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, October 17, 2014

Apple's Yosemite OS X available for download

Apple's latest Mac operating system, Yosemite, is now available for free download at the Apple Store.  I am running it.  I do like the new graphics.  Speed does not seem to have changed.

Not sure why my Mac Book Pro also rings when my iPhone rings? Thinking I am going to disable this?

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

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Monday, October 13, 2014

.lawyer and .attorney domains available

Here's something fun for you internet marketing junkies.  .lawyer and .attorney domains have been released.  I don't have any hard statistics to back this up but I suspect that if you have yourname.lawyer or yourname.attorney it may help with searches and steering traffic your way.  If nothing else it is a way to expand and further personalize your internet empire!

Visit your domain name reseller (Go Daddy, 1&1, etc.) to get yours today.

P.S. johnharding.lawyer is taken!

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

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lawyer Has Phone, Will Practice

A smartphone is an essential tool for any lawyer who does any work away from the office.  My Apple love carries through to my phone, an iPhone 5s.  I have that thing so packed with apps my thumb gets tired flipping through the screens.  But that is part of the fun!

AT&T is my carrier because it delivers reliable phone and data service around the world.  TMobile is also quite good, particularly in Europe.  The price is not so much better, so I stick with old reliable AT&T (although I do thank TMobile for making AT&T more competitive and customer focused -- Go Capitalism!).

Wi-fi is everywhere, but when it is not my AT&T iPhone has hotspot capability so that its 4G can get my computer online fast.  This function came in quite handy during a recent road trip to Southern California.  I let my wife do the driving and our teenage daughter was the co-pilot while I turned the backseat of the car into a rolling office.  With the Mac connected to the internet via the iPhone hotspot I had total connectivity! Awesome!  If only I could get my wife to green light the purchase of an RV (not gonna happen) then I would really have a mobile office . . .

Why not an iPhone 6?  Too much time left on my current contract. . . .

A bluetooth headset is also essential.  A headset provides better listening quality than I get from the speaker on the phone, it allows my hands to be free, and provides more privacy.  My current favorite is the ERA from Jawbone.  It is tiny.  The ear bud is super comfortable and does a fantastic job of keeping the headset in my ear.  It has great battery life, that is extended with the separate carrying case, and in a pinch I can also use it to listen to movies and music with it.

I have the Skype app on my phone and I use it all the time to stay in contact with colleagues in the office.  I also have 8x8's iPhone app installed so that I can be connected virtually to our internet phone system at the office.  The added bonus is that I came make free phone around the world provided I have an internet connection.

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, October 9, 2014

Polish Your Chrome

I prefer Google's Chrome as my browser. I like the layout. I like the memory options. I used to like it because it was more secure than Internet Explorer. Unfortunately that changed. Add-ons were clogging the performance of the browser. My screen was getting crowded. Even worse, Google was letting marketers, malware and other unwanted and invasive stuff invade my browser and computer.

Fortunately Google paid attention (I think?). It has released a software removal and reset tool for Chrome.  Yes this is more software, but hopefully it will work to clean up unwanted software. Intriguingly it is only available for Windows. Either that means Apple OS systems are immune (Not!) or Google is still working on an Apple recipe.

You can download the program by clicking here:  www.google.com/chrome/srt/

For more information the How To Geek has a great article.  Check it out by clicking here.

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, October 6, 2014

Your Writing Sucks!

Writing is one of the lawyer's primary stocks in trade.  That is why it is so bewildering to me why so many of us write so badly?  We should be better at writing given that we get paid to do it.

Okay fine, I have yelled about making your writing better.  You, in turn are saying, fine Harding, how do I do that?  I am not going to go back to college to get an English degree.  I hear you.  I do have a suggestion.  I have come across a wonderful software app called WordRake.  It is an add-on for Microsoft Word, that adds an icon driven menu bar to your program.  With a click of a few buttons in Word, WordRake becomes your computerized proof reader.

WordRake filters your document for run-on sentences, redundancy, and other grammatical mistakes, all from the comfort of a visually appealing, user-friendly interface. Because it is a Word add-on it runs within Word.  No cumbersome bouncing in and out of independent programs. You create a document and run WordRake. It then analyzes all of your text, highlights the problem portions, and includes recommended text to fix the problems.  It is very cool.  I wrote to the company and asked for some screenshots to post here.  They weren't very helpful.  I got one picture that did not go a long way in demonstrating what it does.  That being the case, rather than read about it, take a look at the video from the WordRake website, below, to see how it works.

I have used the free trial version of WordRake, and I really like it.  It just plain works.  The problem for me is the price.  It is available on a subscription basis, and goes for $129 per year ($259 for three years).  It really does work great, the price point just leaves me uneasy.  If you need help with your writing this is an exceptional tool!

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

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You Should Be Flying At The Front Of The Plane

You all know what an avid traveler I am.  Included in that description I would add that I am also a frequent flier mileage geek.  I horde miles like a Siberian squirrel hoards acorns.  I have become pretty good at it, to the point that when I fly internationally it is always in business class or first class.  I am also in the front of the plane on most of my domestic flights (Southwest and JetBlue being the exceptions), even if that means paying the premium price for the ticket.  I do it because it makes economic sense to spend the extra money, and it minimizes the horror of air travel.  At 6'5" I need all the extra room I can afford.

Consider as an example the average big city lawyer.  She bills at $500 per hour.  At a minimum flying from San Francisco to New York will require one hour to get to the airport; one hour to clear security and board the plane; five and a half hours hours until touchdown. That is eight and a half hours.  How about another example.  San Francisco to Nashville.  One hour to get to the airport.  One hour to get on the plane.  Four hours flying time to Chicago.  Two hour layover at O'Hare. Two hour connecting flight to Nashville.  Ten hours of travel time. A third example.  San Francisco to Rome. One hour to get to the airport.  Two hours to check in.  Ten hours to Frankfurt.  Three hour layover. One hour flight to Rome.  Seventeen hours! Under any of the examples, you are away from the office for at least a full day.

If you pay for an upper class seat that travel time does not have to be a big ding on your bottom line. Here's why. For that extra money you pay to the airline you get priority check-in, and a priority security line.  That saves you at least thirty minutes.  Then you get access to the airline's business class lounge, with quiet, private workspaces.  That gives you another hour of productive time, without dealing with the crowds, noise, and confusion of the main terminal. That lounge also gives you free wi-fi, and access to free computers and printers should you need them. That business class seat on the plane gives you priority loading and off-loading (more time and efficiency).  Plus you get a seat and tray table large enough to work at, with some semblance of privacy.  Take advantage of it by getting some billable time in. Four hours of work on the flight to Frankfurt (yes, I fly Lufthansa) would be no problem With your arrival in Frankfurt you once again get priority clearance through customs and security. You get lounge access during the layover, with more work time should you want it.

If you shop around you can get a round trip business class ticket on the domestic flights for $1500 to $2000. For the round trip to Rome a business class seat will set you back $3000 to $4000.

On our San Francisco to Rome scenario you could easily get 6 and a half hours of billable work done, and have plenty of vacation time.  For our $500 per hour lawyer those 6.5 hours of billable time would work out to $3,250.  You have paid for your business class ticket!  And you have traveled in style.

Then again you could do it my usual way:  Pay for the ticket with a frequent flier credit card to earn double or triple miles.  Forget about work and enjoy a carefree, luxurious trip.  Work a full Saturday when you return to pay for 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

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 

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