Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Top 10 tech trends for 2012

Wanna know what the next great things are going to be in tech? Pete Cashmore is founder and CEO of Mashable, a popular blog about tech news and digital culture. He writes regular columns about social media and tech for Today he prognosticates on the hottest in new tech for the New Year. Bendable tablets, voice commands, more touch computing, it is all here in Pete's entertaining article. Click here to read it!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Designing A Family Law Firm Website

Harding & Associates has had a law firm website since the 1990’s. Initially it was designed, constructed, and maintained in house (that means by me). With time the importance of the website became obvious, and it became vital to the firm’s marketing plan. That importance helped us to realize that the self-help days were gone. We had to turn to a professional site designer.
My first steps in identifying a design firm were simple. I typed “law firm website design” into Google. Pages and pages of listings spewed forth. I then diligently clicked on the listings and viewed the portfolios of the different vendors. I saw sites and features that I definitely liked. I saw sites and features that I definitely disliked. Eventually I settled on a southern California design firm with a substantial portfolio of eye catching law firm sites.

Contact was made with the vendor. Attention was directed to our existing site. I asked for a new web site. A contract was signed, and a few weeks later our new site was live. There was very little input from us, other than specifying that we wanted our logo utilized, and we wanted a color scheme consistent with our logo and branding plan. Our contract with the design firm included web-hosting and a certain quantity of updates each month. These changes would essentially include new content on our News page, and updates to personal bio pages.

The design product that we got was great. The colors were vibrant, the layout was clean, and the site was filled with all of the content that we had written for our previous site. We had a great site that attracted viewers. The positive reviews flowed in! The search engines were finding us. The site was doing what it was supposed to do.

I never grew unhappy with that first professionally designed site. What I did learn is that there is much more to effective web site marketing than just looks. First I learned that content is king. Legal consumers really do turn to the internet for their legal education, and the more information we could give potential clients the better. A website must be able to grow with ever more, fresh, content. Second, I learned that appearances always count. Most self-designed sites are obviously homemade, and their deficiencies become obvious to the web savvy audience. They look cheap, and that hurts your marketing efforts. Third, I learned that change is good. Clean, modern layout and design reflect on the reputation and credibility of the firm. Corporations, universities, professional sports teams all redesign their logos, letterhead, and uniforms for create new buzz. Just like everything else in business, web site designs have a shelf life, and sites do grow stale (as do designers). Fourth, I learned that the ability to perform my own updates to the site, and to make little tweaks and improvements, is imperative. 

As I mentioned, by the contract I had signed, the design company that built the site was also hosting the site and had all of the control over it. Not only was I paying a lot of money for the hosting service, but I was also paying a lot of money for little updates and changes to the site. If I wanted to add a new page, the cost could run into hundreds of dollars. The site had been designed with the vendor’s proprietary software, so even if I could get into the site I would not have been able to change it.

After a few years with our first professionally designed website, I came to appreciate that I wanted more, while paying less. I wanted more control over the site. I did not want to be at the mercy of the design firm. I did not want the significant cost of having to pay the design firm every time I wanted to make a change. With the passage of time that site also began to grow stale. With all of the additional content that we had added, the site began to look cluttered and sloppy. I realized that the News page didn’t really do anything for us. I also realized that the offsite blogs I was publishing were not working in concert with our website. It was time for something new.

I did my homework, and began to learn of the different website publishing platforms. There were plenty to pick from: Dreamweaver, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress. With some the software was impressive, but I would still be tied to the developer. What I wanted was a site that a professional firm would design, but that I could then get into to tweak as I wanted. WordPress kept hitting my radar. CNN, Reuters, Sony, UPS, Volkswagen, EBay all have web sites driven by WordPress. If WordPress could get the job done for them, it could take care of!

Next I went back to Google and started identifying design firms. Again, plenty to choose from. I created a short list of a half dozen, all whom emphasized law firm web site design. A round of telephone interviews began. I quickly sensed a pattern.

One, the law firm specialists all cooked from the same recipe: law firm resume, heavy on the colleges and law schools attended, boring on the color and style. That does not work for a family law firm website. Of course the consumers want to learn about the lawyers. But those descriptions can be delivered in narrative style. Most family law firms have ten lawyers or less. The same type of lawyer roll call listing that appears on the websites for the thousand lawyer firms does not work. Pictures and the lawyer’s family law experience are what sell on a family law website.

Two, because they catered to law firms, and presumably because law firms have more money than they can ever spend, the law firm specialist design firms were way more expensive than other designers that I would eventually come across. Trust me when I say this, just because a design firm specializes in law firms does not mean it is any better than any other design firm. In fact, I began to think it could be a hindrance because what works for a thousand lawyer firm, or a two lawyer criminal defense firm, does not work for a family law firm. Getting away from law firm specialists opens the door to more creativity, and smaller price tags.

Three, the law firm design firms just did not seem all that hungry for my business. Like with my first professionally designed site, it was pretty much “thanks for calling. We will send you a contract. Sign it or forget it. We are the experts. You write the check and then stay out of our way.” The law firm design sites were also in lock-step with the idea that they would host the site, and I would pay them for maintenance and changes. That was an expense that I knew I could avoid, but the law firm designers weren’t budging. I wasn’t feeling the love. It seemed the law firm designers were just overpriced salesman, and not visionaries.

I had an epiphany! How about a design firm that doesn’t specialize in law firms? I broadened my search, and came across scores of talented designers. Another round of interviews, and pouring over portfolios. I started to appreciate that the web designer I wanted to work with should be a salesman, engineer, and artist. Looking at portfolios I also began to appreciate that web designers have their own styles and patterns. Much like certain singers have the same baseline, actors have the same delivery, painters have the same themes, web designers work with the same lines, colors, and looks.

Through diligence and a bit of luck I got in contact with Rodney Warner at Boulder, Colorado based Connective Web Design. From the first phone call it all seemed right. Rodney listened as much as he spoke. He spoke with me, not at me. He was patient, and willing to teach (what a coincidence, all the same things that my legal clients want from me!). The firm’s portfolio was light on law firms, but heavy on other great sites with impressive designs. His clients may not have been companies I had heard of, but that did not mean their sites didn’t have impact. We talked concept, we talked design, we talked process. Working with me, CWD would build the site and get it online. I would host it, and because of WordPress I could manage it and grow it.

Working with Rodney and CWD was great. The work was done in stages. We started with brainstorming. The project then evolved to outlines, and prototypes. Eventually we got to a rough site design, and then took on the heavy work of creating keywords and content, and finalizing the layout. A rhythm developed between designer and client that made the process flow. I was encouraged to ask questions, and make changes to their work. We kept some of the elements from our old site (like our logo and green color scheme), but really rebuilt from the ground up. After a couple of months, a new baby was born. The new went live in December, 2011. It is a dramatic change from our old site. Some visitors might say that it is “simpler” than our old site. That is a misleading first impression. The lines are cleaner. The layout is better. The navigation is easier. These improvements make the site look simpler. I can assure you that the new site is much more sophisticated than its predecessor. All the content is there and more. Plus, it has the room and technology to grow. Our California Divorce Blawg is now part of, rather than a standalone Typepad site. The navigation has new order and forethought. There is much, much, more to this new site. Because it is so well done, it seems more relaxed. A more is less type of effect. Every bit of technology from our old site is there and more, it’s just more subtle and soothing, kind of like Miles Davis rather than the high school marching band. The site is a beauty. But rather than trying to tell you about, I invite you to visit:

More on Rodney and Connective Web Design. Getting away from a law-firm only design firm helped us to think beyond the stale law firm template. We gained insight into broader marketing ideas. For a family law firm that is key. We are not selling to the general counsel for a Fortune 500 company. We are selling to our friends and neighbors who fit into the class of general consumers. That is a much different audience than a huge Wall Street law firm would target. Also, by thinking beyond the law firm bubble Rodney gave us invaluable search engine optimization advice. You don’t have to think like a law firm when making good marketing. Thanks to CWD we were able to get a WordPress site that we can manage, and tweak. If we need help Rodney is available on a consulting basis, but we are not held hostage. We can make the changes we want to make when we want to make them. There is a bit of a programming learning curve, but it hasn’t been overwhelming. By getting away from the Los Angeles, Chicago, New York designer addresses we were also able to find a firm that was willing to compete for our business, and that could be more cost competitive. However, none of that came at the expense of customer service. Finally Rodney set things up so that we host the site through a web hosting vendor, and it costs us $6 per month rather than the hundreds of dollars per month that we had been paying. The service we got from Rodney and CWD far exceeded expectations! They earned my glowing endorsement.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lexis Launches New Research Service

Lexis has launched its new Lexis Advance research service. Following in the wake of Westlaw's innovative Westlaw Next product, Lexis asserts that Advance will transform the way you conduct your research. Its new natural search algorithm and intuitive interface access the LexisNexis® services and open Web content to deliver a comprehensive set of results faster. You can navigate quickly around the site with the new My Workspace carousel, and get key insights into relationships between legal issues with Legal Issue Trail.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OneNote for iPad

OneNote is Microsoft's note taking, and note organization program. Is was created by the Microsoft engineers as part of the tablet computing platform that Bill Gates was promoting at the end of the 1990's and in the early 2000's (yes, that's right there were tablets before the ipad -- think Motion Computing and Toshiba). The OneNote program was innovative, functional, and attractive. Unfortunately, it withered like the aforementioned tablets.

Than came the iPad! Tablet computing was reborn, and so was OneNote. Similar to Penultimate, Notebook, and Evernote, OneNote should been a worthy addition to the App roster.

Early review of the app are mixed. However, the original product was a personal favorite of Gates, and Microsoft spent a lot of money developing the original tablet version. A successful iPad version could help Microsoft crack the vital app market. I am expecting the program will get better, and better. I am going to make the investment.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lawyers Holiday Gift List

Still looking for the perfect lawyer gift? From Greg Pinnington and Reid Trautz offer their lawyer gift list. How about a gas powered blender? Some artwork for the office? A good book? The list is fun and intriguing. Click here for a visit.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

New Wireless Mount and Charger for iPad

Here comes a blatant commercial for a new product. But, it is a really cool product. A wireless charging and mounting system for the iPad!

LaunchPort is a revolutionary a way to mount and charge your iPad, virtually anywhere. The LaunchPort system consists of a PowerShuttle and any number of Stations. A PowerShuttle is a sleeve-style case that fits onto your iPad. A Station is the mount and charging unit that interacts with a PowerShuttle. A system requires a PowerShuttle and a Station.

LaunchPort uses induction which means as soon as a PowerShuttle mounted to a Station, charging begins immediately- without a 30-pin cable or conductive elements. Magnets are used to mount and affix your iPad in its PowerShuttle to a Station. The tabletop BaseStation only uses some of the magnets in the LaunchPort system, making it easier to grab and go. The WallStation uses all magnets in the system for secure and safe mounting. The magnets are located on the PowerShuttle case which means you can also mount it to any metallic surface like a refrigerator or work bench.

LaunchPort changes how you can use your iPad in your home. To learn more about each product, click on the product image below.


AP.2 PowerShuttle Black
For iPad 2 - $149
AP.2 PowerShuttle White
For iPad 2 - $149


Tabletop mount and charger - $199
Wall mount and charger - $199

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Great Tech Blog For Lawyers

During my morning surf I came across a brilliant lawyer focused tech blog. Lawyer Tech Book reviews, software reviews, app reviews, and more. The layout is clean and vibrant. The information is timely and useful. The 12 Gadgets for the Holidays post has all kinds of fun stuff for us lawyers! Bonus: the blog is published in English and Spanish.

Please visit for more information of Harding & Associates Family Law, serving family law clients in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, California.

Monday, November 28, 2011

California Family Law Book Review

Most of the library in our firm is now in electronic format. We only have a couple of actual paper products left. One that is still on the wood shelf is California Family Law Basics, published by the Harriett Buhai Center For Family Law. This is a great, huge, practice based publication. It includes:
  • Comprehensive step by step, line by line comment and instructions for family law forms and procedures
  • Based on experience with thousands of actual cases over 29 years of family law practice
  • Over 1,000 pages, 25 chapters, loose leaf binding, updated annually
  • Extensive sample forms, declarations and pleadings
  • Includes forms, step by step instructions and filled out samples for:
  • Petitions, Response, OSCs judgments, Judicial Council attachments, Motions, Default Requests, UCCJEA, Wage Assignments, Restraining Orders, Pension Joinder, Income and Expense Declarations and much more
Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit The Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law. Please click here for more information or to order the book.
The Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law was founded in 1982 and is a co-sponsored project of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (BWL), the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA). In 1981 due to federal funding cutbacks, the largest legal aid program in LA closed its family law program. Envisioning the impact this action would have on poor women and children, WLALA, under the leadership of Patsy Ostroy, approached BWL, under the leadership of Mablean Ephriam, and invited them to form a joint project offering assistance for low-income persons in Los Angeles County. The “Family Law Project” was born and opened its doors in late 1982 at a location on Central Avenue in South Los Angeles. A fundamental tenet of the Project was self-help; teaching low-income persons to prepare their family law cases and represent themselves in court, with much of the help provided by volunteers. Now common place, at the time it was a revolutionary concept in family law. In 1984 The Family Law Project was re-named the “Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law”. During that time the LA County Bar determined to join the two other pioneering bar associations as a sponsor, resulting from the efforts of Susan Stockel, an early Buhai Board member. In 1985 WLALA and BWL achieved national recognition as recipients of an award from the National Conference of Womens’ Bar Associations for their work establishing the Center, in an historic ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now an icon in family law, the Center is truly the product of untold numbers of persons; its founders, boards, staffs, volunteers, donors and others, working together to successfully create a living and still growing institution dedicated to helping those without means and power. To watch a video of the Center’s history through the words of its earliest supporters, please click here.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bates Numbering Made Easy Acrobat 9

Bates numbering (or "Bates stamping") is an invaluable tool for lawyers. Numerical indexing of discovery documents helps keep track of volumes of documents. Bates numbering of deposition documents helps witness and examiner get on the same page, and makes for a clear record. Bates numbering on trial exhibits makes for easy identification on the record.

Adobe Acrobat has a Bates stamping tool that automates the otherwise laborious task on numbering. However, the actual process of running the tool can be challenging. To the rescue is New Orleans attorney Ernie Svenson. At his PDF For Lawyers Blog Ernie post his Bates Stamping Guide. The guide is specific to Acrobat 9, which is still the most prevalent version on the street. I suspect it won't be long before Ernie has a similar guide for Acrobat X.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

QR Codes Are Good Marketing

Here you see three QR Codes that I utilize in my marketing program. These codes are like the scanner labels that grocery stores use to ring items up at the check stand. With reader software installed on your smart phone, you scan these codes. Depending on how the QR Code is written that scan can open the browser on your smart phone and take you to a specified website; it can bring up a text message on your device; or it can dial a phone number for you; it can open a graphic or photo. . . .

QR Codes are popping up everywhere. They appear in print magazines, in newspapers, on bill boards, on ad panels on subways and buses. If you can see it, it is likely there is a QR Code there to see. I like the technology because it shortcuts the process of getting people to your website, or to see your message. That they have taken the time to click on the code indicates that they are already engaged, and increases the likelihood that they will absorb the content that the code takes them to.

Have some fun, click on my Codes, and see what happens! In my law firm we include these codes on our letterhead, in our blog posts, in our email, etc. Next we will likely have one printed on our business cards (if we can find room on our cards, which are already jammed with content).

Here is a list of QR Code readers. You can also type "QR Code" into the App Store on iTunes for more.

If you would like to create your own QR Codes, here are some free sites for you:

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Mac Lawyers Here's Something For You

Mac Lawyers gathered in Orlando last week for MILOFest, conference for attorneys interested in Macs, iPhones, iPads and anything else bearing an Apple logo. offers a report on the event that includes her summaries of five particularly noteworthy presentations. Please click here for her report.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kindle Fire versus iPad: The Battle Is On!

The new Kindle Fire is gaining momentum as it takes on the iPad. Now from there are 7 reasons to pick the KF over the iPhone:

1. Price
2. Flash enabled
3. USB drive
4. PC format document viewer
5. Prime video
6. Amazon integration
7. Size

Of all of these I especially agree with Flash onboard and Amazon integration. How many websites can I not view on my iPad because they are Flash driven. Also, Apple lost lots of points in my book when it forced Amazon to remove the ability to buy ebooks directly from its app (as a power play to force consumers to buy ebooks directly from Apple).

This is turning out to be a great buying battle!

Click here for the original article.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

AAML Evidence Bootcamp Webinar

As part of its continuing legal education slate the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers will be presenting its Evidence Bootcamp Webinar on December 7, 2011 at 12:00 PM Eastern; 11:00 AM Central; 10:00 AM Mountain; 9:00 AM Pacific. This 90 minute program will provide great training for associates, and will also be the perfect refresher course for seasoned professionals.

The panel includes Anita Ventrelli, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP, Chicago, Illinois and John F. Nichols, Sr., Nichols Law, Houston, Texas. The program moderator is John Harding, Harding & Associates, Pleasanton, California.

More information, including registration, CLICK HERE.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Watch Out iPad, The Kindle Is On Fire!

Holiday shoppers may be swinging over to the Kindle Fire rather than the iPad. From an article on the Boy Genius Report (summarizing a survey be Retrevo) we learn some surprising stats. For example, 12% of those surveyed said they plan to purchase an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet this holiday shopping season, while 10% said they would purchase an iPad. Among those polled who already owned a tablet model of some kind, 27% said they would upgrade to a Kindle Fire and 20% said they planned to purchase an iPad.

Seems like the low cost Fire is intriguing tech shoppers? If anyone out there has a Fire, I would welcome your comments about it. Please click here for the original article.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

8 Ways You Can Save Time With Mindmaps

For those of you who have attended any of the programs where I have spoken on legal technology, you know that I am a HUGE fan of mindmapping. This software technology is an infinitely powerful tool. At the Mindmaping Software Blog Chuck Frey has posted an article that shows you no less than eight ways that mindmapping can make more time for you.

1. Reach clarity faster on key issues
2. Organize and implement projects
3. Problem solving
4. Meeting management
5. Business writing
6. Executive dashboard
7. Decision making
8. Improve collaboration
9. Ad hoc research

Please click here to read Chuck's original article.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

How Clients Make Hiring Decisions

Familiarity, motivation, and trust. These are the three qualities that a prospective client must possess before he or she will hire you. So says legal marketing expert Dave Lorenzo on his Rainmaker Lawyer blog.

1. You must be visible. Writing articles, public speaking, appearing in the media, networking. These activities get you known in your community.

2. There must be a sense of urgency. Potential clients have to be inspired to hire you, either by the time sensitivity of their matter, or by your limited window of availability.

3. Expertise. The prospect must believe you are an expert at what you do. Closely tied to visibility, expertise can be demonstrated through website bios, war stories, referrals from other clients.

Lorenzo also argues that price has very little to do with the decision to hire. If you can establish visibility, urgency, and expertise, most potential clients will look past price.

Please click here to read Dave's original article.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Are You Backing Up Your Outlook Data?

Think about all of the data contained within your Outlook program? All of your contacts. All of your appointments. All of your deadlines. Then think how ominous the task of rebuilding all of that data would be, if there was a crash?

I did think about it recently. It made me nervous. Of course we backup our servers. And my Outlook files are part of that backup. But what if just my computer crashed? I imagined it could be quite frustrating and time consuming to complete a backup of my Outlook files from a server backup. These thoughts caused me to go into my Outlook Help folder and type "backup." The search took me to a link for a product called Safe PST Backup. This is a free Outlook backup tool. I have been running it for a few days now, and I am fairly impressed. It has a clean simple user interface, it is backing up my data at the appointed time, and is doing all it has promised. Also, as I mentioned, it is Free!

Admittedly I have not suffered a data failure, so I have not actually restored from Safe PST Backup, and I am not going to crash my system so that I can try it out! However, I do feel safer with this new tool in place.

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Are You Backing Up Your Outlook Data?

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

DissoMaster App For iPad

Here in California we have a very long ,very complicated mathematical formula for calculating child support (which has been codified at Family Code Section 4055). To make life easier computer programs have been created to perform the child support calculation. There are three main programs: Dissomaster, SupporTax, and XSpouse (the programs can also be utilized to calculate temporary spousal support).

Thomson Reuters West, the publisher of Dissomaster, has just released a Dissomaster app for the iPad. I have not run it, but I have checked it out at the iTunes App Store. Looks OK to me, but at $49.99 the price is eye popping! Mind you these are the same folks that are charging $54.99 for their Black's Law Dictionary app. I announce these apps as a public service to my fellow lawyers, even though it is clear that the publisher is sticking it to us on the pricesPlease visit for more information of Harding & Associates Family Law


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are You Making Maximum Use Of Microsoft Office?

We use Microsoft Office in our practice -- what else is there? I must confess that I am sure the various components (Word, Excel, Powerpoint. . .) can do a lot more than I ask them to. For me looking past the first circle of the programs just hasn't happened. Perhaps that should change. I came across an interesting article by Deborah Savadra at the Attorneysatwork blog that got me thinking. For example, I did not know you can customize the status bar to track changes? I did not know that you can import WordPerfect formatting tools? I did not know there are autocalc formulas in Excel other than autosum? If you would like to see Office is a better light check out Deborah's article.

Please click here to read the original article.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Realignment Of Alameda County Family Law Departments

I appeared at the Alameda County, Hayward Hall of Justice today. There was a huge line to get through security. Three different "out of town" lawyers asked me what the deal was? Here is the answer.

Licensed attorneys can only bypass the metal detectors at Alameda County Courthouses if they have an "attorney security pass" issued by the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. Issuance of a pass requires an application to the Sheriff, successful completion of a background check, payment of a fee to the Sheriff, and a personal appearance at the San Leandro substation so your mugshot can be taken, and printed to your security pass.

Unlike many other counties, presentation of your driver's license and bar card will not get you through security.

More information for those unfamiliar with Alameda County: Because of the budget crisis in California the Alameda County Superior Court has elected to close the family law department at the Pleasanton Courthouse. All further court hearings in matters previously venued in Pleasanton will be conducted in Department 503 at the Hayward Hall of Justice located 24405 Amador Street, Hayward, California.

All litigants living in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and Sunol will now file their family law cases at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

The Hayward Hall of Justice now becomes one of only two Alameda County courthouses hearing family law cases (the other is in Alameda). Many other cases (including all general civil cases from the Pleasanton and Fremont courthouses) have been transferred to the Hayward Hall of Justice. Unfortunately there is no additional money for the extra security required, so the building will continue to operate with just one metal detector. The line to get through security can stretch around the block. It is suggested that you get in line no later than 8:30 a.m. to have any hope of being in the actual courtroom by 9:00 a.m. If you want to play it safe, getting in line by 8 or 8:15 would be even better.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Organic Web Marketing Strategies For Lawyers

Ever heard of "organic web strategy"? Me neither. At least not until today when I came across an article at JD Supra entitled "Organic Web Strategy For Lawyers." I consider myself green, and I like organic so the title caught my attention.

I am still unclear what "organic" means in light of this article, but the article does highlight some very important considerations to keep in mind when developing an internet marketing strategy and plan. Please click here for a very helpful read.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Stand Up Desk

I have used a stand up desk for years. It gets me on my feet, keeps me moving, and makes me feel better. I like standing up while I work. I am not doing it 8 hours a day, but I do spend the majority of my time vertical rather than seated. Some would argue there are health benefits to using a stand up.

My original stand up desk was a white laminate, Ikea style fold out model that is bolted to my office wall. You can see it to the right.

With time I have learned that while functional, this model has its limitations. It is not sturdy enough for me to lean on, and not wide enough to accommodate my needs.

Those woes are now a thing of the past thanks to my new stand up desk that arrived today. She's a beauty. Solid, cherry stained oak. Brass fixtures. An inlaid leather writing stand. 5 1/2 feet wide. Sublime. Thanks to for the delivery. Plus I have named her "Jenny" after my paralegal Jennifer, which I am sure will earn me more Boss of the Year points!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

How Can Twitter Help Your Business?

Social Media Examiner has a great article on twitter for business, including a video.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:

  • A few favorite Twitter tools to check out (CoTweet, HootSuite, MediaFunnel)
  • Advice to succeed on Twitter: Be useful. Listen, learn, care and serve
  • Which company uses TwitGift to send chocolate-chip cookies and why
  • How Twitter can help you make the online-offline connection with your audience
  • How FastFollow helps you interact with a mass audience
Please click here for the article.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time To Update Your Apple Devices

If all goes as planned today (Wednesday) is the release date for Apple's iOS 5 operating system. All you iPod, iPad, and iPhone owners will first need to update your iTunes software to version 10.5, then you can update your devices. There are lots of great new features:
  • iTunes in the Cloud. iTunes now stores your music and TV purchases in iCloud and makes them available on your devices anywhere, any time, at no additional cost.
    • Automatic Downloads. Purchase music from any device or computer and automatically download a copy to your Mac and iOS devices.
    • Download Previous Purchases. Download your past music, TV, app, and book purchases again, at no additional cost. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer on the iTunes Store.
  • Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5.
  • Wi-Fi Syncing. Automatically sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes any time they’re both on the same Wi-Fi network.
Step 1, launch your iTunes and check for updates. Step 2, connect your devices to iTunes and install the iOS 5 upgrade. Good luck!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

facebook for iPad

The facebook app for iPad has arrived. I guess that's a good thing?

Click here to go to iTunes and get your copy before they run out!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Projectors In The Courtroom

As courtroom technology goes, I think family law is a bit behind the curve. Ours is still, pretty much, a black ink on white paper art. That's a shame, because there are better ways to present evidence. Methods that make it much easier for the judge to understand what is going on and therefrom to make the right decision.

On a couple of occasions I have taken a projector and screen into court to present evidence at trial. Each time I have done it, it has proven to be a great success. It is time this method becomes more prevalent in our family law trial practices.

At The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg Ted Brooks has a great primer on courtroom projectors, screens, and monitors. Please click here to read a great article!

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How About A Home Office In Your Backyard?

A home office can be a great thing. However, for some of us extra discipline is required to get work done given the distractions of the refrigerator, the kids, the television, etc. Well, how about a nice little studio office in your backyard?

This is fun stuff! Thanks to Chuck Newton, at his Chuck Newton Rides The Third Wave blog for the story:

I continue to get throw back from attorneys that they do not have the space or privacy in their homes to have a home office or practice. My question is often, do you have a yard? Even a small yard will do. If so, then add a small studio office. I have posted examples before, but here is an example from Sett Studio in Austin, Texas.

These home offices range in size from about 97 to 192 square feet, they are energy-efficient and cost between $20,000 – $30,000. Construction takes about 45 days and installation is finished in a couple days. Transportation costs between $500-$3,000 depending on where the studio is being shipped. Typically permits are not necessary given the size of the building.








Please click here for Chuck's original article.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Look at Amazon's New Tablet

The specs are coming out for Amazon's upcoming Kindle Fire tablet. $199 price point. 7 inch color screen. Android operating system. Wi-fi.

The Kindle name and that $199 price will make the difference as this new product takes on the iPad. Although the seven inch screen sounds a bit small to me. The actual launch is set for November.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

iPad's Data Connection

I still love my iPad! However, my definition of love is changing with the passage of time. When I bought mine I paid the extra money for the wireless/cellular data modem. I then started paying $25 per month for an AT&T data connection. With the passage of time I have learned that neither choice was necessary.

95% of my iPad time is at the office or at home. I have wifi at both locations, and that is how I go online with my iPad. The data transmissions are fast and reliable. On those occasions when I am "on the road" I can usually find free wifi. Plus the AT&T data connection is very slow. Even on 3G the idea of file sharing is impractical. All the iPad is good for is internet surfing, and that requires patience.

In hindsight I would save the money, and go with the wifi only.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Is Virtual Lawyering?

For at least 15 years I have been touting the benefits of telecommuting. I go back to the days of telephone modems! Logging on to the office computer and getting work done without actually being in the office. Making calls from the house, with the person on the other end assuming I am at the office. Working in my sweats. All good stuff. Of late I have been overwhelmed with chatter about the virtual law office, and virtual lawyering. It is has been a particularly hot topic in the area of family law. Is it different from what I do from home? I'm thinking not.

Jay Fleischman is a bankruptcy attorney. He is also a techie and a marketing consultant. For years he has been writing on technology in the practice of law, including what I call telecommuting. He also has a home office that he practices from most of the time (I believe the picture above is his setup). On his Legal Practice Pro blog he has a great article on working remotely, virtual lawyering, whatever you want to call it. The importance of the article is that it explains the technology option available to you.

Please click here for Jay's latest thoughts on telecommuting/home office/virtual/elawyering.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Windows 8 -- Already?

Apparently revenues are too far down at Microsoft. With Window 7 just starting to hit its stride, Microsoft is not starting the spin for its release of Windows 8.

My opinion: Buyer beware! The previews for 8 suggest a radical redesign from 7, which is never a good thing coming from Microsoft. Compels me to think of the company's speedy release of Vista, as a replacement for Windows XP.

As you may recall, XP was (and is) a relatively stable and useful operating system. In fact it is still in wide use. Then came Vista. An absolute piece of junk. Not properly written. Not properly tested. Definitely not ready for prime time. Fortunately M released Windows 7, and order was restored.

Now comes Windows 8. Lots of shiny, new graphics. Touch pad capability. "Revolutionary" new features. Hmmnn. Sounds a lot like Vista.... However, in the spirit of full disclosure I direct your attention to a sneak peek preview of 8 from How To You can read about all of the great stuff Microsoft is promising, like:
  • Metro Interface – the new default interface in Windows 8, keep reading for everything about this.
  • Faster Boot Times – Windows 8 will boot much faster than Windows 7, thanks to a partial hibernation mode and a lot of improvements in the loading process. On my old Dell laptop, it boots in less than 10 seconds – on new machines, it’s crazy fast.
  • Less Memory Usage than Windows 7. That’s right. Microsoft is saying that not only will this version use less RAM than Win7, it also uses less running processes.
  • Windows Explorer overhauled, now has the Ribbon UI, Revamped File Copying, and ISO mounting.
  • In-Place PC Refresh will reload Windows in just a couple of clicks, keeping your files intact.
  • ARM processors are now supported, which will lead to an entirely new class of low-power, battery-efficient tablets.
  • Hyper-V is now part of Windows – so now you can create virtual machines easily without installing anything extra.
  • Taskbar can now span multiple monitors – this very simple feature has finally made it into Windows.
  • Wallpaper can now span multiple monitors – yet another feature that should have been around 10 years ago.
  • Universal Spell Check across Metro applications.
  • Windows Live Integration for Sync, Mail, Skydrive lets you sync all your settings across your PCs, including your files, mail, and photos. The sync is available in the preview, but the Skydrive and Mail are not yet.
  • Windows Store will let you purchase Windows apps all in a single place.
  • New Task Manager is completely revamped with much better tools, including a way to disable startup applications, track application resource usage over time, and even easily restart Windows Explorer.
Please click here to read the entire review.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thoughts On Charging A Consultation Fee

When I first started practicing law I offered free consultations. I thought I had to? I needed clients, and free consultations got people in the door. With time I began to realize that I was spending a lot of time giving out free advice. My hire rate from those free consultations was maybe ten to twenty percent. Most of those visits were from people who came right out and said something along the lines of: "I have no intention of hiring a lawyer, but I do want you to tell me how to do my own divorce."

With time I gained confidence, and began charging a consultation fee. At $250 it is still a bargain, but it compensates me for some of my time, and filters out most of the brain pickers (see above).

At her Legal Ease Blog Allison Shields offers her thoughts on consultation fees, and agrees that consultation fees are good practice. It is a good read. Click here for the original article.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GREAT Blog For Learning About Social Media

Social media: facebook, twitter, LinkedIn. It's all the rage in marketing circles. Some people get it. Most people don't. I was randomly surfing the web when I came across a fantastic blog that teaches about social media. Social Media Examiner is a commercial site, no doubt about it. It is also a visually stunning repository of invaluable learning tools on social media. I have been viewing it fastidiously, and am very impressed. There are tutorial, case studies, videos . . . .

I've read books on the stuff, I have read internet articles galore, I have stacks of magazines with articles on social media. While all valuable information, none of it is any more digestible or relevant that the information on Social Media Examiner. Check it out! And no, this is not a paid celebrity endorsement, i just think it is a great blog.

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P.S. Save the rants. I know I used all caps in the title to this post. No need to send comments explaining such typing is a faux pas. I want you to know about the SME blog. I am yelling. If the caps got your attention, mission accomplished!

Amazon Tablet Coming

I am one of those folks who believes the Amazon Kindle woke people up to the convenience of the tablet platform. I bought one before I got my iPad, and my rapture with the Kindle encouraged me to spend the money on an iPad. The Kindle was forward thinking: light, easy to use, good battery life, clear (albeit black and white) screen. The technology was breathtaking.

Now Amazon is leaking the details of its forthcoming tablet -- which could assume the mantle of second best behind the iPad. The AndroidGuys blog gives us a nice sneak peek:
  • The tablet will feature a 7-inch display and will be called the “Amazon Kindle”.
  • It runs Android but there's no sign of anything Google. No Android Market, no Maps, no Gmail.
  • Form factor closely resembles the BlackBerry PlayBook.
  • This will be the first Kindle with a full-color, back-lit display.
  • Amazon is targeting the end of November for this tablet with a second, 10-inch model for Q1 or Q2 of 2012.
  • The 7-inch Kindle tablet should run $250, same price as NOOK Color.
  • The user interface is "black, dark blue, and a bunch of orange". Look at the splash screen for Amazon Kindle app and you'll see.The tablet features a number of Amazon services (Cloud Player, Kindle app, Instant Video, Amazon Appstore for Android, etc)
  • There is no camera and the device lacks physical buttons.
Click here to read the entire preview report.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ethics Webinar

AAML WEBINAR: Ethical Pitfalls in the Initial Client Interview September 14th 12:00 EST

Lawyers have ethical obligations to ensure that clients can make informed decisions to proposed courses of action. Many of our clients come to us in crisis and an impaired state. The intersection between that emotional volatility, ethical obligations placed on attorneys by the Rules of Processional Conduct, and the range of available process options creates a minefield for lawyers conducting the initial client interview. AAML Fellows David Fink (Northern California chapter) and Mark Weiss (Washington State chapter) with Moderator Mary Pence (Maryland chapter) will lay out a road map for successfully navigating that minefield.

Click here for more info.

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Solo nets Supreme Court win!

I know this has nothing to do with technology, but I think it is pretty cool. Andrew Simpson is a sole practitioner in the U.S. Virgin Is...