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, August 18, 2017

Erin Levine You Are A Star!

Divorce lawyer Erin Levine is a friend. She also reads this blog. I know the latter to be true because, as a friend, she tells me that she reads this blog. On top of all that, Erin is now an internet star.  No, I am not talking about her new legal start-up, Hello Divorce. I am talking about her appearance on Lawyerist.com.

Erin's Desk!
(Didn't know if she would be happy with me putting a picture of here here?)
Lawyerist.com is one of my favorite blogs. Lots of great lawyer stuff. One of my favorite sections of the blog is its How Lawyers Work feature. Each week Lawyerist has an interview with a lawyer about his or her work space, and the technology he or she uses.  Fun stuff (with pictures).

Guess what? This week Erin is the featured star in How Lawyers Work. Yahoo!!!! Click here to check her out! Erin, when next we meet I shall bow to your celebrityness!! Way to Go!

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

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Are You Happy?

According to a survey conducted by the State Bar of Texas, most of us lawyers are satisfied with our jobs.  11,000 lawyers were surveyed, and a slim 13.5% said they were dissatisfied with being a lawyer. That's pretty good.

I know I complain about the biz, but at the end of the day I would say I am satisfied with my chosen career. I get to do intellectually challenging work. I am a member of a learned trade. I get to work in comfortable physical spaces. I earn a decent living. What more can you ask for?  Well, I guess if I were to stick to the Caddyshack mantra, I could hold out for total consciousness....

Above The Law has a lot more info on the survey. Please click here for the whole story.

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

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Joys of a Home Office

Da Bear.
Therapist, Centurion,
Expert Witness on the issue of napping,
Counter Surfer
First off, I am a firm believer in the traditional brick and mortar law office. For me it is important to have a place dedicated to work and my law practice. I can control the environment. I make it louder or quieter. It is secure, and private. It gets me closer to my co-workers. Also, I firmly believe family law clients expect an office (rather than a coffee shop or a public library). I believe a physical office is an important component of a lawyer's credibility and reputation. Other lawyers will argue contra, but for me a professional office is a must.

That having been side, I also have a wonderful home office that I use a lot. Being able to get away from my traditional office can be a real refresher. There is also a sense of comfort and satisfaction in being able to work from home in sweats and a t-shirt -- while still being able to be productive. Having the dogs running around can also be very therapeutic.




So, how do I make it work?

Below is a picture of my home office. I think it is pretty nice.



Big secret: I am writing this post from that very desk.  Could have just as easily been my law office desk. Who could have known?

What's really nice about my home office?
  • That wall of bookshelves in the back is what makes it. Plenty of storage to keep the space clutter-free. Also pleasing on the eye.
  • I have a Google Home device on the shelves to the right (a thank you gift for serving as President of the Northern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) so I can listen to music, check the weather, check traffic, etc.).
    • Jazz makes life so much better!
  • The windows let in light and fresh air.
    • Take a deep breatttthhhhhh....

What's functional about my home office?
  • The desk provides a large work surface.
    • I love the wood. My wife hates it because I bought it a Cost Plus.
  • There is a full-size, all-in-one, wireless printer/scanner/copier on the shelves to the left.
    • Can't tell you how many times I have had to print something before leaving for court.
      • Make sure you have plenty of extra paper and toner. That stuff tends to run out at the worst times.
  • I have a Mac (with its Giant screen) installed on an Ergotron adjustable platform. With it I can have a stand-up computer when I want it, or I can drop it down to desk level.
  • Google Wi-Fi allows for connectivity of everything
    • So nice not having a web of tangled wires laying around


Then there is the technology that really brings it all together.
  • Telephone.
    • At my brick and mortar office we have a VOIP telephone system from 8x8. 8x8 also has a virtual office app for smartphones, and virtual office software you can install on your c computer. I have it installed on my iPhone, my Mac, my Mac Book Pro. With the app I can forward office calls to my iPhone and computers. I can retrieve office voice mails from my other devices. The iPhone connects to the wi-fi network so that spotty cell coverage is a non-issue when making and receiving calls. No one on the other end of a phone call could ever guess I was not in the office.
      • Our 8x8 service also includes faxing, although faxes have pretty much gone the way of the Do-Do bird.
  • Mac Book Pro. Goes with me everywhere. Sitting on the desk at home it gives me a valuable second computer and monitor. Also gives me a change of scenery if I want to move away from the Mac.
    • Actually typing this blog post on it.
  • If I want a third computer or a third monitor, out comes the iPad Pro with keyboard.
  • Legal pad. Yep, there it is on the desk next to my laptop. 
    • Still gotta be able to jot things down...
  • The Cloud. Our law firm is almost entirely Cloud based. As such, I can work anywhere I have internet. Our Cloud system includes:
    • Office 365 for so, so, so much:
      • Multiple-platforms means full functionality on desktop computers, laptop computers, iPads, iPhones . . . . Anywhere, and on any device I've got:
        • Word
        • Excel
        • Outlook
          • A huge advantage being able to send, retrieve, and index emails from anywhere
        • Sharepoint. An online repository for all client files.
          • Like taking the office file cabinets with me wherever I go. Again, a huge advantage.
    • Rocket Matter
      • Simply the best practice management system out there! On every device I have all my contacts, cases, calendars, billing, documents and records. The list goes on and on....
    • Skype for direct, real-time communication with office colleagues. 
      • It's the modern intercom with video.
      • And, it is included with our Office 365 subscription.
    • LogMeIn. Occasionally I will need to get on my desktop PC at my law office. LogMeIn let's that happen.
Virtual lawyering, home lawyering, remote lawyering, satellite lawyering, smart lawyering . . .  Call it what you want, a home office can be a real treat! With a couple of exceptions, it can be a duplicate of your regular office, Mine is pretty fancy. It can just as easily be a folding chair and table and a laptop in the corner of an apartment (or even less). Change is good. A home office is a great change of pace for me.

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, July 28, 2017

And The Best New Laptop Is?

PC Magazine has release its list of best laptop computers for 2017. And the winner is?

At an average street price of $265, the Acer Chromebook 14!

Here's what PCMag has to say about Chromebooks in general:

These power-efficient systems are made primarily to surf the Internet using Chrome OS. Small in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose, and wide of vision, Chrome OS is essentially the Google Chrome browser running on hardware specs that would be considered "tight" for a Windows PC. System memory is typically a lean 2-4GB, and local storage is commonly limited to 16GB of flash memory (though you will see systems with 32-64GB). But that's certainly enough to get on to the Internet, where cloud services like Google Drive store your files.
A primary benefit of Chrome OS is that it is relatively immune to the malware plaguing Windows systems, because you're not running Windows programs at all. Chrome OS updates also take seconds, rather than the minutes and hours you'll wait on macOS and Windows. If you spend more than 90 percent of your computer time in a Web browser, you should have no trouble using a chromebook as your primary PC.

As for the Acer:

The Acer Chromebook 14$264.99 at Amazon has an expansive 14-inch screen that's easier on the eyes and likely to serve a wider audience. Add to this sturdy all-metal construction, almost 12 hours of battery life, a full HD screen, and above all that competitive price, and you have our top recommendation for chromebooks.
Acer photo


If you are looking for a more robust machine, PCMag says the HP Spectre x360 13, with a street price of $1200, is the one to choose.

The original HP Spectre x360 was a hit when it debuted back in 2015, and we liked the 2016 model even more. It's back again this year, keeping much of what we love, but adding a refined design and a super sharp 4K touch screen. In addition to the UHD display, the latest HP Spectre x360 13 (starts at $1,199; $1,599 as tested) packs USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, plenty of fast SSD storage, and a chic new color scheme. Given the upgrades to what was already our top choice for high-end convertible laptops, the 2017 model is an easy Editors' Choice pick.
HP photo

I just got me the new Mac Book Pro, which I love. It is also a PCMag Editor's Choice. But of course, it also the highest price laptop on the list.

MacBook Pro CNET photo


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, 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