Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all of our Friends!

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

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fax Machines Are The New Dinosaurs

In 1991 fax machines were a big deal. Unbox the hardware. Throw in a roll of thermal paper. Plug in to the phone line. Then Shazam we were sending and receiving actual copies of documents. The technology was awesome and it took off! Fax numbers became de rigueur on letterhead and pleading captions. Fax machines became as indispensable as typewriters, telephones, and computers. A new industry was born so that we could fax pleadings straight to the court, or to a commercial service so that, for a fee, the docs could be filed at the courthouse.

Guess what?  Time has passed. Technology has improved. Typewriters are dead (we don't even have a typewriter in our building). By this post I now pronounce the fax machine is dead! Get over it. Anything you can do with a fax machine you can do better with email. The new way to go is .pdf. Adobe's portable document format is now the global standard for digitizing everything, especially documents. Scan it, save it, send it, receive it. Copy machines now save copies in pdf format. Word processors export/save in pdf format. Scanners convert to pdf. Everything is pdf. It is the new king.

We don't have an actual fax machine in our office anymore. Our last fax machine went the way of the typewriter and the Dodo Bird years ago. We still have a fax number, but it is connected to an efax account. When a fax comes in it is date and time stamped, converted to pdf format, and emailed to a designated email address. That fax number is rarely used to receive documents because fax volumes have gone way down. We utilize even less, i.e. rarely, to send docs. Why would we want to use it when we can do the same stuff better with email? The only reason we bother with the small cost of the efax account is so that we can send docs to the dinosaur law firms and courts that haven't come into the 21st Century and converted to modern technology.

Emailing pdfs allows direct delivery to the exact recipient, rather than a machine sitting next to the coffee maker. Receiving pdfs has the benefit of eliminating the need to run to the copy machine or scanner with your fax. You simply save the pdf to your electronic folder. If you still are paper based, you print it out and stick it in the file.

Don't forget in California, where I practice, service by fax is not recognized as official service for notice purposes. You can try, but there is no statute supporting the argument. Nasty lawyers still try to exploit fax machines in the worst way as a tool for after hours service. We just turn the efax service off and eliminate the opportunity for &$$hole behavior by some of our less esteemed colleagues. Sure email is on 24/7 but I don't read office emails away from the office so there is no problem for me.

In fact, I am so convinced that faxing is dead we no longer list our fax number on our pleadings, and are starting to eliminate it from our letterhead and other contact information. If people want to send us a fax, they need to make special arrangements.

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

#fax #faxmachine #pdf #Adobe #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A New Kind of Standup Desk

I have long been a proponent of stand-up desks.  I have written about them previously here and here. My stand-up desk at the office is a splendid custom built job.  Very rich and very fancy!

My custom made office stand-up desk

I also do a lot of work from home. That work has always been down sitting down at a regular desk. I have been waiting for something to come along that would give me a stand-up/sit-down option at home rather than having a regular sit down-desk and a stand-up desk like I have at the office. The first product that caught my eye was the Varidesk.

Varidesk Pro

Not bad, but not quite right. A bit bulky and clunky for me. I wasn't crazy about the look, and I felt it would eat up too much of my home office desk's surface area.

Next I came across the Kangaroo from Ergo Desktop.

Ergo Kangaroo

Again, not bad. Not as clunky as the Varidesk. Plus Kangaroo makes a Mac specific product - an obvious selling point given that I use a Mac at home. However, I still wasn't sure...

Then I got turned on to Ergotron. They have a slew of desktop products. I found plenty of glowing reviews for their WorkFit-A Sit-Stand Workstations.

The PC version of the WorkFit-A

For us Mac users Ergotron includes a design specifically for the Mac. I made the jump and bought it ($580 from the Apple Store, which includes free shipping). 2 days later it was delivered. After 30 minutes with the included tool kit it was installed, and I am loving it! Come into my home office and take a look.

My WFA in the down/desktop position

View from behind my desk

Swiveled for use in the sit-down position

Fully extended stand-up position. Trust me it is way up in the air.

Check out how the Mac stand becomes a built in part of the screen deck!

Stand-up position, swiveled so I can look out the window!

The WFA takes up desktop surface space, but not as imposingly as other products. I chose to mount mine on the corner of my desk. That is not mandatory. You can mount yours anywhere you want. The stand-up aspect of the WorkFit-A is where it really stands out. This is a high tech piece of equipment. The height adjusts. The swivel adjusts. The angle of the keyboard deck adjusts. The whole thing turns left and right. The Mac stand gets hidden in/becomes an integrated part of the main deck.

The WFA is well engineered, and well built. That arm that you see goes a long way. In the down position it reached across my 30" deep desk. It also goes way up. I am 6'5" and the WFA gets the center of my screen all the way up to me eye level. When I put hand pressure on the keyboard deck the whole assembly stays put. Yet, it turns, swivels, raises, and lowers easily.  A real marvel.

THIS THING ROCKS. I may never go back to the office! If you are looking for a stand-up add-on for your desk, the WFA is it!

Understand, what you are doing with the WFA is hooking your computer to the end of a big, strong metal stick.  It is plenty secure. But there can be a bit of wobble at the end of that stick. Unavoidable, but for me not a problem after the two minutes it took to get used to.

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

#standupdesk #ergotron #Workfit-A #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Value of Social Media

Besides being fun for me, this blog has a very definite business purpose. It is a marketing tool intended to advertise my family law practice. It is a social media tool. Now I can give you more first hand proof that social media channels, including blogs like this, work.

My friend (and often quoted practice management expert) Lee Rosen is huge into social media. Just for twitter he has more than 17,000 followers. A couple of days ago he mentioned this Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog in a twitter post he sent out. Here is Lee's tweet:
Does not look like much, does it? But boy did it work! With one click of his mouse Lee advertised this blog to more than 17,000 people! Then, BOOM, 120 people clicked on the tweet and visited this blog.  That's 120 strangers learning about me. That is great traffic! It has continued for two days now, and more than 200 people have clicked through.  Just as exciting, a high percentage of those visitors then clicked through to the website for Harding & Associates Family Law! That's the magic of social media folks.  I didn't even do anything and I got to introduce myself and my law practice to hundreds of new people. People who can hire me, people who can refer to me, people who can think about me.

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mobile Websites the latest Snakeoil

There is always going to be the next generation... Upgraded software, HD TV, etc., etc.  In marketing and advertising we have gone from newspaper ads and Yellow Pages ads to websites and blogs. The newest bigger, better sales scare tactic in your face is The Mobile Website and The Mobile Blog.

True, more and more people are visiting websites from their mobile devices. That means smaller screens, and different formatting when compared to the big screens of our desktop PCs and laptop computers. Right behind those new small screen audiences there are the marketing opportunists ready to manipulate you into buying the latest, greatest, mobile ready websites and blogs. Don't be so paranoid, and don't be so fast to throw away your money.  All is not lost. You do not have to drop big money on a new website or blog specially designed for mobile devices.

Google, Microsoft, Firefox, WordPress, Blogger, You Tube and the smart folks that run them know where the audiences are, and they know that they have to deliver product NOW that can service those audiences.  They have already identified the trend toward mobile viewing, and they are rewriting their codes to meet that need.

You do not have to go out and spend big bucks with a web design firm claiming they can deliver a mobile ready website for you. That's just them selling you snake oil.  Check out your website on a smartphone. Chances are that it is already mobile ready. If it isn't wait a month or two. If your website or blog hosting service is viable its technology will evolve to mobile ready. If that change is not inevitable with your host, then it is more important that you find a new host. Mobile ready should be standard factory equipment, not an option and certainly not something that you should have to pay extra for.

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

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unhappy With Your FindLaw Website?

Are you a FindLaw website customer?  Questioning whether FL is the right website provider for you?  Well, you are not alone.

Over at Divorce Discourse our friend Lee Rosen makes the harsh criticism and asks the hard questions about websites from FindLaw.  For example:

  • FindLaw is too expensive.
  • FindLaw doesn’t generate sufficient leads.
  • FindLaw generates crappy leads from tire kickers who can’t afford us.
  • FindLaw sells to my competitors, and they outrank me.
  • FindLaw charges me for every little change to my site.
  • FindLaw is constantly trying to lock me in longer.
  • FindLaw puts its logo/links on my site.
  • FindLaw locks me into a contract I can’t easily escape.
  • FindLaw keeps offering new products that I have to buy or my competitor will buy them and get the leads.
  • FindLaw never stops asking me for more money.

Lee gives us a lot more sound advice -- in this instance about getting out from under FindLaw.  If you are a FindLaw customer, you need to read Lee's article.  Please click here.

Be reminded. There are plenty of website builders out there. Just because FindLaw markets to law firms does not mean it creates better law firm websites.  As lawyers and law firms we tend to be sheep sticking with the flock. Creativity is subordinate to custom. Think about it. When has the legal industry ever been known for its marketing innovations? That carries through to law firm websites. As lawyers who are we marketing to? Other law firms?  No, we are marketing to legal consumers. Those are the same people that drink Coke, eat at Taco Bell, shop at Best Buy. When we rebuilt our current website the last thing we did was contact a design firm that specialized in law firms.  Hell no. We went to a builder that creates commercial sites directed at the general consumer public.

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

CourtCall Going Live With Video

If you are unfamiliar with CourtCall, it is a national provider of call in services for court appearances.  For years it has allowed parties and attorneys to conveniently appear at court proceedings by telephone, rather than driving to the court house.  It is a wonderful technology and a great option for us lawyers.

I just got an email from CourtCall announcing that they are starting to implement video calls.  This is a huge improvement.  While I have used CourtCall frequently, I have never made it my default for the exact reason that I feel it is vitally important for effective family law trial lawyers to have actual face time in front of judges.  We need to know what our judges look like, and how they operate.  Just as important, those judges need to know who we are, and they need to be able to put a face to the time.

You can get more information, and find out which of your judges are available by video, by clicking here.

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

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stamps For Acrobat

I never cease to be amazed by all the great things that Adobe Acrobate Pro can do.  I also stay ever grateful to Rick Borstein for all the great tips he posts to his Acrobat For Legal Professionals blog. Rick's latest gift are the free editing stamps that you see below.  If you would like to add all of these stamps to your Acrobat stamps palette, just Click Here, and then follow Rick's step-by-step directions.  Call me if you get stuck.

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

ScanSnap iX500 Scanner

The iX500 - What A Beauty
We are in our second decade of being a paperless law firm. The ability to access documents anytime, anywhere is a huge practice advantage. Staff handle the bulk of the scanning and pdf conversion using a power horse networked scanner/copier.

Once in a while I will want to copy a paper document, or get a piece of paper scanned into our system more expeditiously than our regular, very quick process. But, I don't want to walk down the hall to the copy room to make it happen. This want was particularly distracting a couple of weeks ago when my paralegal was on vacation (how dare her).

That same paralegal has a little ScanSnap scanner on her desk for quickie jobs, and she has always sworn by it. I used it while she was away, and immediately understood her enthusiasm. That got me thinking . . . and not in a dangerous way. I clicked my mouse a couple of times, and ordered ScanSnap's latest release, the iX500. It arrived last week, and I am loving it. Without getting too technical, here's the scoop.

  • Scans in color, black and white, and grayscale
  • Single pass scanning of both sides of the paper
  • 50 page sheet feeder
  • Scanned documents become searchable pdfs
  • Connects to your computer with a USB cable, or over a wi-fi network
The iX500 saves your scanned docs to
  • Your computer
  • Your network
  • Your iPhone
  • Your iPad
  • Your Evernote account
  • Your Dropbox account
  • Your GoogleDocs account
  • Your SugarSynch account
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
It does all of this very quickly (25 pages per minute for normal color mode), error free, and in a small package that measures just 11.5' x 6.2' x 6.6".

This iX500 is AWESOME. I love it. I am addicted to it. Why did I wait so long to get one? Don't believe me? Watch the video below to see how cool it is. Better yet, just buy one. You will be glad you did. MSRP is $495. Street prices are as low as $420.

You can also get more info at the Fujitsu website.

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

#fujitsu #scansnap #scansnapix500 #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tips For Going PaperLess

Ernie Svenson is a New Orleans lawyer whom I have been internet stalking for years.  Ernie was one of the pioneer lawyers when it came to implementing internet technologies in the practice of law.  He has generously shared his wisdom on social media, technology, software (particularly Adobe Acrobat), and practice management process.

His most recent foray is in the area of going paperless.  Along with countless seminars, internet articles, and interviews he has spread the gospel on teching out your practice while saving trees. Along with Andrew Legrand, Adriana Linares, and Megan Hargroder he has even turned it into a business.

PaperlessChase.com is Ernie's (and friends) mother ship for learning how to make your law office 100% mobile –no more papers, no more filing cabinets, no more faxes, no more printing out stuff just to sign it (use your iPad or Acrobat and email it). It, and they, will help you do everything faster. There are hardware reviews, tips and tricks, newsletters and mail lists.

Here is an example of what they do. Visit the website. Look at it. It's beautiful. It's clean. It's hypnotic. It cost $500 to create! How? By hiring a virtual assistant to do the work. That's great information, and I got it for free by visiting PaperlessChase.com. The site also offers CLE classes, a free white paper on going paperless, and much more.

This blog, Family Lawyer Tech & Practice, is all about practicing law better and more efficiently. PaperLessChase is right there with us. Treat yourself to a visit!

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

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Everki Versa - Stuff Your Case

Yeah I have briefcase lust.  After watches briefcases are probably my most obsessive indulgence. Since law school I think I have used at least twenty different briefcases.  They are proper.  They distinguish us lawyers as special, learned professionals.  They give the impression that we carry secret stuff.

My Floto Parma
My sickness goes beyond briefcases, and includes backpacks, fanny packs, sling packs, and messenger bags.  If it is a vessel to store stuff in, and then carry around, I want it! My current satchel is a Floto messenger bag (to the right).  Aah, the smell of leather....

Lawyer briefcases these days have to be more than they have ever been.  Of course they have to carry our files, and our legal pads, and our exhibits, and our business cards. They also have to carry our pens, our highlighters, our post-its, our laptops, our iPads, our ear buds, our power cables, our memory sticks, and on and on.

Everki Versa
I recently ran into a buddy in court who was
sporting a cool new case.  I confessed my kookiness for cases and my friend let me check his out.  It was a Versa from Everki, and it was nice!  Multiple pockets.  Big.  Substantial. Going to the Everki web site I learned more. The Versa is TSA approved to make life easier when getting through the metal detectors at the airport.  It has reinforced corners and lots of innovative design elements.

Here is what I liked about it:

The smooth running, heavy duty zippers. The multiple clamshell design, creating four distinct compartments.  The felt lining for electronic devices.  The multiple interior storage pockets.

I was indifferent to the ballistic nylon shell.  It doesn't look bad and there is some leather trim to spiff it up a bit, but I think leather looks better, particularly in the courtroom.  The $185 street price didn't offend me.

What didn't necessarily work for me was the orange lining.  Too bright.  Just doesn't look professional.  The interior compartments were tight.  Big files and binders are not gonna fit.  It is definitely a fun bag with lots of cool compartments,  I just don't know that it is practical for a trial lawyer.

Gotta bag you love, leave a comment or send me a note.  I am happy to share reports from other satisfied (and unsatisfied) users.

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

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Binders and Bags

When I started practicing law long, long ago the paper folder was the default case file. I used them, but I was never content. They weren't sturdy. They ripped. The bendable metal prongs got distorted and bent to the point that getting papers in and out became impossible. Contents ripped. The prongs ripped out, and the folders fell apart.

Change comes slow to the legal profession. I stuck with those paper folders for a while, and I still see them in use by the majority of lawyers that I encounter. They work. I just yearned for something better. . .  I found it!

Around 1990 I came across Bindertek.  They had a sampler pack back then, that I invested in. When the binders arrived I immediately fell in love. Sturdy, reliable, reusable. The 2 ring design allows secure document storage, and the ring mechanism is engineering genius. I immediately placed a full order. The 3 inch spine models are the default in our office. We buy them in bulk by the case. The Ocean Blue color is one of my trademarks. In fact, they are so well built that some of those binders from our original orders are still in use. When a case ends, we empty out the binders, send the file to storage, and use the binders with a new case.

Take a look at the paper spine on the photo at left. That is a piece of white paper in a clear plastic sleeve. Bindertek sells replacement paper spines, and has a software program you can use to create personalized labels for your binders.

Not to flatter myself too much, but the first time I saw a Bindertek binder in a courtroom was when I carried it into court. Now they profilerate. I like to consider myself the BindertekFather amongst the family law bar in the San Fran East Bay courthouses.

The legal profession was one of Bindertek's original target markets. They continue to market other innovative products for us lawyers. Their website includes a Products For Your Law Office section. Therein you will find trial notebooks, practice area specific tabbing systems like personal injury, FAMILY LAW, deposition writing pads, and much, much more.

The one challenge to using binders is carrying them around. As files grow, the number of binders needed increases. One binder fits just fine into my leather briefcase. More than one can pose a challenge. Bindertek used to sell a handsome leather satchel that held two binders. I have one, and use it all the time. Unfortunately I don't see it on the website any more. They do have an extensive selection of other carriers and some beautiful leather briefcases.

So impressed am I with Bindertek that we now use their carousel shelf for storage, their dead file
storage supplies, there spine labels, their family law practice tabs, their exhibit tab and indexing systems, their travel cases. We have a few 1 inch spin binders that we load up for quick court appearances, depositions, and settlement meetings. I even have a couple of Bindertek's very impressive, very expensive leather binders that I use for special occasions.

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

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Evernote & Biz Cards From Your Hand To Your Contact Manager

Business cards are still a great marketing tool.  They are not virtual, they are tangible.  You can touch them, feel them, smell them.  They work to market you and your practice, and they work to expand your networks.  Handing them out is still an essential element of professional practice marketing.  Collecting business cards is still an essential element in developing your business network. 

Whether you use Microsoft’s Outlook, or Salesforce, or Apple Contacts, or AbacusLaw, or Amicus Attorney, or Goldmine, etc., you need to get those biz card buddies, and their biz card information into your computerized contacts directory.  In days gone by that meant typing the information, line by line, into your computer.  Now you can implement better technology to streamline the process of handling those business cards that you are collecting.

If you use Evernoteand you should — you need to be aware of its awesome business card tools.  With the Evernote app on your smartphone you can take a picture of a business card, have it immediately imported into your Evernote account, export it to your contacts on your phone, and then synchronize it with your Outlook directory or any other contact management program that you use.  Fear not, reading these steps is more complicated than doing the real thing.  For some of these client management programs — Salesforce for example — it is even easier because they have a dedicated Evernote interface.

Even if you have to do it the multi-step way without a dedicated interface, it is still incredibly easy.  Keep reading to learn how. . .  Make sure you read all the way to the end for a bonus tip!

Step One:
Install Evernote on your smartphone.

Step Two:
Lay a business card down on a flat surface.

Step Three:
Launch Evernote on your smartphone, click on the Camera icon, then select the Business Card option.

Step Four:
Move your camera over the business card until Evernote detects it and then automatically takes the picture for you. 

Step Five:
Evernote then reads the business card and imports all of the information as a new contact in your Evernote account.  Nothing for you to do but watch. 

Step Six:
Tell Evernote to send the information to the Contacts app on your phone.  Evernote completes the task immediately, and that biz card buddy’s information is now in your system.

Step Seven:
Synchronize you phone contacts with whatever other Contact program(s) you use.  Nothing could be easier.

Step Eight:
Sit back and enjoy your techie awesomeness!

Free Bonus!  Now keep reading for your super awesome bonus tip, that is particularly great for you LinkedIn folks . . .

If you have a LinkedIn account — again you should — Evernote has a one-click feature so that you can connect on LinkedIn with your new business card buddy.

After you have finished importing the business card and saving it in Evernote, Evernote will launch a pop-up window with a one-click LinkedIn button.  If your new biz card buddy has a LinkedIn account Evernote finds that account and then sends a LinkedIn connection request to that person.  How great is that!  This is an example of how software makers are getting away from the old proprietary, keep-em-to-ourselves mentality, and instead they are embracing the benefits of platform sharing.  The Evernote/Salesforce and Evernote/LinkedIn partnerships are examples.  They expand their user base, and we the users expand the  benefits of our accounts.

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Apple's Yosemite OS X available for download

Apple's latest Mac operating system, Yosemite, is now available for free download at the Apple Store.  I am running it.  I do like the new graphics.  Speed does not seem to have changed.

Not sure why my Mac Book Pro also rings when my iPhone rings? Thinking I am going to disable this?

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

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

.lawyer and .attorney domains available

Here's something fun for you internet marketing junkies.  .lawyer and .attorney domains have been released.  I don't have any hard statistics to back this up but I suspect that if you have yourname.lawyer or yourname.attorney it may help with searches and steering traffic your way.  If nothing else it is a way to expand and further personalize your internet empire!

Visit your domain name reseller (Go Daddy, 1&1, etc.) to get yours today.

P.S. johnharding.lawyer is taken!

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

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lawyer Has Phone, Will Practice

A smartphone is an essential tool for any lawyer who does any work away from the office.  My Apple love carries through to my phone, an iPhone 5s.  I have that thing so packed with apps my thumb gets tired flipping through the screens.  But that is part of the fun!

AT&T is my carrier because it delivers reliable phone and data service around the world.  TMobile is also quite good, particularly in Europe.  The price is not so much better, so I stick with old reliable AT&T (although I do thank TMobile for making AT&T more competitive and customer focused -- Go Capitalism!).

Wi-fi is everywhere, but when it is not my AT&T iPhone has hotspot capability so that its 4G can get my computer online fast.  This function came in quite handy during a recent road trip to Southern California.  I let my wife do the driving and our teenage daughter was the co-pilot while I turned the backseat of the car into a rolling office.  With the Mac connected to the internet via the iPhone hotspot I had total connectivity! Awesome!  If only I could get my wife to green light the purchase of an RV (not gonna happen) then I would really have a mobile office . . .

Why not an iPhone 6?  Too much time left on my current contract. . . .

A bluetooth headset is also essential.  A headset provides better listening quality than I get from the speaker on the phone, it allows my hands to be free, and provides more privacy.  My current favorite is the ERA from Jawbone.  It is tiny.  The ear bud is super comfortable and does a fantastic job of keeping the headset in my ear.  It has great battery life, that is extended with the separate carrying case, and in a pinch I can also use it to listen to movies and music with it.

I have the Skype app on my phone and I use it all the time to stay in contact with colleagues in the office.  I also have 8x8's iPhone app installed so that I can be connected virtually to our internet phone system at the office.  The added bonus is that I came make free phone around the world provided I have an internet connection.

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

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Polish Your Chrome

I prefer Google's Chrome as my browser. I like the layout. I like the memory options. I used to like it because it was more secure than Internet Explorer. Unfortunately that changed. Add-ons were clogging the performance of the browser. My screen was getting crowded. Even worse, Google was letting marketers, malware and other unwanted and invasive stuff invade my browser and computer.

Fortunately Google paid attention (I think?). It has released a software removal and reset tool for Chrome.  Yes this is more software, but hopefully it will work to clean up unwanted software. Intriguingly it is only available for Windows. Either that means Apple OS systems are immune (Not!) or Google is still working on an Apple recipe.

You can download the program by clicking here:  www.google.com/chrome/srt/

For more information the How To Geek has a great article.  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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Your Writing Sucks!

Writing is one of the lawyer's primary stocks in trade.  That is why it is so bewildering to me why so many of us write so badly?  We should be better at writing given that we get paid to do it.

Okay fine, I have yelled about making your writing better.  You, in turn are saying, fine Harding, how do I do that?  I am not going to go back to college to get an English degree.  I hear you.  I do have a suggestion.  I have come across a wonderful software app called WordRake.  It is an add-on for Microsoft Word, that adds an icon driven menu bar to your program.  With a click of a few buttons in Word, WordRake becomes your computerized proof reader.

WordRake filters your document for run-on sentences, redundancy, and other grammatical mistakes, all from the comfort of a visually appealing, user-friendly interface. Because it is a Word add-on it runs within Word.  No cumbersome bouncing in and out of independent programs. You create a document and run WordRake. It then analyzes all of your text, highlights the problem portions, and includes recommended text to fix the problems.  It is very cool.  I wrote to the company and asked for some screenshots to post here.  They weren't very helpful.  I got one picture that did not go a long way in demonstrating what it does.  That being the case, rather than read about it, take a look at the video from the WordRake website, below, to see how it works.

I have used the free trial version of WordRake, and I really like it.  It just plain works.  The problem for me is the price.  It is available on a subscription basis, and goes for $129 per year ($259 for three years).  It really does work great, the price point just leaves me uneasy.  If you need help with your writing this is an exceptional tool!

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

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You Should Be Flying At The Front Of The Plane

You all know what an avid traveler I am.  Included in that description I would add that I am also a frequent flier mileage geek.  I horde miles like a Siberian squirrel hoards acorns.  I have become pretty good at it, to the point that when I fly internationally it is always in business class or first class.  I am also in the front of the plane on most of my domestic flights (Southwest and JetBlue being the exceptions), even if that means paying the premium price for the ticket.  I do it because it makes economic sense to spend the extra money, and it minimizes the horror of air travel.  At 6'5" I need all the extra room I can afford.

Consider as an example the average big city lawyer.  She bills at $500 per hour.  At a minimum flying from San Francisco to New York will require one hour to get to the airport; one hour to clear security and board the plane; five and a half hours hours until touchdown. That is eight and a half hours.  How about another example.  San Francisco to Nashville.  One hour to get to the airport.  One hour to get on the plane.  Four hours flying time to Chicago.  Two hour layover at O'Hare. Two hour connecting flight to Nashville.  Ten hours of travel time. A third example.  San Francisco to Rome. One hour to get to the airport.  Two hours to check in.  Ten hours to Frankfurt.  Three hour layover. One hour flight to Rome.  Seventeen hours! Under any of the examples, you are away from the office for at least a full day.

If you pay for an upper class seat that travel time does not have to be a big ding on your bottom line. Here's why. For that extra money you pay to the airline you get priority check-in, and a priority security line.  That saves you at least thirty minutes.  Then you get access to the airline's business class lounge, with quiet, private workspaces.  That gives you another hour of productive time, without dealing with the crowds, noise, and confusion of the main terminal. That lounge also gives you free wi-fi, and access to free computers and printers should you need them. That business class seat on the plane gives you priority loading and off-loading (more time and efficiency).  Plus you get a seat and tray table large enough to work at, with some semblance of privacy.  Take advantage of it by getting some billable time in. Four hours of work on the flight to Frankfurt (yes, I fly Lufthansa) would be no problem With your arrival in Frankfurt you once again get priority clearance through customs and security. You get lounge access during the layover, with more work time should you want it.

If you shop around you can get a round trip business class ticket on the domestic flights for $1500 to $2000. For the round trip to Rome a business class seat will set you back $3000 to $4000.

On our San Francisco to Rome scenario you could easily get 6 and a half hours of billable work done, and have plenty of vacation time.  For our $500 per hour lawyer those 6.5 hours of billable time would work out to $3,250.  You have paid for your business class ticket!  And you have traveled in style.

Then again you could do it my usual way:  Pay for the ticket with a frequent flier credit card to earn double or triple miles.  Forget about work and enjoy a carefree, luxurious trip.  Work a full Saturday when you return to pay for it.

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

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Make Custody Calendars for Your Clients; We Use Custody X Change

I am always looking for technology and software to save time and help my law practice. Since 2005 I have been using Custody X Change for parenting plans and custody calculations (in fact, I was one of the first people to license the software after it was launched). Custody X Change helps family law attorneys create custody schedules and parenting plans for clients.

With the software, you can make a custody schedule with the residential schedule, holiday schedule, and vacation or summer break schedules. You can pick a residential schedule from a template or you can create your own. You can also add special events and really customize a schedule depending on the types of schedules you make for your clients.

The nice thing is that after you make a schedule you can print out a custody calendar to give to your client. You can print a few months or multiple years depending on what you want. Clients really like these calendars because they can clearly see each parent’s time with the children and the visual picture helps them understand the schedule.

As you make custody schedules, the software calculates the timeshare percentage of each parent along with the number of hours each parent has the children. This is helpful to know for figuring out child support because you can easily get an accurate number to put into DissoMaster. You can also use the timeshare percentages to discuss schedule options with your client or to negotiate a schedule with the other party.

The software also has a parenting plan feature that lets you print a legal description of the schedule and add parenting provisions. If you have a boilerplate plan that you can use for most of your clients, you may not use this feature very much. But, if you make a lot of custom plans, or you are just starting your practice, you may find the parenting plan and provisions helpful.

Unfortunately for Mac users, the software is Windows based. But as I mentioned in a previous post, you can run Windows software on a Mac.

The software has two versions—the Pro Lite and the Pro Full. The Pro Lite includes all of the scheduling features and timeshare calculations. The Pro Full has all of the Pro Lite features along with the parenting plan. The Pro Full also includes a journaling feature and a tracking actual time feature but these features seem more useful to parents. The price of Custody X Change ranges from $97 for a 6 month license of the Lite edition to $747 for a Lifetime license of the Full edition.

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

#CustodyXChange #Family Lawyer Tech #Productivity #Software #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, September 19, 2014

How About An Online Legal Technology Convention

Ok, this is fun!  How do you like the idea of going to a legal tech convention without actually having to travel to the convention?  Virtual LegalTech make it possible.

Virtual LegalTech offers all the powerful educational and networking opportunities of LegalTech, the premier conference and trade show for technology in the legal community. VLT is a showcase for the latest hardware, software, tools and services that are moving the practice of law ahead through innovative solutions. It's also an invaluable chance to talk with colleagues, share best practices and make connections with professionals from law firms and corporate legal departments from all over the world.

VLT's fully interactive virtual environment enables you to do all the things you'd do at a live event: attend presentations and panel discussions, talk with vendors, see product demonstrations, collect information, network with colleagues and get the latest news from the ever-evolving arena of legal technology. The show is open all year around, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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

#virtuallegaltech #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...