Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's New With Office Telephones ...

Remember this Merlin phone?
I can remember the first telephones I bought for my fledgling law office years ago. It was a Merlin system from AT&T. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world, and at the time it was. Sleek phone sets. Two big hardware boxes hanging in the utility closet. Music on hold, call transfer, do not disturb, voice mail. It rocked! And it was expensive!

We used that Merlin system for decades (heck you can still buy used sets online to this day!). Then newer stuff came out. Stuff that was affordable to buy, and cheaper to use on a monthly basis. We went with an internet telephone system from 8x8. It too had all the latest bells and whistles. On the software side it still does, because that stuff lives and grows in the cloud. The hardware still works just fine but, of course, newer stuff has hit the street since we transitioned six or seven years ago.

Over at Law Technology Today there is a nifty little article on new phone technology. Please click here to check it out, and for a quick read on what is new and great, include free phone technology.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Fringe Benefits of Being a Family Law Lawyer

Family law is an intriguing practice area. As a family law lawyer you must be an expert in multiple areas of substantive law: family, civil procedure, evidence (yes, evidence, if you are good family lawyer!), tax, probate, even criminal. You need to be adept at negotiation. And, you must be a skilled trial lawyer. Poo-poo on those in the legal profession who say family lawyers don't need skills...

Depending on how you craft your practice, you can do a lot of traveling for work, or very little. I have friends around the country who maintain statewide practices. By choice, those folks live out of suitcases. Alternatively there are people like me, who limit their practices to one or two counties, thus avoiding the work-hotel life (though for me, practicing in the commuter hell of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties does present its challenges).

On the plus side, when I do travel for work, it is usually fun travel. As a Fellow in the AAML and the IAFL, there are a plethora of conferences available. Throw in the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, and you can really travel for work and pleasure. And why not?
If your budget allows, work/CLE conferences expand your professional skills, expand your business network, and expand your personal horizons. They are a wonderful distraction from the day to day rigor of practicing law.

Recent work travels have provided a rewarding life balance for me. London, Bahamas, Lisbon, Chicago, Savannah, Tokyo, Stuttgart. That's about 50,000 airplane miles, and three, four weeks of time. But it is professional time mixed with personal time. That is a great combination.

Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

As family law lawyers we all work very hard. We need to reward ourselves, and maintain a degree of separation from the emotion of our clients' worlds. Take a breath, step away. Find a conference. State bar associations put on great programs. The ABA puts on great programs. State Chapters of the AAML put on great programs, and you don't have to be an AAML Fellow to attend. In States that have them, certified specialist organizations put on great programs in great locations. Treat yourself!

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Does Anyone Dictate Anything Anymore?

I have watched movies from bygone eras where the boss man speaks into a microphone, then the recording is handed over to his female secretary for typing up. To me these were extra steps that just were not productive, nor did the exercise foster creativity through reflection.

I have never, ever dictated anything (okay, about 15 years ago I tried Dragon Speaking, but it didn't work as well as typing, so I tossed it).  For me, it has always been faster and better to type it up myself. Now that 99% of my written communications are electronic (either as emails or pdf), that practice is even stronger.

Apparently, though, the idea of dictation is not dead. Over at attorney@work, Eric Wangler has a nice little article on the continued viability of dictation. And, it looks like today's dictation platforms are a far cry from those tape recorders of yesteryear. Please click here to read Eric's article.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sending Text Messages From Your Computer

Happy day after Christmas. I hope everyone is taking a few days off, and looking forward to the New Year. I know I am. Well, not completely. I had to procure some emergency orders for a client last week, and now I am needing to communicate with the other party. The only means available to me is the sending of text messages. But I want to make sure I have a record of the communications, and I don't want to be sending from my very private smartphone.

I learned this morning that it is possible to send messages from my computer to a cell phone number.  Mark Coppock has a great instructional article at Digital Trends. From your Outlook, or Gmail, or other email program, in the "to" box you simply enter the recipient's cell phone number followed by the designation for the recipient's cell phone service provider, and off you go.  For example, would get your email to an AT&T subscriber with the phone number (925)123-4567.

Here is a table for the most popular cell phone service providers:

  • AT&T:
  • T-Mobile: [You may have to put a 1 before the number for it to work with Mobile]
  • Verizon: (text-only), number@vzwpix (text + photo)
  • Sprint: or
  • Virgin Mobile:
  • Tracfone:
  • Metro PCS:
  • Boost Mobile:
  • Cricket:
  • Ptel:
  • Republic Wireless:
  • Google Fi (Project Fi):
  • Suncom:
  • Ting:
  • U.S. Cellular:
  • Consumer Cellular:
  • C-Spire:
  • Page Plus:
The beauty of this system is that I have a record of the message in the sent folder of my email program. I don't have to take a screen shot of my phone, I don't have to run an app to archive the message. Very handy...

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

USB Connections

It is amazing how much stuff I have plugged in to my computer. There is my internet phone. My webcam. Speakers. Multiple monitors. Wi-fi. A scanner. A printer. Chargers, and on and on.

Fortunately, someone somewhere invented USB ports. I have four built into my computer. What is great about USB, is the expandability. Each of the USB ports on your computer can be expanded, like a tree growing branches. Plug a hub into a USB port, and you create more capacity. Plug a hub into a hub, and you create more capacity. You can daisy chain to your heart's content, and expand your capacity without limit. Heck, I may plug a blender into my computer and make some margaritas!

I needed more USB capacity, so I went shopping. Turns out Amazon has its own 4-port hub, and it's quite good.

This little guy turns one USB port into four. It draws its power from your computer. And it works great. I am very happy with mine. Here's the best news: it costs $6.99 at Amazon Prime. That's a great bargain.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

Creating a Process for Translation During the Legal Discovery Process

One of the most essential parts of fair procedure and due process in a trial is the pre-trial discovery. Legal teams on both sides of the case are legally obligated to share and exchange all relevant documentation in an effort to avoid “trial by ambush”.

The concept of pre-trial discovery is becoming more and more difficult, though. With the growth of cross-border litigation in our vastly global economy coming to an all-time high, discovery has become a lot more complex.

During discovery, dealing with multilingual documents makes the entire process much more laborious. This can affect collecting, filtering, reviewing, and processing all of the various documents. One of the best ways to handle these multilingual documents is by following a decision-making algorithm for legal translation that you can use to complete your discovery efficiently and accurately.

What’s the volume of the discovery documents you’re looking through?

You can determine how you’ll handle your multilingual discovery documents based on how many legal documents you have to translate. For smaller volumes of discovery documents that hold less than 1000 words for translation into maximum two languages, the smart course of action would be to choose a full legal document translation that translates every page.

This would be done by hiring a human translator who has a legal background or subject matter expertise in the legal field so that they can accurately translate the source text.

Alternatively, if you need to translate higher volumes of discovery documents, full human translation can often be too expensive. Instead, you can partner with a professional translation company so that they can filter through the documents and identify a smaller subset of those documents to engage in full human translation. These professional translation services usually relies on two key options: machine translation and foreign language document review.

Machine translation

Machine translation works like this:

  1. Scan, OCR (optical character recognition), and index all of the documents. These are then fed through a machine translator so that the translation company can determine the “overview” of each document and what it contains.
  2. Your internal legal team goes over all of the documents that went through the machine translator to figure out which ones are the most relevant to the case.
  3. All of the documents that were deemed relevant will then be translated word-for-word by a qualified legal translator

Foreign language document review

For foreign language document reviews, the usual process is:

  1. The translation agency you hire will get onsite reviewers to determine which documents are relevant to the case by applying legal principles of privilege. These onsite reviewers are usually professional translators with legal expertise or multilingual attorneys.
  2. This step is optional: For documents that are difficult to discern whether they are relevant or not, onsite reviewers can prepare summaries for review by the internal legal team in an oral or written form.
  3. Once the set of documents have been finalized and approved as relevant to the case, they undergo full document translation by qualified human translators.

Choosing a combination of machine learning and foreign language document review is the most cost-effective approach when dealing with multilingual documents in discovery. Document types that have a higher chance of being central to the case – such as meeting protocols, contracts, or agreements – might be chosen to go through a more intensive foreign language document review. Meanwhile, the rest of the documents can go the machine translation route. Striking a strong balance between the two options and instituting a decision-making algorithm for deciding will earn you better results in your cross-border cases.

By Sirena Rubinoff is the Content Manager at Morningside Translations. She earned her B.A. and Master’s Degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. After completing her graduate degree, Sirena won an international fellowship as a Rotary Cultural Ambassador to Jerusalem. Sirena covers topics related to software and website localization, global business solutions, and the translation industry as a whole.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Very Cool Extension Cord

Extension cord with USB
I like this! It is the PowerCube. It features a 5 foot long grounded cord, four grounded plugs, and two USB outlets. It's a great alternative to the long, unruly power strips that we now use. I particularly like the two USB outlets given how many devices have USB chargers.

PowerCube also has versions without the cord, and without the USB outlets.

Plus, they come in all kinds of fun colors!!!

Good news, these babies are being sold at big discounts all over the internet for Black Friday. Search PowerCube

Wall plug with USB
Wall plug without USB

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

What's New With Office Telephones ...

Remember this Merlin phone? I can remember the first telephones I bought for my fledgling law office years ago. It was a Merlin system...