Friday, October 25, 2013

How About A Pod For You. Creative Shared Office Space For Lawyers.

Office space is expensive.  Renting more space than you need is wasteful.  Establishing satellite or virtual offices can be challenging.  Being a solo working in isolation can be lonely.  A new start up in South San Francisco is trying to meet and beat all these challenges. Thirty33 Legal Suites offers each attorney their own space, they call it a Pod, in a lawyer shared environment.

What is a pod you ask?  Good question.  It is not a cubicle.  It could be considered something more, or something less?  Taking a pointer from the new entrepreneur and start-up incubators popping up all over the place, Thirty33 will rent you a desk, chair, and file cabinet in an open floor plan space.  You get your own not so private space in a larger room shared with other attorneys and their own sort of not so private spaces.  Initially that does not sound so great.  Let me show you an illustration to make it better:

In addition Thirty33 will provide its tenants with a reception area and receptionist present when conferences are scheduled to make sure that all your clients needs are met. Each Pod has a dedicated phone number and the ability to have all calls routed through reception to ensure easy and professional client interactions.  Fiberoptic internet runs to the building, providing for fast and secure internet connection for all attorneys, with wifi and cat6 cables.  There is a dedicated fax machine on the premises to receive all incoming and outgoing faxes 7 days a week 24 hours a day.  Each attorney will have access to their own secure storage that can be locked so that clients can be ensured that their information will be kept private and confidential.  Thirty33 Legal Suites comes equipped with a state of the art multifunction printer that provides color copies and scanning capabilities. Unlimited copies are included in the monthly rent.  Each attorney will be able to provide a business address for all incoming and outgoing mail during regular business hours. Each pod comes with a dedicated parking spot. In addition, clients have access to guest parking making it easy to get to and from their meetings.

Thirty33 also comes with a conference room with capacity for 8 people (use included in the monthly rent, subject to availability).

All of this comes at a price of $750 per month which does not seem all that bad to me, particularly if you are a young lawyer just starting out, or looking for opportunities to collaborate with other lawyers, and cross-refer.

This is innovative thinking and a pioneering concept in the legal profession.  I like it!  I am a bit concerned with client privacy (talking on the phone really sticks out), but not overly so.  That Thirty33 Legal Suites is dedicated to lawyers is great.  The services and amenities appear generous. If the actual product delivers on the sales hype I could see these pods really catching on.

Click her to visit the Pods.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Big Screen TV In My Office

As I wrote earlier, I have installed a 55 inch flat screen television in my office, and I have connected it to my computer.  The results have been better than anticipated.  I use the screen during meetings with my clients.  We review documents on the big screen.  I put our child/spousal support software on the big screen so the client and I can go over the numbers together.  We do the same with property division software and Excel spreadsheets.  I can go over case calendars with the client by showing those calendars on the big screen.  The big screen is great for exhibit review and trial prep by myself, and with the client.  This is compared to our previous process of swiveling my much smaller PC monitor on its stand so the client could see it; or of printing two copies of everything so the client and I could spread everything out on my desk and go over it.

The flat screen makes everything bigger and easier to view.  Being able to use my cursor makes it easier to direct attention to particular content.  It is also more economical and green than printing everything out (yes, over time I do believe there will be a carbon footprint savings).

Prices have, and will continue, to drop dramatically on large, flat screen televisions.  Heck only a few months down the road I can now get a 62" or 70" set for the same price that I paid for the 55".  That is relevant, as experience tells me that you should go with the biggest screen your budget allows.  In my office the client and I sit about ten feet away from the screen.  At that distance 55" is the minimum screen size that will allow comfortable viewing.  Any smaller or farther away and eye strain becomes an issue.

I definitely recommend such a set-up!

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Working The Room

Do you invest your valuable time going to Chamber of Commerce, Bar Association, Rotary, Trade Group, and other professional meetings?  Are you going to those meetings for the purpose of marketing your law practice, and to create new business for yourself?  If you answer these questions yes, then I have a toolkit for you with advice to make sure you are fully marketing yourself.  Sally Schmidt is President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., which offers marketing services to law firms.  She has written a great article for the Attorney@work blog with her three golden rules for any marketing activity.

According to Sally marketing success is driven by:
1. Preparation: What is your objective — i.e., why are you doing what you’re doing? What do you hope to accomplish? How can you get ready to take ultimate advantage of the opportunity?
2. Execution: How can you implement the activity so it works to your advantage? How can you present the best possible version of yourself?
3. Follow-up: What can you do once the activity is over? With whom can you follow up? How can you leverage the activity into other things?
Her article is filled with sage advice that you should always be mindful of.  Please click here to read the whole thing.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Redbook

Regular readers of this blog know that it is about more than technology (i.e. tech & practice).  I love to write, and I love the art of writing.  Writing is the craft of the lawyer. Despite the fact that it is the bulk of what we do, as a group we don't do it very well.  We get frozen by habit and custom even if that means producing a product that is less than it should be.  Conventions control because it has always been done that way.

Bryan Garner is one of my writing heroes.  A lawyer, he is known first and foremost as the editor of Black's Law Dictionary.  Garner has also taken on the courageous challenge of making lawyers better writers.  To that end he has written a shelf's worth of books, and I own many of them.  My favorite is The Redbook, A Manual On Legal Style (Third Edition, West, 2013).  This 614 page manual is a great tool for making your writing better and contemporary.

Some examples:
The modern trend is toward less capitalization. Sec. 2.1.  
Attest is used as the appropriate verb in the prepositional phrase attest to .  Sec. 12.4.  
A typical affidavit identifies the affiant, attests to the affiant's qualifications for making the statement, and records the affiant's statement of facts or opinion.  It should also include a clear statement of the affiant's purpose, such s to support a motion or to serve as evidence.  Sec. 20.1(c).
The Redbook is not a replacement for The Bluebook or other citation systems.  It is different.  It is about writing.  What is especially exciting about The Redbook is Garner's educating the reader to improvements in writing that are the product of computers and word processors.  For example, "Today, word processors can automatically use the correct curly marks known as smart quotes (" . . . "). There's no excuse for still using the ugly straight quotes, which are typographical blemishes that don't match any font."  Sec. 1.29.  There is even a section on writing better e-mail messages.  Sec. 16.

If you care to improve your writing, The Redbook could be a valuable tool to help you.  Check it out.  Price varies depending on the vendor.  It is available at Amazon, West, and other sites.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Apple Gets Approval For New Mother Ship

Apple is spreading its pioneer wings beyond electronic technology with its new, conversation stimulating headquarters which has just received approval for construction.

On a related note, Harding & Associates Family Law is pleased to announce plans for its new headquarters which, incidentally, will be on a scale to rival that of Apple.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Virtual Law Firm

What thoughts are evoked when I ask you to imagine the traditional law firm?  Does your mind's eye see fancy offices festooned with persian carpets, basking in sunlight coming through big glass windows in a Class A office building?  Perhaps you see a richly paneled office in a converted Victorian house.  Then again maybe you see four walls and simple furnishings within a suite on the ground floor of a suburban professional building.

All of these are familiar images.  However, there is no norm anymore when it comes to the traditional law office.  Nowhere in the practice of law is this footprint changing more than in family law.  With the advent of the internet, video conferencing, and digital documentation the idea of the traditional law firm space is morphing.  The virtual law firm is becoming more and more prevalent. What is it?  Good question.

The virtual law office does away with the traditional notion of rented or owned commercial space
where every attorney has his or her own dedicated office.  Instead lawyers and staff work remotely from their homes (or elsewhere) logging into an office computer server hosted in the cloud or at a physical space smaller than the norm.  The idea of office-less law firms and lawyers has given birth to a whole new lexicon:  virtual lawyering, e-lawyering, free-range lawyers, remote lawyering. . .  Client interaction takes place via telephone, or by email, or by video conferencing.   If lawyer and client need to meet face to face, law firms rent executive suite space (Regus and Pacific Business Centers are two executive suite pioneers) on an hourly basis (the conference room on call).  In other set ups private offices are replaced by cubicles.  The library is eliminated in favor of online books.  One conference room becomes the de facto site for client and firm meetings.

It is not just solos that are virtualizing.  The Rosen Law Firm in North Carolina, along with its 14 family law lawyers and staffers has burned its commercial leases, and eliminated full-time office space altogether.  Its people work from their homes and meet with clients at courthouses, or pay as you go conference centers.

Let me speak from personal experience.  Commercial space is expensive.  I own the building in Pleasanton that my law firm is headquartered in.  That does not mean that I am blind to the overhead created by physical space.  We used to have a very nice, very large library/conference room, with a huge ten person conference table.  I got tired of paying hundreds of dollars per month to maintain a paper library.  I cancelled all of our print subscriptions, and converted to online products.  This reduced my library cost by about 60% to 75%.  Then I had all of the space that was no longer needed for library shelving.  I hired two guys with a pick-up truck from the Home Depot parking lot to haul all the books to the dump.  Then we subdivided the library space into a small conference room and an attorney office.  I instantly doubled my usable space. We still had a sufficient meeting space (in family law meetings rarely exceed 4 or 5 people), and I had a lovely new attorney office at my disposal.

For years I have accessed my office computer network remotely from my home and the road, and I have loved the freedom.  It is nice to get away from the office but still be productive.   If I want to spend the day in my lovely home, working in my sweats I can.  I have long made use of associates and contract attorneys who have never even been to my Pleasanton office.  Instead we communicate and collaborate over the internet (via Skype and email).  I have a contract with an executive suite company in Walnut Creek, California so that I can conveniently meet with clients there.  I pay by the hour, and pay only for the space that I actually use.  The offices and conference rooms there are beautiful, clean, and modern.  It also allows me to legitimately list a second office on my letterhead, website, and marketing materials.  The clients don't mind at all. Click here to visit the Walnut Creek office of Harding & Associates Family Law.

Want a few samples?  Here are some links to some nifty virtual law firms and offices:

Sue Boyall
Axiom Law
McIlveen Family Law Firm
Rachel Rodgers

Virtual practice, a great way to expand or streamline and economize your practice.  Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#virtuallawoffice #virtuallawfirm #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyersThe idea of office-less law firms and lawyers has given birth to a whole new lexicon:  virtual lawyering, e-lawyering, free-range lawyers, remote lawyering . . .

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is Twitter Cooling Off?

According to a report at the Boy Genius Report, Twitter's phenomenal popularity may be waning.  The BGR report had Twitter adding only one million new subscribers between the March and June quarters in 2013.  Compare that to the three million it added for the same period the year before.  More startling, "the number of U.S. iPhone owners using Twitter has stalled completely between March and August, moving from 27.2% to 27% over a five-month period."  Moving up on the popularity charts:  Instagram and Snapchat.  Please click here to read the original article.

Certainly don't abandon Twitter.  It still has fantastic numbers.  Start appreciating though that other platforms are gaining ground, and those other platforms may demand a bit more of your attention.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#twitter #instagram #snapchat #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Do You Know How Your California Pleadings Should Look?

I love the printed word.  How the word is printed, how it looks, how it appears on the page.  The first impression I get of a piece of legal writing is not what the words say, but how they look on the page.  If a legal writing is visually appealing to me, the content will begin from a position of advantage.

I am not alone in my focus on how the word is printed.  In California we have law that is on point.  Law that controls from the Oregon border to the north to the Mexico border to the south; from the Nevada border to the east to the Pacific Ocean to the west.  Allow me to share the content of this law so that your words and your pleadings will look right under the law.

The law on legal print starts with California Rules of Court, Rule 2.100, et seq.  The rules are absolute, and cannot be modified a local court rules. Rule 2.100.  Your words must be printed on recycled paper.  Rules 1.6, 1.22 and 2.101.  Double sided printing is not allowed.  Rule 2.102.  Your paper must be white, unglazed, unbleached, and at least 20 pound weight. Rule 2.103.

Now for the more fun requirements, at least as defined by my nerdy, tech side.  Your print cannot be smaller than 12 point.  Rule 2.105.  Your font must be Courier, Times New Roman, or Arial (or similar thereto). Rule 2.105.  Your ink must be black or blue-black. Rule 2-106. Your pleadings must have a one inch left margin and a half-inch right margin.  Rule 2.107.  Your pleadings must be one and one-half spaced or double-spaced, except for descriptions of real property, footnotes and quotations which can be single-spaced.  Rule 2.108.  Each page of your pleading must be numbered consecutively at the bottom of the page.  Rule 2.109.  At the bottom of each page of your pleading, directly below the page number, you must include a footer that contains the title of the paper (examples: "Complaint," "Memorandum of Points and Authorities") or some clear and concise abbreviation.  The footer must be at least 10-point type.  Rule 2.110.  What's great about all of this, is that our computers make it a snap to be in compliance.  Just get in the habit of defaulting all of your docs to these requirements.  Voila!

In case you were wondering, these rules do not apply to Judicial Council forms.  Rule 2.119.  They get to look any way the Judicial Council decides they should look.  That is also why you can get away with smaller than 12-point type to make content fit on the form.

There are also all kinds of rules relating to binding, hole punching, etc. within the same chapter of the rules.  Take a look, are bet there are some requirements that you never thought of?

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

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...