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!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

EMail Hosting

Email is vital to today's law practice. It has become the default channel for lawyer to client communications, lawyer to lawyer communications, and even lawyer to court clerk communications. You simply have to have email in your practice if you want to survive. That necessity being a fact, as our own law practice managers we must have some basic email IT knowledge.

If you are a smallish shop (i.e., a sole proprietorship) you can get away with the one email box that you have in life with @aol.com (yes they still exist), or @comcast.net, or @yahoo.com. As your practice grows and becomes more sophisticated you are probably going to want to get away from those fun addresses and get a more sophisticated and professional email address (like jharding@hardinglaw.com).

That means you are going to have to create a domain name. This is easily done, and usually a part of the backbone for even the most rudimentary of websites. You go to Domain.com or Go Daddy or any of the other innumerable domain name services, pay your $5 and get a domain. As part of the package that those companies provide you can also get them to host your email.

The road maps and traffic controllers of the internet need to know where to zap emails that are addressed to you. That is where email hosting comes in. Those emails addressed to you are received by the servers of your email hosting company. You then set up your Outlook, or Yahoo, or Airmail, or any other email program or app to send and receive emails through that host. Just like your website lives on a server somewhere out there, so to do your emails.

Another nice option provided by some email hosting services is spam filtering. These hosts maintain sophisticated algorithms on their servers that scrub your incoming emails, reroute ads to your spam folder, and send the legit stuff on to you.

For years we had been using Fusemail as our email host, and paying $30 a month for the privilege. With the passage of time a few new developments came along. Fusemail grew, and got sloppy.  If its service went down we could not send and receive emails.  That's a BIG problem  More and more their service did go down, handicapping us!  Along with the reliability of the service going down, the wait times for technical support went way up. Another problem.  Also competition in the market place was bringing competitor's prices way down.

Last week we moved our email host to Rackspace.  Love the technical support. Short waits times and very friendly. They have a track record of close to 100% up time. And we are paying less than $10 per month total for all of our mailboxes at the firm. That is a 66% savings! Yippee! Free market economics win again.

Don't be afraid to grow your technology. Most of the companies want your money, and are willing to work for it. Most email hosts strive for 100% up time, and are happy to patiently teach you how things works and how you set it up. Go for it. Look like a big shot and lost the AOL address.

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

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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Microsoft About To Launch Law Practice Management Sfotware

Leave it to Robert Ambrogi to break another big legal technology story. Microsoft is going to launch its own law practice management software.  Over at his Law Sites blog Robert details Matter Center for Office 365.  Microsoft describes the program as an intuitive document management and collaboration solution accessible from any device at any time, all delivered in a secure and easy-to-manage package. Lawyers will be able to organize files by client and matter, review documents, and find information when needed without ever leaving Microsoft Word or Outlook. 

Looks like the the target date for the release is April, 2015. Want to learn more, click here for Robert's post.

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting On My iPhone 6 Plus

My iPhone 5s works just fine. In fact it works better than fine. The problem is my eyes. As I foray into middleagedom I find the need for the Costco cheater glasses to be going way up. Even with the stylish magnifiers resting on my nose though, it is getting harder and harder to read the screen on my phone.

No problem. There is a solution. The iPhone 6 Plus! I decided to go for it. Since I was making a big life change I figured I would go all in and dump my AT&T data limits plan and switch to an unlimited data plan from TMobile.

I went to the TMobile website. Placed the order. And now I am waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  10 WEEKS AND COUNTING, and still no phone. How can this be? Three months to get a cell phone. Sure I appreciate that the 6 Plus is in high demand. I also understand that the full blast 128 memory version is also in short supply. But give me a break! Apparently I am going to be opening the box for my 6+ about the same time that Apple announces the iPhone 10!

Hey Tim Cook did you stop making the maxi 6+ all together? And John Legere is this the new business plan for TMobile USA? Get the order and then just forget about it? Yet again I thought I had justification for new found hope in the cell phone industry, and yet again I get kicked by the horse. So much for salvation...

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

#Apple #TMobile #iPhone6Plus #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New CLE Available

Attorney Dawn Gray is a dear friend of mine. She is also the finest family law legal writer you will ever find. I read her books religiously and I have had the privilege of working with Dawn on many cases. Her assistance has always proven indispensable.

Now Dawn is branching out and offering online CLE classes. Everything Dawn does is first rate, and these classes are no exception. The classes include the fundamentals of temporary spousal support, the fundamentals of interspousal fiduciary duties, the fundamentals of family law tracing, the fundamentals of family code disclosures, the fundamentals of Moore-Marsden apportionment, the fundamentals of transmutations, the fundamentals of Pereira/Van Camp apportionment, and of course the list will grow.

Dawn Gray, J.D. - New! BLS and MCLE-Approved Continuing Education Classes for Family Lawyers.

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

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

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Best wishes to all in the New Year. Make 2015  great one!

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all of our Friends!

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, December 21, 2014

Fax Machines Are The New Dinosaurs

In 1991 fax machines were a big deal. Unbox the hardware. Throw in a roll of thermal paper. Plug in to the phone line. Then Shazam we were sending and receiving actual copies of documents. The technology was awesome and it took off! Fax numbers became de rigueur on letterhead and pleading captions. Fax machines became as indispensable as typewriters, telephones, and computers. A new industry was born so that we could fax pleadings straight to the court, or to a commercial service so that, for a fee, the docs could be filed at the courthouse.

Guess what?  Time has passed. Technology has improved. Typewriters are dead (we don't even have a typewriter in our building). By this post I now pronounce the fax machine is dead! Get over it. Anything you can do with a fax machine you can do better with email. The new way to go is .pdf. Adobe's portable document format is now the global standard for digitizing everything, especially documents. Scan it, save it, send it, receive it. Copy machines now save copies in pdf format. Word processors export/save in pdf format. Scanners convert to pdf. Everything is pdf. It is the new king.

We don't have an actual fax machine in our office anymore. Our last fax machine went the way of the typewriter and the Dodo Bird years ago. We still have a fax number, but it is connected to an efax account. When a fax comes in it is date and time stamped, converted to pdf format, and emailed to a designated email address. That fax number is rarely used to receive documents because fax volumes have gone way down. We utilize even less, i.e. rarely, to send docs. Why would we want to use it when we can do the same stuff better with email? The only reason we bother with the small cost of the efax account is so that we can send docs to the dinosaur law firms and courts that haven't come into the 21st Century and converted to modern technology.

Emailing pdfs allows direct delivery to the exact recipient, rather than a machine sitting next to the coffee maker. Receiving pdfs has the benefit of eliminating the need to run to the copy machine or scanner with your fax. You simply save the pdf to your electronic folder. If you still are paper based, you print it out and stick it in the file.

Don't forget in California, where I practice, service by fax is not recognized as official service for notice purposes. You can try, but there is no statute supporting the argument. Nasty lawyers still try to exploit fax machines in the worst way as a tool for after hours service. We just turn the efax service off and eliminate the opportunity for &$$hole behavior by some of our less esteemed colleagues. Sure email is on 24/7 but I don't read office emails away from the office so there is no problem for me.

In fact, I am so convinced that faxing is dead we no longer list our fax number on our pleadings, and are starting to eliminate it from our letterhead and other contact information. If people want to send us a fax, they need to make special arrangements.

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

#fax #faxmachine #pdf #Adobe #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers