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, 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.

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

Are You Backing Up Your Outlook Data?

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

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

DissoMaster

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

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.

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

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.


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

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 Standupdesks.com 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!




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

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.

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

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!

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

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!

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

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.

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Please click here for Chuck's original article.

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