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.

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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.

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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

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

How to Market Your Law Firm in Today’s Online World

As new technology emerges and new trends take over, how we market our business changes. You have to keep up in order to stay relevant, and all of the moving pieces should work together seamlessly so you can spend more time focused on generating new clients, and less time trying to string these things together.
So starts a very, very relevant post by Tom Foster over at

  • Utilizing client relationship management software
  • Reputation management
  • Lead nurturing
  • Using analytics

True this is an infomercial piece for Tom's company, Foster Web Marketing. The bottom line though is that it is also a tidy and fresh reminder of what we need to think about in our internet marketing worlds.

Please click here to take a read.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Do you wrestle with stacks of bank statements for your cases? Are you manually entering transactions from the statements into Excel spreadsheet? Are you begging for a better way? We may have one for you.

Jim Schaefer is a great forensic accountant based in Southern California. His firm, Schaefer & Company, specializes in family law forensics.  Like me, he is also a repaid tech geek. Today I am lucky enough to have Jim guest posting on a new discovery of his for discovery in your cases. Here's Jim to tell you about

As you know, a direct mechanical tracing is comprised of two parts:  check register and
characterization columns.  Perfect Audit automates the check register portion.  The software incorporates the bank statement formats for bank accounts and credit card statements to provide a pretty good quality OCR result from pdf format.  (Brokerage statements are beyond its scope.)

Picture feeding pdf bank statements into a hopper.  In a day or two you receive a searchable transactions listing that may be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format.  Thus Perfect Audit gives you the check register portion for about 40 cents per pdf page.  (you pay for what you use with no minimum monthly charge).

Before using the Perfect Audit transaction data, you will want to create a running balance column in your check register and check against bank statement balances.  I find that there are a few transactions that are double-entered that are easily corrected.

Perfect Audit really shines when you are searching for the other side of an internal money transfer for wire transfer as there is a search capability on the dollar amount.

One tip is important.  If you provide duplicate bank statements to Perfect Audit, Perfect Audit will give you duplicate entrees in its transaction listings.  Thus it is best to avoid sending duplicate statements to Perfect Audit.

I have seen unfavorable ratings of the software on the web.  My experience differs and has been quite good.  (…and my clients love it when I tell them we are using the latest robotic technology to reduce the cost of their tracing.)  

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tech Is Gonna Help You to Know Your Judge

To this day -- 30 years later -- I remember a story my law school civil procedure professor told us about his first attorney job. 20 years earlier he had been hired by a prominent Wall Street firm. He was assigned to a team for work on an appeal to a U.S. Court of Appeal. For three weeks his only task was to research the lives and histories of the justices assigned to the case. Not just their written opinions, but where they went to school, who they were married to, what their children were about, what kind of food they ate. What size shoe they wore... That level of intel gathering impressed me.  The need to know your judge stuck with me.

I am a firm believer that it is only good lawyering to learn as much as you can about the judge you are litigating in front of. Venture capital and the artificial intelligence world agree with me, and their help is on the way.

Gavelytics is a start-up that focuses on gathering info about, and predicting rulings of, the judges
you are going in front of -- even in simple old family law.

Right now Gavelytics is limited to LA County and Riverside County, but that will change. It is also light on, but not without, family law judges. The user interface is pretty cool. The landing page for each judge includes where they are, who they work with, how you contact them, where they went to school, how they got to the bench. Take a look:

Click the image for a larger look

There's more. Here are some of the Gavelytics tools:

  • Judicial Workload
    • Learn how long it takes to get to trial, the average delay between complaint filing and the initial CMC, and average case length, all compared to the jurisdictional average.
  • Gavelscore
    • Discover whether a judge has ruled more often for plaintiffs or defendants in bench trials. No more guesswork about a judge's most important decisions.
  • Motion Analyzer
    • See how a judge has ruled on 100+ different types of California motions, including summary judgment, demurrers, and motions to compel.
  • Motion Details
    • Compare a judge's motion ruling tendencies to the jurisdictional average, providing crucial context so you can determine if your judge is an outlier–and what to do about it.
  • Learn how often parties make CCP § 170.6 filings against your judge
    • Take advantage of the wisdom of the crowds and see how often other parties paper your judge, all searchable by filing party and case type.
  • See crucial judge ruling and docket speed data in a single dashboard
  • The Judge Summary
    • Takes the most important judicial data points, like tendencies on summary judgment motions, discovery motions and docket speed, and puts them in a simple dashboard for easy reference.

What's it cost? $35 to $65 per month. Not bad. This is a technology that I am going to have to keep my eye on....

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

What A Receptionist Should, And Should Not, Say...

Here's an interesting one for you my fellow members of the bar...

I am in the process of negotiating the settlement of a case. As with most cases, it has been a back and forth process. Last week opposing counsel sent me an email with settlement terms. On Monday I called the attorney's office and left a message asking him to call me.  No return call. Yesterday morning I sent an email to the attorney asking him to call me so that we could wrap up the settlement. No return call. Today I called his office again.

The receptionist answered. “Hello. John Harding to speak with _ _ _ please on the _ _ _ matter.”  “Are you calling in response to the last email he sent you?” “I am calling to talk about the entire case.” Then she says, “There is no need for you to talk to him unless you are calling to accept all of the terms of his email.”

Say what? Am I wrong, or is it out of line to be told by an opposing attorney's support staff when I can discuss a case with opposing counsel? Am I wrong to expect opposing counsel to return my call? Only after the receptionist emailed her boss, was I able to schedule a phone call with him for the next day. 

Unbelievable. Then again, maybe I missed something during all those lectures on courtesy and professionalism.... 

I would love some feedback from the audience on this.

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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 ...