Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cloud Computing? What's That?

The Cloud is hot these days.  Everything is moving to the cloud.  OK, fine.  But what is cloud computing? Software vendor MyCase has created a slide show to help explain this booming technology. Of course the slide show is a marketing tool for the MyCase software. Nonetheless, it is well done, and helps to understand the cloud so I am willing to extend the marketing advantage to MyCase in exchange for the education provided by the slide show.

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

Go Away And They Will Come

Last week things were dead around the office.  I got maybe five pieces of mail all week, and it was all junk mail.  The phone was not ringing.  The email box was empty.  I could have taken the week off and gone fishing.  Monday of this week I left town to move my son into his freshman dorm at college (Go Syracuse!). We had a great time, even though my son was constantly thumb glued to his iPhone and iPad.

It's Friday morning and I am now back in the office.  Surprise, surprise I have more than 50 messages in my email box.  There are a dozen voice mail messages waiting for me. I have so much mail I cannot see my desk.  I have a stack of exhibits dropped off by a client.  Two new motions were sent to me while I was away. Where was all this stuff last week?

I have a personal policy of turning off the office when I go away.  Unlike my son, I did not need to be connected 24/7.  I did Skype my paralegal yesterday, but that was because I was sitting at the airport for a four hour layover, and I was bored out of my gourd.  I am not one of those workaholics who takes the office on vacation.  Still, my experience this morning demonstrates how important it is to have a system in place for when you are away from the office.  All of this activity cannot be ignored.  Systems are the key.

I am fortunate enough to have a very talented paralegal working with me.  When I am away she checks my voice mail for me.  She opens, reviews, and runs the snail mail through the scanner.  If a problem arises she can get in touch with me, and we deal with it.  She knows that it has to be a real emergency!

What if you are not as fortunate as me, and you don't have an assistant you can rely upon?  Can you still survive?  Yes you can.

1.   Get the word out.  This is really the most important thing you can do.  In advance of your trip let your clients and your opposing counsel know that you will be away.  They will understand, and they will appreciate knowing in advance why you will not be available.

2.   Set your email auto responder.  More and more, email is becoming the default communications channel. Program an auto responder in your email program so that each message coming into your inbox gets an automated response letting the sender know that you will be away from the office.  Don't go to the trouble of being too specific.  Bad guys and girls don't need to know that you will be traveling to Australia for the next two weeks and your house will be sitting empty for them to burgle.  I still check my email once a day while I am away as a troubleshooting technique.  Rarely if ever do I come across something that cannot hold until my return to the office.

3.   Change your voice mail message.  Create a specific voice mail message letting callers know that you will be away from the office.  Again, don't go to the trouble of being too specific.  Bad guys and girls don't need to know that you will be traveling to Australia for the next two weeks and your house will be sitting empty for them to burgle.

4.   If your jurisdiction recognizes such a tool, send out notices of unavailability of counsel to create a formal record of your unavailability.

5.   The snail mail will be an issue.  You cannot have a stranger open while you are away because of confidentiality issues.  It may just have to sit there until your return.  Alternatively, you can hire a friend, a retired legal secretary, or a trusted someone looking for a little extra cash to come in to your office and open the mail.  Then they can send you an email summarizing what they see.  If you share office space, and the other attorney has a secretary, ask that person to go through the mail.  Make sure you have that the person you have going through your mail signs a confidentiality agreement, and make sure you have explained the importance of confidentiality to him or her.

6.   Find a cover lawyer.  Make arrangements with one of your buddies to be on stand by just in case.  All of us lawyers love our time away.  Covering for one another is part of the collegiality of the profession.  Just make sure that the person you call upon is not presently opposing you in any cases -- that could create conflict of interest problems.  If you encounter the rare instance of needing to make an emergency court appearance, or an ex parte application has to be responded to, you will be covered.  A point of order. Assure that friend/lawyer in advance that you are not expecting charity work, and that he or she will be fully compensated for any coverage work done on your behalf.  Even if you have to pay for that work out of your own pocket, do it.  It is only fair, and it will facilitate future repeat performances.

7.  Go on your trip, and enjoy yourself.  You deserved, and you need the break.  Your clients and your cases will be okay while you are away.

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

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Don't Rush To Install Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 will soon hit the street.  Take my advice people, don't be in a rush to install it.  Remember John's new software mantra:  Software companies generate revenue by selling product.  New revenue is generated by new products.  To maximize revenue software companies must release new products, whether the product is ready to be released or not.

Microsoft is the master of selling premature software. Remember Vista?  Still regretting installing ME? When Microsoft's revenues go soft, they release a new version of Windows.  Usually the first release is buggier than an ant larvae sandwich, and has more holes than a sponge.

Microsoft marketed 8.0 as revolutionary.  Just as it had marketed every preceding generation of Windows product.  Most of us bought into the hype -- as we always do -- because we are ever optimistic that dreams will come true. . . When people actually started using 8.0, it proved be to be no big deal.  It did prove to be buggy and unstable.  Windows 8.1 is simply the patch for all of the problems that have so far been identified in 8.0.  8.1 is the version that should have been released first.  Instead, as is Microsoft practice, 8.0 hit the street and Microsoft then let the paying customer do the beta testing.  Enough problems have been identified to release 8.1, but it too will be buggy, and crashy.  It will be better than 8.0, but far from perfect.  Let the person to your left and the person to your right do the beta testing of 8.1 for a few months.  The service pack for 8.1 will then be released, and at that point you should be able to install a relatively stable product.

The only thing you have to watch out for is the possibility of Microsoft puling a switch-a-roo, and starting to charge for the 8.1x upgrade.  That I cannot help you with.

If you are running Windows 7, stay with it.  Let at least a couple of month pass so that Microsoft can de-bug 8.1 before you consider paying for the upgrade.  Better yet, wait for the next generation Windows product. Again, in my opinion, Microsoft has an alternating momentum pattern.  Think back:  Windows 95, not so good. Windows 98, a big improvement.  Windows ME, garbage.  Windows XP, good stuff. Vista, garbage. Windows 7, not bad.  Windows 8, let's wait for the next big release.  See the alternating pattern?

Windows is going to force 7.0 users to upgrade when it eventually stops supporting 7.0.  That is when I will upgrade.  I see nothing in 8.0, or 8.1 that I really need.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Social Media Risk Management Toolkit

Wanting to learn more about social media? Wanting to know what you need to do to prudently engage in social media as part of your law practice marketing?  The good folks at NAVEX Global and JD Supra are here for you.  They have published on online social media risk management toolkit.

Sage advice within this 32 page guide includes policy defining, goal setting, identifying risk, implementation, and much more.  The toolkit is packed with info and certainly work a look to ensure that you are ethically and professionally engaging in social media.  Please click here for a look.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Friday, August 2, 2013

Readdle Is Holding A Sale!

Readdle is a great application developer.  I love their stuff.  Today, Readdle apps are also on sale. To celebrate its 6th Anniversary Readdle is offering up to a 70% discount on many of its apps. Click here for the details, and to go shopping.

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Devices Going Big and the iPad Suit - Is that A Tablet In Your Pocket?

BGR, in part quoting The Wall Street Journal, says Apple is specking out a bigger smartphone screen and a 13 inch iPad screen.  These developments would appear to fall in line with the bigger is better trend hitting the mobile device world.  "Phablet" is the new buzz word in mobile devices. The combination device is intended to give tablet users a screen they can read without a magnifying glass, and a device that they call simultaneously call on.  Samsung has plans to roll out a new phablet design of its own, as does LG. Other developers will clearly follow the lead of these mobile titans.

The phablet is a hard call for me.  With middle age I now must resort to my cheater reading glasses more often. That makes using my iPhone more challenging.  At the same time, I cannot envision dropping my iPad in my pocket, as I do with my iPhone.  I could see using a phablet with a Bluetooth headset, but I cannot imagine walking around town with it pressed against my ear.  For the time being it looks like I will continue to be a two device guy.

Regarding that pocket problem I mentioned, there is a solution.  The iPad suit!  Yes, that's right. For the gentleman who wants everything there is now a bespoke tailored suit that includes a large interior pocket in the coat for the discreet storage of your tablet.  Fun stuff!

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#phablet #ipadsuit #mohans #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Charging For The Initial Consulation

Almost two years ago I wrote about my practice of charging for an initial consultation -- and how the decision to do so was a very positive change for my practice.  I still do charge for the initial consultation and it has only improved my practice. I also continue to chat with other lawyers about how they handle consultations. Most lawyers that I consider top shelf do charge for consultations, but how much and what they do during the consultation is still quite varied.

Ed Poll is  law practice consultant.  He publishes an excellent blog called Law Biz Blog.  He has recently posted a videocast detailing his thoughts on charging for an initial consultation (and yes, he does think we should charge for it).  Click here to view Ed's thoughts.

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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...