #marketing #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An Update On The Cloud

Not only is cloud computing the wave of the future, it is the crashing surf of today. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, I want to steer you all to a great update article from Above The Law.com. There Jeff Bennion give you his latest, greatest information about the most celebrated cloud providers: Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, and Dropbox.

Did you know that "Google Drive has added several new features, including the ability to preserve your data when you get an ediscovery hold (lawyers don’t usually get ediscovery holds for their own files, but it’s important to know about this if your clients get an ediscovery hold and they are using Google Docs), and built-in voice typing into documents."? Were you aware that "Dropbox has been working on a project called Paper, which is a collaborative note-taking application like Evernote and OneNote. So, it’s a shared virtual whiteboard to jot down notes and sketches."?

All this information, and more, is available by clicking here!

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

#cloud #cloudcomputing #cloudplatforms #googledrive #onedrive #dropbox #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Family Wizard

I am a huge fan of the website, app and co-parenting tools from Our Family Wizard. I recommend OFW to anyone and everyone who will listen. Recently my OFW account rep, Matthew Havrevold, stopped by the office to catch up. As I am want to do, I exploited the opportunity and asked Matt to send me some content for the blog. Of course, he was happy to comply!  Here is what Matt would like you to consider:

Since 2001, the OurFamilyWizard® web and mobile applications have helped co-parents to reduce conflict and attain more accurate and organized communication records. The platform was expressly designed to get co-parents to communicate clearly without being sidetracked by conflict. It does so by providing a variety of features for organizing information while making it all accessible from one central location. While some co-parent communication tools only facilitate messaging, the OurFamilyWizard® website offers a full suite of tools to help parents create parenting schedules, log expenses, send reimbursements, and share important family information.  
Family courts in all 50 states and across Canada recognize the benefits to parents using these tools and consistently order their use in contested cases. More than just benefitting parents, the OurFamilyWizard® toolset also makes it easy for professionals to work with clients. OFW® Professional Access provides a way to oversee parent activity and access court-ready reports at no cost. All entries are recorded indefinitely, and every message is time stamped when sent and first read. Unlike email or text messages, there is no risk of losing parent activity or questioning whether something was received. Counsel can quickly access client information straight from a computer or iPad using the free OFW® app built for professionals. 
With both web and mobile access to these tools, parents and professionals can access and share information at home, at the office, or on the go. This makes it easier to handle family-related matters in real time. For instance, a parent doesn't have to wait to get home from the pediatrician's office to share details about the appointment. While waiting for the appointment to wrap up, a parent can use the OFW® mobile app to quickly upload a photo of the receipt to request reimbursement from the other parent. The other parent can access that request, view the receipt, then transfer the funds to the other parent via OFWpay™ in just the click of a button. For professionals using OFW®, there is no longer a need for clients to forward loads of emails to their attorneys and other professionals. When all client communication is accessible in one central location, a professional can find the important details they need to help their client without wasting time weeding through frivolous correspondence.
The website's features are built for parents to intuitively convey information without the need for back and forth messaging. Even so, the OFW® message board provides a space for parents to send secure messages while also providing feedback to parents about the tone of the message. Developed to go against eight levels of connotative feeling, Tonemeter™ will analyze a new message while a parent composes it and flag any emotionally charged phrases it detects. This gives the parent a chance to reframe the tone of their message before sending.   

While other web-based tools only offer a messaging feature for parents and no access to professionals, the OurFamilyWizard® features not only improve clarity between co-parents but also makes it easier for counsel to work with clients effectively. An OurFamilyWizard® subscription gives a parent complete access to all these tools plus mobile apps and detailed reports. Discounted or free subscriptions are offered to those who quality. Additionally, OFW® Professional Access is always free and includes access to link with clients, create new families, create clear reports, iPad app access, and more. 

If you are not utilizing OFW in your practice, or failing to recommend it to your clients, you are really shorting your practice. Check it out. Give Matt a call and request more information. You will be impressed.

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

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

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lawyers Must Know Technology

As we head into 2017 you must acknowledge technology is not an option in your law practice. It is also not optional that you know technology as a practicing lawyer. Think about it for a minute... How can you create an effective discovery plan in your divorces cases if you don't know about online banking and online finance programs like Quickbooks? How can you effectively adjudicate all the issues n your case if you don't know how to find all the facts? How can you cost effectively deliver legal services if you are not computer savvy? How are you going to communicate with your clients if you don't use email?

If you think you don't need to know technology, then you don't know about practicing law. nowadays. Technology wisdom is no longer on the horizon. It is under our feet, on our desks, in our heads. It has been here since yesterday, and you need to embrace it and know it now!

If you don't believe me, then pay attention to the state bars. They are compelling you to know technology. The State Bar of Florida has amended its CLE rules so that they now require three hours per cycle of technology training. Given how pervasive tech it is in our world, it is only a matter of time before all state bars with have similar rules.

Also pay attention to your malpractice carriers. Those risk management brochures they send you are now filled with warnings compelling us to learn about and implement technology. Malpractice applications now include technology questions.

In your divorce practice do you request data from the opposing parties computer? Are you researching social media use by the opposing party? Do your requests for job search logs include data from job websites? No. Why not? Here is my suggestion for your list of 2017 resolutions:  Start thinking about, using, and investigating technology in your practice. It is not just about word processing anymore...

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

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Hytech Lawyer

The Hytech Lawyer
is a nice blog published by Columbia, South Carolina trial lawyer Bill Latham. According to Bill the blog/website is:
Generally focused on technology and its implications for  the practice of law.   The subject matter of the blog runs the gamut from cutting edge law practice technology, to the impact of technology on the legal profession.  Finally, we address data security, data breach and privacy issues.   In a nutshell– the intersection of law and technology.
Take a look. You will find hardware and software review, tips fore making better use of software, Bill's thoughts on legal tech, and excellent articles on data security.

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

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

The New Mac Book Pro

I carry an iPad Pro for most of my mobile work. It gives me internet access, and I can download client files and take them to court with me. The Apple Pen also also lets me to take notes. However, when I anticipate a need for heavy duty computing, or when I know that I will be needing Windows software programs, I go with my 15 inch Mac Book Pro.

My Mac is my favorite computing platform. The retina display gives a large, clear, crisp view. There is no shortage of horsepower. I have Parallels installed on it so that I can run Windows programs (like DissoMaster). It just plains works!

Well, for all you Mac fans the big day is here. For the first time in four years Apple has put the Mac Book through a major redesign. It is now thinner, lighter and more powerful. It has a bigger touchpad. The screen is redesigned. The speakers are redesigned. The battery life is longer. There is now a small touch pad screen above th keyboard, that replaces function keys. This is a major upgrade and it looks like a great machine. TechCruch.com has a nice preview.

Of course, you get what you pay for. And the superior Apple product comes with the usual exhorbinant Apple price tag. The 15" version starts at $2399!

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

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