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!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Family Law Trial Evidence Handbook

Chicago family law lawyer Steve Peskind has a new book out.  The Family Law Trial Evidence Handbook: Rules and Procedures for Effective Advocacy is published by the American Bar Association.  Unfortunately I don't rate high enough to get a courtesy copy to review but I can assure you of this, if it is written by Steve and published by the family law section of the ABA, it is a top notch book.

As Steve explains:

I wrote this book as a true trial handbook: a quick counsel table reference for matrimonial trial lawyers. The goal of the book is "how to get it in and how to keep it out." While the book relies mainly on the Federal Rules of Evidence, many states (including Illinois) follow them closely if not exactly. 
The topics I cover in the book include:
Chapter 1    Trial Process and Procedure
Chapter 2    The Fundamentals of Evidence
Chapter 3    Relevance
Chapter 4    Evidence of Character and Habit
Chapter 5    Other Miscellaneous Relevancy Issues
Chapter 6    Hearsay
Chapter 7    Hearsay Exceptions
Chapter 8    Judicial Notice and Presumptions
Chapter 9    Authentication of Writings and Other Tangible Evidence
Chapter 10  Original Writing Rule and Rule of Completeness
Chapter 11  Competency of Witnesses
Chapter 12  Evidentiary Privileges
Chapter 13  Expert Witnesses
Chapter 14  Examination of Witnesses
Chapter 15  Tendering Exhibits, Objections, and Offers of Proof
Chapter 16  Procedures for Streamlining Admission of Evidence
Helpful information includes the procedure to admit social media, such as Facebook pages, websites and other digital evidence.

Check it out by clicking here.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Don't Answer The Phone

We don't have a live human being serving as the telephone receptionist at Harding & Associates Family Law.  Instead we have a very fancy, very useful voip telephone system.  When someone calls our office the phone system walks them through the phone tree to their desired extension.  If that extension is mine the caller is most likely going straight to my voice mail -- by design.

Busy family law lawyers know there are rarely enough hours in the day.  Client meetings, court appearances, document and discovery work, legal research and analysis.  Effective time management is critical.  So is focus.  If I am opening the mail, checking my email, drafting interrogatories, and answering my phone simultaneously I am not managing my time effectively, and I am not focusing on one task.

Our work takes concentration.  Ours is an intellectual craft.  Going thin compromises the required focus.  When I am in the office, four times per day (roughly 8 a.m., 11:00 a.m. , 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.) I check my voicemail.  All messages left by 4 p.m. (2 p.m. on Fridays) are returned the same day (unless I am on vacation).  If I am away for some extended period of time my paralegal will retrieve my voice mails throughout the day and get back to the caller.

This process is explained to our clients when they hire us.  They know what to expect, they know why we are doing it.  They know their calls will be returned.  This lessens their anxiety and frustration, and the headaches for all of us.  In fact many clients acknowledge the soundness of the policy when it is explained to them.

You might ask what about the potential new client calling us?  I have found it is not a problem.  The majority of our new clients comes to us by way of referral.  They already know I am busy.  In this day and age most are not expecting to have any call answered live, and they always leave a message when sent to my voice mail.  Those new callers who have a  "emergency" are rarely going to be a suitable fit for our practice, particularly when we quote a consultation fee, so that is not an issue.

There is one more benefit to our process, it is wonderful for filtering out sales people and telemarketers!

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

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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Phone Dock for Your iPhone/iPad

Here's something fun from ShoreTel, a dock to turn your iPhone or iPad into a desktop telephone.

According to the ShoreTel website:
The ShoreTel Dock is the first and only business-grade device that transforms the Apple® iPad® and iPhone® into desk phones for the mobile generation. It fuses together what users like about their desk phones with the convenience of their mobile devices. It is designed from the ground up to support both the iPhone and iPad and includes an articulating arm that allows users to rotate their iPad into landscape orientation if desired. It is designed to support both Bluetooth connectivity and direct connectivity through the Apple 30-pin connector to deliver the best audio quality possible while charging the mobile device.
Rumored to be available 3rd quarter of 2013. Now the ouch, street price is rumored to be $350.  Fun?  Yes.  $350?  No way.

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

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Do You Know About Google Scholar?

I am a fan of Google.  Regardless of what the critics say, I think the company tries harder.  They are innovators, and in my opinion they like us lawyers.  Take Google Scholar as an example.  It is a wonderful tool for legal professionals.  Through the Scholar portal you can have access to California case law, legal articles, and so much more.  The interface is clean and easy to use, and its free!



Let me give you a taste. . . Here's the opening screen for Scholar, with the California Courts option selected.  Next we type in "marriage of feldman" Then hit the blue search button.



The hits come up, including the famous Feldman decision.


Click on the case, and voila' there it is.


Pretty slick!

Let's try something different.  Say we want to spend a bit of leisure time refreshing our knowledge on california spousal support.  Simply go to the Scholar home screen, click the "Legal documents" button, and the type "california spousal support" into the search bar.  Then hit the search button.


By clicking on the Articles link we get a great listing of scholarly articles.


We'll pick the first one, and up comes a very informative article from the Pepperdine Law Review.




How handy is that!

There is much, much more to Scholar.  The best way to learn it to visit and play on the site.  Take a look, I am sure you will be glad you did.  Click here to go to Google Scholar.

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

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

Friday, May 3, 2013

Saving Emails in Outlook as PDFs

Did you know that Outlook and Adobe play nice together?  Did you know that with a couple of clicks in Outlook you can convert an email message into a pdf document?  You can.  Thanks go out to Jim Calloway for sharing this simple and productive technique with us on his Law Practice Tips Blog.  With the Acrobat Addin enabled in Outlook all you have to do is open the Adobe pull down menu and select convert!  Simple as that.



Please click here for Jim's original blog post.  Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

#outlook #adobe #acrobat #emailpdf #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cleaning Up The Mess In Your Briefcase


My briefcase is my mobile office.  In the beginning, in the 1980s, the contents checklist was pretty simple:  legal pad, 3 in 1 codes book, case file, calendar book, extra pens, stack of business cards.  Eventually the list expanded, and the case grew bigger.  Laptop computer.  Power cord.  Cell phone.  Calculator.  The load got so big and bulky that I started using a small piece of luggage with wheels and a long handle.

Then it began to shrink.  Laptop was replaced by iPad.  Paper books became apps on the iPad.  The calendar became an app.  Half the time notes were taken on the iPad rather than a legal pad.  Still, little things got thrown in to create a cluttered mess.  Headset for the cell phone.  Power cord for the Apple devices.  Dongle to connect devices to projectors.  Ear buds.  Pens, pointers, and stylus.  Credit card swiper. . . .

What to do to eliminate that pregnant lump of junk?  Zip lock bags worked for a while.  Then I went with zippered nylon mesh pouches.  There was containment, but cords got tangled, and the stuff still floated around in disarray within the pouch.  Looking for solutions I did what I always do, I started surfing the web and soon enough my problem was solved.  I found the website for Cocoon, and its Grid-It products.  Essentially a board with a weave of elastic loops the Grid-It can be manipulated to hold all my stuff in place.  In sight and out of mind.  The Grit-It slips into the slimmer briefcase that I carry rather than roll.  I can find everything.  My cords are not in knots.

I am still, probably, carrying more stuff than I really need.  Then again, being truly mobile means having something when I need it.  I am getting pretty close to reaching the medium between luxury and necessity.

Click here to check out the entire Grid-It product line from Cocoon.

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

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