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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Participants Needed for Divorce and Custody Dispute Study

Dr. Julie Ancis, a professor of Counseling Psychology at Georgia State University, is studying women’s experiences with divorce and custody disputes. The purpose of this research is to gain an understanding of women’s experiences within the legal system. Individual interviews are being conducted with participants, and will cover topics such as interactions with attorneys, judges, and guardian ad litems; coping; and parenting issues. Interviews are confidential and tend to last between 1 ½ to 2 1/2 hours. With the knowledge gained through this study, we would like to educate those in the court systems and health professionals about the unique challenges that women may face in divorce and custody disputes. We may pursue a study about men’s experiences at a future date. Thank you for your consideration! Dr. Julie Ancis can be contacted at cpsjra@langate.gsu.edu

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Worcester County Bar Association Presents The LinkedIn Lawyer

Thanks to David Barret and the Worcester County Bar for a great SlideShare on Linkedin for Lawyers. The SlideShare Presentation from the event is below. Get more social media seminars for lawyers on DVD at http://www.legalsocialmedia.blogspot.com


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

Dell Catching The IPad Wave

For years I have carried a tablet computer running the Windows operating system. Some worked horribly (Motion Computing). Some worked better (Fujitsu). None worked great. All had deficiencies. The Windows operating system, that is always a problem. Out of necessity we all learn to work around that. The other complaint I have is the weight of tablets. To this point and time they have carried the same bulk and weight of any typical laptop computer.

Thanks to the IPad, and the Kindle before it, those bulk issues are changing. Tablet PCs are now carrying the label "slate" computers, and Dell is jumping on board the IPad craze with a slate machine. Dubbed the Streak, it can be taken as a IPad clone in design. It would act and do much the same as the IPad. As with the IPad, it will also connect to the web via service provided by AT&T -- a big bummer in my opinion.

Slates will have great application for lawyers. I am going to wait a year or two for the technology to mature, but I will definitely be on board. The ability to carry a light, thin, robust mobile platform has repeated application for lawyers. Remote access to the office. An entire pdf copy of a client file on board. Taking notes on an electronic pad. Carrying our research library with you. Invaluable stuff. I am doing it already, and loving it. I look forward to doing with much lighter!

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Update on LexisNexis and PCLaw

Because of this blog people frequently contact me asking for product and service recommendations, etc. In the past week several people have contacted me regarding LexisNexis and its PCLaw product. Voila! Along comes a great article from John Heckman on those exact items. Here is what John writes on his Does It Compute? blog:
The State of LexisNexis

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Lexis Nexis. Interestingly, several people have written with observations or questions about what I think may be going on.

The first thing to note is that LN continues to push PCLaw as the low end practice management, complete with baseball hats and ad campaigns on Craig’s List using slogans like “Practice Manager for hire: 23 years experience. 31,393 references. Loves doing everything you hate to do.” While there are also ads for accounting, note that this one does not even mention time billing and accounting.

There have also been concerted efforts to combat bad publicity. Loretta Rupert, former chief architect of the failed Billing Matters program, is reduced to answering questions on a listserv whose existence used to be studious ignored by LN and most Certified Consultants. We are assured that everything is (or will be) just fine, and if Service Pack 2 for Time Matters 10 did not fix a lot of issues (the Worldox link, for example), these will be addressed in SP 3.

Even mentioning SP 3 raises an interesting question: if Time Matters 11 is to be out this fall (which would be in line with their normal schedule), how do they have time for SP 3? Does that mean that TM 11 will be delayed (gobbling up those Annual Maintenance Plan fees in the meantime)?

But all that is window dressing. Time Matters faces a deeper problem typified by a recent “Technorelease” in Technolawyer by “Seven Second System” a grouping of consulting firms. The main headline says it all: “Can Time Matters really be Easy to Use? — WE DID IT! Plug-ins for Time Matters. No Learning Curve and Transformative Features!” A major problem with Time Matters (and many other software programs – Lexis is not alone in this regard) is what might be termed “checklist features.” These are akin to “paper certifications” for consultants – you have the paper saying you are certified, but do you really know anything in real life? A feature appears on a “checklist” for advertising purposes, but does it really work, or work reasonably? Maybe, maybe not.

This has led to a vibrant cottage industry of programs designed to compensate for the lacunae in Time Matters functionality. These add-ons put Lexis in something of a bind, because often in order to make something work right, you have to modify some of the Time Matters code. Steve Stockstill, formerly the Director of Software Engineering for Time Matters, recently posted a Letter to the Time Matters community highlighting the dilemma: “Having been explicitly told not to modify the Time Matters database, Data Equity is unable to adequately provide two-way database services for our Time Matters add-on products.” The bottom line here is that Lexis is not willing to allow the third party development community to do what is necessary to enable Time Matters to work better. Even if there are obvious problems with letting a third party mess with your code (voiding warranties, unverifiable results, etc.), This is another short sighted position by the LN leadership.
Please click here for the original article.

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have A Celebrity Visit Your Blog!

We write blogs so that people will read them. Many of us also write blogs to promote our businesses. Let's be honest about that. I publish two blogs. This Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog, and another called the California Divorce Blawg. My California Divorce Blawg provides information about California family law. It generates some healthy viewer numbers, and does steer visitors to my law firm's website. I am always looking for ways to boost viewership of my blogs. I have identified a viable tool, that is also proof of the fact that people are enamored with celebrity. Occasionally I will mention a celebrity divorce on the California Divorce Blawg, including putting the full name of the celebrity in the title for the post. When I do put up one of these celebrity posts the number of hits the blog gets go up significantly. I am talking 5x, 10x, 20x increase over an average day. That is a huge jump.

Some have commented that my celebrity posts are out of character given the blog's focus on substantive law. While I respect the criticism, I disagree with it. The real focus of the blog is to attract viewers. If no one is reading what I am writing, why am I doing it? If I have to do a bit of celebrity name dropping every now and then to pull viewers to my blog, I am okay with that. And, I am honest enough to admit that I expect a marketing return from my blogging efforts. That what those readers of my blog are, marketing targets. I want them, I need them, I love them.

What I am trying to says is don't be afraid to be creative when blogging and marketing your practice. Also, don't be afraid to admit that you do market your practice. There is too much false altruism out there. I don't publish my blogs exclusively for the purpose of educating the public. I also blog to market my practice, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Blog Marketing

Is running a blog worth the time? According to Grant Griffiths it is! Grant publishes Blog For Profit. He has recently posted an article supporting blogs as valuable marketing tools.
Marketing With a Blog Generates 67% More Leads For Your Business

One of the topics we discuss here on Blog For Profit in almost every post we do is, how blogging can help a business gain leads and make money. We don’t talk about monetizing and getting rich quick with your blog. We discuss using a blog and social media to market and promote your business.

Here are some of the questions and concerns I get in response:

  • For some, seeing a return on investment (ROI) on their blogging efforts has been a concern.
  • Many of the new business bloggers I talk to wonder if all this work we tell them to do and tell them to expect to do is paying off.
  • They wonder if posting as often as we tell them to is really going to get them results in the search engines.
  • And more important, is all this posting going to generate them business leads.
  • They also ask, will posting so much, adding new, relevant and great content to their blogs truly convert to more leads and money in their pocket.

Recently, HubSpot released the results of a study they have been doing called The State of Inbound Lead Generation.

The study was significant in the fact they looked at 1,400 firms. And the study showed a clear positive relationship between pages indexed by Google and the leads a company generated. Basically, in a nutshell, companies with more indexed pages tend to generate more leads.

To show you what they found, below is a graph which shows an incremental 50 to 100 indexed pages brings double-digit lead growth. Growth in leads accelerates significantly once sites achieve several hundred pages indexed in Google (300+)

inbound_marketing_best_practices.pdf (page 4 of 12)-2.jpg

We could stop right here and our position that you need to be adding content to the web on a daily basis is supported 100%. Based on this graph alone, you can clearly see that businesses which have more pages online see a significant number of leads. And they see a significant advantage over those businesses who have fewer pages online available for Google to index.

Size of the business not a critical factor either

The one argument I know some of you are considering is that larger businesses will, by their very nature have more pages for Google to index. If we lived in a world where the only alternative for a web presence was a huge “static” website with hundreds of pages. If we lived in a world where the only way to get huge number of pages online was to have a giant marketing budget like big businesses, then size would matter. But, the good news is, the size of the business doesn’t and shouldn’t matter at all on the number of pages you can have indexed by Google.

What HubSpot found in their study was that “size is not a critical factor of achieving a significant volume of Google indexed pages”. See the graph below:

inbound_marketing_best_practices.pdf (page 5 of 12).jpg

What can you do to grow your indexed page numbers?

The one key technique that one can take away from this study is you need to build page volume. And one of the best ways for any size business, especially smaller businesses to do this is to start a blog and post to it on a consistent, regular basis.

HubSpot’s study showed a direct relationship between leads generated to using a blog to market and promote your business. Of the businesses in the study, 66% of them had a blog. When they compared the median leads of those businesses with a blog to those without, the study found 67% more leads were generated by the blogging businesses.

inbound_marketing_best_practices.pdf (page 7 of 12).jpg

And if you are still not convinced that you and your business should be blogging, consider the next graph and the size of the blog. In other words the number of blog articles or post.

inbound_marketing_best_practices.pdf (page 8 of 12).jpg

What this chart shows is that leads start to grow once 24-51 articles are written and placed on the blog. And look at the leads generated when a blog has 52+ post on it versus a blog with 24 to 51 post. The higher post count showed 77% higher lead generation than the lower post count. This is a clear indication of two things. One, blogging works to generate leads. And two, the more relevant, great content you post and the more post you have, the more you are indexed by Google and the more leads you will get.

What can a blog do for you?

  • Adding pages/posts to a blog can be done easier and faster on a blog than you can do on a “static” website
  • As a business, you can create your own unique, target specific content. And you can add those keywords you need to be found too.
  • Other bloggers will link to you in their own relevant post which will show Google you have authority in your particular niche or market.
  • Posting to a blog on a regular, consistent basis gives visitors a reason to come back and interact with you and your business.
  • Blogging gives you the tools you need to gain visitors, then readers, then subscribers and build trust with these people and later grow your business.

Over the next week or so, we will be making some announcements about a new program we will be offering to businesses, no matter what size or type of business you are. The program is called Start Blogging Today. Below you will find a sign up where all we ask for is your email address. When you sign up to receive more information about Start Blogging Today, we will give you our free report on blogging for your business. In it, you will find more of the whys and hows of blogging to generate business for your business.

Please click here for the original article.

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.