Monday, December 21, 2015

Attention AbacusLaw Users!

What do AbacusLaw practice management software, a home shopping network in Europe, PADI - the world's largest scuba diving organization, and a Brazilian wireless tower provider have in common?  As of December they are all companies owned by Providence Equity.

According to the December 15th press release:
“Abacus provides peace of mind for legal professionals confronted with data privacy vulnerabilities and rigid compliance regulations in today’s fast-paced digital world” said Alessandra Lezama, CEO of Abacus. “Our partnership with Providence will allow us to continue to transform our company and execute on the strategy to quickly scale up our technology infrastructure to meet the ever-growing demand for secure DaaS, extending our offering to other verticals that share risks associated with technology paralysis and that are subject to compliance regulations such as legal professionals.” Providence is a leading global private equity firm with over $40 billion in commitments and a focus on media, communications, education, and information investments. Providence is making the investment in Abacus from its Providence Strategic Growth (PSG) fund.
 “Abacus has proven industry expertise and their continued commitment to advancing their technology and servicing their customer base has been a major driver of the momentum and success they have experienced,” said Marco Ferrari, Managing Director at Providence. “We are excited to partner with a management team that has proven its ability to operate a world-class organization and help further accelerate their success and growth."

What does this mean for us lawyers depending on AbacusLaw in our practices?  The skeptic (nay realist) in me says nothing good.  An East Coast investment house probably does not invest in a San Diego law practice software company unless the software company is in financial trouble, or has a core product that can be thinned out and sold to other industries. A software company tightly focused on law firms only is never going to be a venture capital profit powerhouse as there just are not enough customers.  Look at the language in the press release: transform, strategy to scale up, extending our offering to other verticals. Nothing in there to suggest law practice is going to stay on the top of the pyramid.

I took a look at the management of Providence.  Very impressive roster of Ivy Leaguers.  While there are some law school grads amongst them, with the exception of the general counsel of the company I am not seeing too many lawyers with actual law practice experience.  Not a good omen for a law practice software company. I predict that with the company now being run by investment bankers the cost of Abacus will go up, the customer service will go down, the focus on law practice management software will disappear. I hope I am wrong, but me thinks it won't be long before we may be shopping for new systems if we truly want to keep using software dedicated to law practice management,

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

How About A Chat, Interview, Rountable, Forum . . . .

Time to share some tips folks.  Mine is ReplyAll.  A free service that let's you host chat conversations, and then post them as content on your blog or website.  You can check it out below. Go ahead and post your tip so that the conversation can grow, and our colleagues can learn some new stuff!

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Are You Still Licking Stamps?

Funny thing happened to me the other day . . . I was opening the mail and I came across an envelope that had been prepared by a typewriter, and had a hand affixed postage stamp.  Wow, I thought that process went out in the early 2000's? is the new way to do postage.  It is software that links to your word processor, your
Outlook, your QuickBooks, etc., etc.  Rather than feeding an envelope into your typewriter and then licking a stamp, you put an envelope into your printer, click the mouse a couple of times, and out comes an envelope fully addressed, with postage printed on it.

It really is too simple to be true, and a huge productivity enhancer.  Heck they will give you a $5 credit just to try it out.

The drawback is that you have to have a paid subscription to the service, but that investment is more than offset by the time you save processing postage.

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

iOS Battery Drain

Thanks to for this graphic!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Holy Cow, Look at that Briefcase!

And now back to my obsession with briefcases...

Long time readers will recall my joy when I found my Floto briefcase. I am still in love, carrying my Floto daily. 75% of the time it meets all my needs perfectly. As a trial lawyer though that 25% of the time I need something more. For bigger load days I tote two or three Bindertak binders, my Mac Book Pro, cords and cables, several legal pads, and even my awesome portable printer. Particularly when I head in to trial, or need to take the office on the road, more capacity is in order.  For the longest time I utilized a ballistic nylon rolling catalog case (like the one to the right) for my big loads. It served me well, but was not ideal. It was over stuffed, and I still had to have a second case riding on top of it.

For fun I surf the internet and look at briefcases. A couple of years ago I read an article on the Philly Law Blog that turned me on to Saddleback Leather.  I studied all their stuff and their SL Classic briefcase got its hooks in me. I found other options online, but none matched the Classic. It hypnotized me, but at more than $600 the cost pushed me away. My life became a tug of war. I became Ralphie and the SL Classic became my Daisy Red Ryder.  My abhorrent briefcase lust inner demon Id kept telling me buy it, buy it. My always wise Super Ego held me back...

At some point during the tortuous battle between Super Ego Good and Id Evil my peace seeking Ego developed a plan. It would put away $20, $25 a month in a type of Christmas Club account, in case I could some day rationalize the SL Classic.

After a couple of years I had a nice nest egg socked away. And then it happened! The zippers on the rolling bag broke. It had to be replaced. It still worked mind you, but it was now flawed. A powerful trial lawyer such as myself could never compromise his task with less than perfect equipment! It was time for the SL Classic...

Look at this beauty!

I bought the extra large. It is a beast. It weighs 8 pounds! It is made of thick, rich leather.  It smells great (that satiating smell of leather is another stimulus that could fill text books). It is stand up stiff. It has heavy duty hardware that would make a Swiss mountain climber proud.

But does it work as a trial bag?

This week the bag went to trial with me, and performed magnificently.

Here you see two stuffed Bindertek binders, an exhibits folder, three legal pads, a Mac Book Pro and charger, a small note pad, Post-Its, three highlighters, a White-out dispenser, and four extra pens. The side pockets, that you cannot see, are holding my iPhone and wallet.  That's a lot of stuff.  Yes, the bag was heavy, but I was able to carry it easily enough from the parking garage, through security, to the courtroom, and back.  Would not want to walk across town with it, but a couple of blocks is no problem. The SL Classic XL passed the trial test.

There was one thing I was worried about, that's the strap buckle on the case. I was concerned that it would be a problem opening and closing the bag in trial speed.  After a couple of days of use the strap had relaxed, and now opens and closes fairly easily.

What I really liked is that the bag stands tall and when the lid is folded back in and out access is a breeze! Is it worth the price? Probably not, but it sure is nice.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Google's Got A Router

You know what wi-fi is.  It is our wireless path to the internet. It is the invisible beam that enables our computers, tablets, and smartphones to send and receive emails, texts, photos, posts, and chats. It helps us watch movies on line, send files over the internet and pass the time at the airport.  For years the technology has been pretty much the same: Plug a square box into your computer, pay an internet service provider for access, watch a bunch of lights start to flash, and surf away. The only real limitations are range, signal strength, and speed.

Google is trying to bring a new sexy to routers.  The Googlies have released their OnHub router, and it is getting pretty good reviews.

 points out these features:

  1. The OnHub router comes with a Google designed antenna system which, when coupled with Google’s software, can dynamically adjust pertinent router settings as to keep interference to a minimum.
  2. The router allows you to prioritize one device over another. In other words, if you want to ensure that the Netflix stream on your laptop gets more bandwidth love than, say, a nearby iOS device downloading a few updates, you can make that happen.
  3. You can say goodbye to toggling router settings the old fashioned way. Google OnHub’s companion mobile app gives you complete control over your router settings directly from your smartphone. Need to reset your router? It’s as easy as opening up the app.
  4. The companion mobile app will also keep an eye on the state of your network, let you perform various network tests, and even suggest solutions to network hiccups as they arise.
  5. Want to share your Wi-Fi password with a friend? The OnHub mobile app makes it a breeze. Simply tapping on a “reveal password” button will make your Wi-Fi network more easily accessible to people you want to share it with.
  6. Google OnHub makes it easy to not only tell how many devices are on your network at any given time, but to also discern how much data is being used by each device.
  7. First noted by The Verge, the companion app can also perform speed tests and subsequently provide “real-life examples of what types of internet activities are optimal, like ‘You can stream Ultra HD video at this speed.'” This should be especially useful for the majority of Internet users who aren’t likely to be well-versed in all things Mbps.
  8. Hardware wise, the OnHub router comes with an array of 13 different antennas, each positioned 120 degrees apart. This ensures that the signal is spread out uniformly in as many directions as possible. On a related note, Yousef Shanawany adds the following nugget of insight: “According to Matt Cutts, who was a guest speaker on this week’s This Week in Google, the last of the 13 antennas in the OnHub is used to switch the outgoing signal to the best channel it can sense in the air every five minutes, whereas regular routers sense the best channel only when the router first turns on, and keeps that channel until the routers are reset.
  9. Not surprisingly, the OnHub router supports 802.11ac WiFi which can deliver speeds as fast as 1.3 gigabits per second along with wider coverage than earlier standards.
According to Google more than 120 different devices can connect to one Onhub.  Its switching technology is also possessing of some magical power to speed up the speed of your wi-fi notwithstanding the speed control forced upon you by your ISP. The biggest, perhaps the only criticism, is the $200 price tag.

 Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Which Social Media Platforms Are Important For Lawyers?

"Conversationprism" by Brian Solis and JESS3 - Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -
I sat down with my 18 year old daughter this weekend to discuss social media.  The options left me dizzy: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, the list goes on and on. Those are just the ones that are hot for teenagers and twenty-somethings.  I decided to investigate further.

I installed the Instagram app on my iPhone, created an account, and within two minutes I had four followers!  Pretty impressive. I went deeper and learned that the function of the app is to communicate with others by posting photos. I posted a photo of my dog. I got no responses, replies, whatever? I decided posting photos of my dog was not a productive means of marketing my family law practice. I deleted the app from my phone.

My experiment begged the question: which social media options are relevant to me and the marketing of my law practice?  The consensus among law firm marketing experts is that LinkedIn is the best. asked the experts at the Legal Marketing Association. Each of the three experts said that LinkedIn wins. Facebook was also popular. So too was SlideShare, a service that allows you to uploads presentations, PowerPoints, etc., for the world to view. You can view the discussion by clicking here.

I had another question.  Before we get to which social media platform is best, I must ask if socia media works at all as an effective tool for marketing a law practice. The experts seem to think so.  I am not so sure, but because there is a chance it might work, I am going to do it.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's A Small World After All!

A fun war story about practicing family law in the internet age.  Today I went around the world to negotiate a settlement.

This past Friday opposing counsel sent me a settlement proposal by email from her San Francisco office before leaving to spend a month in Asia.  I then forwarded that proposal to my client who is vacationing in Maui.  This morning my client and I used the collaborative tools in Adobe Acrobat to dissect the proposals and to develop our counter points. Next I drafted a response letter in Microsoft Word and sent the Word file to my client for review. He used the collaborative/track changes tools in Word to make his desired modifications to the letter, and sent the file back to me. We also talked on the phone (the weather was quite nice in Maui!).  After reviewing and approving the modifications from my client I converted the letter into a pdf document, affixed my electronic signature, and sent the letter via email to opposing counsel, so that she can download it, and work on it while in Asia.  I cc'ed my client on the email, and also uploaded a copy of the letter to his online document repository so that he could always find a copy of it.

Ten years ago things were not this easy. Shows you how technology can improve the practice of law. Also reminds us though that if we are not careful with how we manage technology it can take over our lives, and make the office inescapable.

To avoid having worldwide 24/7 availability eat me alive I have attorney-client communication rules that I educate my clients to before they hire me. I also explain these same rules to opposing counsel, for whom they have equal application.

  1. I communicate during office hours. That scope extends to phone calls and emails. 
  2. I only work on weekends in emergencies. 
  3. My client or opposing counsel going on vacation is not an emergency (I do relax this rule a bit if I am going on, or coming back from a trip).

These rules help maintain peace and order. They only work if you lay them out at the get go, and they only retain their efficacy if you have the discipline to stick with them.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 Best Apps List

The Cyber Advocate has released its list of the best apps for 2015. Complete with iOS and Android app reviews, the Cyber Advocate list brings a lot of solid info for those of us looking to expand our app collections. The list is not focused on lawyers, but then again sometimes it is good to stray beyond the lines and have a little fun.  The new Star Wars app for instance? It is 4th on the Cyber Advocate list.

Check out the complete list by clicking here.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Legal Productivity Blog

Legal Productivity is a great blog sponsored by Rocket Matter. It is one of my regular stops when I am looking for new practice management thoughts and ideas. It is one of those blogs that revitalizes you and renews your excitement as a lawyer. If you are a technology wonk it has even greater attraction. The break out topic headers for the blog say it at:  Get Organized, Market Your Practice, Make Money, Leverage Technology, Go Mobile. Isn't that hitting the practice management nail write on the head?

Recent posts have included:

A Simple Daily Routine to Maximize Productivity
Communication and Collaboration Apps for Law Firms
Lawyers: What To Do If You Are Not Getting Paid
Anatomy of the 21st Century Lawyer [Infographic]
Law Firm Branding or Individual Attorney Branding?

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Need Help Finding Case Management Software

Our options are increasing for case management (what I call practice management) software.

The software landscape that started with Time Matters and then grew to include Amicus Attorney and AbacusLaw now has dozens of choices, and the list is growing every day. Where to go for information? has a great index/reviews, frequently updated, of practice management software.

The ABA maintains a handy reference chart

Software Insider also has a review site, although it is not as comprehensive as the others.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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

Monday, June 22, 2015

Things for East Coast Lawyers to remember when working with a Northern California family law attorney

Here in Northern California we family law lawyers like to think of ourselves as more civilized. We love what we do, we do it well, and we do it passionately. You can say the same thing about the myriad traits that define the Nor Cal way of life.

Chris McGinnis over at the Travel Skills Diary published an article recently about eight mistakes business travelers need to avoid making when coming to San Francisco. Chris's observations are easily tweaked to assist lawyers from beyond California when working with a Northern California family law lawyer on a case, or when traveling to Northern California for a case:

1.  We close early on Friday afternoons.  After 2 p.m. on Fridays, when you Easterners close for the weekend at 5 pm, so too do many of us in the Northern California family law bar.  Especially when it’s warm and sunny outside, , wine, cocktail, and beer carts start making the rounds, golf balls are teed up, mountain bikes start rolling, cars start heading for the mountains.  While there are exceptions to this rule, your Nor Cal colleagues are likely to groan if you send out a calendar invite for a 4 p.m. meeting on Friday. Make it at 11 a.m. instead. Better still schedule it on Thursday.

2.  Northern Californians get started early.  As Chris notes, "Don’t be surprised about an early morning start. An 8:30 a.m. meeting is not considered out of order. . . Lunch hour begins promptly at noon, but you will find that locals that head out at 11:30 a.m. or 11:45 a.m. “to beat the crowds.” Expect the same early schedule for dinner meetings, which can and do start as early at 6 p.m. Most restaurants are empty by 9:30 on weekdays and by 10:30 p.m. on weekends." Some courts even get going at 8 a.m.

3.  More good advice from Chris:  "Don’t always rely on taxicabs. The Bay Area is Uber’s home, and it is everywhere in Nor Cal, so download the app and use it if you haven’t already done so and enjoy all the different “flavors” of Uber available, which include the standard town car UberBLACK, private car “citizen driver” UberX (cheaper than taxis), UberSUV, UberXL, and the new UberPOOL where you share a ride with someone else headed in the same direction. Cabs are fine when available, but the industry has been decimated by the likes of Uber and Lyft and their business is down by 65%. The Bay Area is a huge, sprawling place with court houses and downtowns all around.  Public transit does not cover all the stops, and some cities with their own courthouses don't have cab companies. Uber is everywhere.  Make sure you need to rent a car before you rent a car. Northern California airport rental rates are notoriously high, the car rental center are not admired, and downtown hotel parking rates are in the $60 per night range."

4.  We don't got no stinking subway. BART is the regional rapid rail system.  It's like a subway and like a Metro, but not as convenient and pervasive, and a hell of a lot more expensive.  It gets you to the big spots on the map, but still misses most of the Bay Area footprint. Your gonna need to put boots on the ground or rubber wheels on the road to get you to your ultimate destination.  That gets us back to Uber and Lyft.

5.  Don’t forget your layers. We have micro climates in Nor Cal.  It can be foggy, wet, and cold at the coast but sweltering hot and bone dry 15 miles away as the crow flies.  Bring a jacket and prepare to shed it as you move inland.  

6.  Our Courts are Not all in San Francisco.  Northern California is about the same size size as New York and Pennsylvania combined, with Ohio thrown in for good measure. Come join me and about 15 million of my closest friends. Northern California has nine counties that touch the water of the San Francisco Bay, and comprise the metropolitan area commonly referred to as the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, or The Bay. Those counties — San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, and Marin – are home to more than 7.1 million people. More than 1 million of those people live in Contra Costa County, more than 1.5 million of those people live in Alameda County, and almost 1.85 million of those people live in Santa Clara County.  Just up the road about an hour from The Bay is the State Capital of Sacramento, and its own metro region with about two million people and half a dozen counties. Each California county has its own Superior Court, and each of those Superior Courts has its own different branches, courthouses, and local rules. In fact, two or three different courthouses spread around each county hearing family law cases is the norm.  The simplicity of one courthouse per county does not apply here.

7. WE ARE NOT L.A.  Los Angeles is 400 miles away from the Bay Area and metro Northern
California (almost as far as Cincinnati and New York). They do things different down there. We like our brothers and sisters in SoCal, but they have their own world.

8.  Think Wine not Whine.  Hardball ain't our style. Our wine-ing comes from a bottle.  With liquid gold being made in Napa, Sonoma, the Livermore Valley, the Foothills, the Mendocina Coast, and the Central Coast of Monterey County and Paso Robles we tend to take the edge off of family law. With eight ABA law schools (Stanford, Berkeley, Hastings, Santa Clara, University of San Francisco, Golden Gate, UC Davis, and University of Pacific, McGeorge) we've got plenty of smart folks taking the oath and doing the law thing, we just don't need to be obnoxious about it. Even our Ivy Leaguers are laid back.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ever Wonder Where Your Website Is Listed?

I got an unsolicited e-mail (i.e., SPAM) today from a some guy (I won't bother to name him or his company). Here's what he wrote:
Good afternoon,  
I was just looking at your site, and I have a number of clients within our network looking for injury lawyer in California. I DO NOT work as a lead broker, referral agency, or pay-per click advertising service. I'm simply looking to direct my clients to a relevant site when they're looking for an attorney.  
Your site looks like it could make a strong fit for them. I am looking to work with a lawyer today, therefore give me a call as soon as possible. 
Thanks in advance.
Here's the problem:  I don't practice personal injury law! Frustrated that my time had been wasted I wrote the guy back:
Apparently you did not look at my site too hard. If you had you would know that I am a family law attorney, and not a personal injury lawyer.  Bad demonstration of preparation and professionalism…
Not willing to leave well enough alone, he writes me back:
Actually your website and law practice is listed in the largest directory online, as a personal injury lawyer. Take a look here:

Therefore I assumed you practice injury law as well. It seems the bad preparation and professionalism is on your part, listing your website in a practice area directory that you don't practice law.
I clicked on the link. It does go to an index/listing site for personal injury law firms.  He was kind of correct. There is a firm listed by the name of Harding & Harding.  That is a firm that I was partner in more than 15 years ago.  My firm is Harding & Associates Family Law. Intriguingly when then think click on that link it takes you to my current law firm web site. All you see there is family law, family law, family law.  Not word one regarding personal injury.

Pretty insulting stuff from a guy trying to sell to me. Why would I buy services from someone who does not do their homework, gets their facts wrong, and then tells me I am wrong when I am not? I wouldn't, particularly given that I am not a personal injury lawyer, which is the segment that he is trying to sell to. Another point to consider: even though I am not a personal injury lawyer, I have friends who are, and who would be intrigued by such an approach. . . .

Besides how not to sell services, there is another lesson to be learned here. It is a good idea to inventory your online presence once in a while to look for mistakes -- like a link to my family law law firm being on an index for personal injury firms. For that reminder I must actually thank Mr. Bad Salesman.

P.S. How much ya wanna bet the guy is gonna feel compelled to comment on this post, by which he will identify himself rather than staying anonymous?

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Tasks Can Most Answering Services Handle?

An answering service is like an outsourced receptionist. You route your phone number to a call center where receptionists answer calls like a member of your business. They can forward the call to you or one of your employees, take messages and even answer some questions about your business, like your location and office hours.

Now, you might be wonder is that it? A real receptionist in my office could do a lot more, like schedule appointments, take orders and accept credit cards. The reality is many answering services can do these things. You just have to find the right one and spend a little more time personalizing your order.

Answering services plans are flexible. You can route calls to them all the time, just on nights and weekends, or just when your office phone line is busy. They’re also flexible in the features you can add. MAP Communications, for example, can schedule appointments as an upgrade from their standard service. With the “scripted” service, receptionists will login to your Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar or Appointment Quest account and use it to schedule appointments. You can also write call scripts for receptionists to answer more complicated questions, such as what services you offer, what your policies are on payment and refunds, etc.

If you use any other web-based programs, such as a CRM or HelpDesk, MAP Communication’s receptionists can likely login and use it. There is an extra fee, however, to cover the cost of training since all employees will have to learn how to use it.

On that note, you don’t want to go overboard with the number of tasks. The key to success with an answering service is to keep your instructions simple. Because many of these services are large call centers, it’ll be a common occurrence that somebody is answering for your business for the first time. If your instructions are lengthy and/or confusing, you can expect there to be some fumbling on the phone. Make sure your instructions are as clear as possible and try to keep them limited to one page.

About the Author:

Jeremy Marsan is a staff writer for Fit Small Business. He specializes in reviewing software and technology applications for small business.

Please visit for more information about John Harding

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

There's A New i Operating System Coming

Apple has begun rolling out iOS 9, the latest version of its operating system for iPhones, iPads . . . As usual the release is prompting great debate. If I were to grade that debate I would say it leans toward the positive. Of course there are always the pundits. This time the critics are saying there isn't any real innovation in the release. That instead it is copying heavily from Android. I don't seee that as anything to be critical off.  OK sure, maybe the new features don't turn water to wine, and ducks to geese, but there are improvement over the previous version.
More importantly there aren't any real criticisms of the performance and function of the new iOS. I take that as a real positive when compared to the blatant beta testing that we suffer through everytime Microsoft releases a new  Windows product.
And it is not as if the new Version 9 is without new stuff.  Consider the new features favored by Zach Epstein over at BGR:
Major Siri improvements 
Siri was dramatically improved in iOS 8, but Siri will be turbo-charged in iOS 9. Most importantly, Apple has added new “Proactive Assistant” features to Siri in iOS 9. This means that like Google Now, Siri will proactively serve up information and perform functions without any action taken by the user. 
For example, Siri’s new Proactive Assistant features will recommend people to contact based on upcoming meetings and apps to open based on the time of the day and your previous usage patterns. App recommendations will appear on the bottom left of the lock screen and also in iOS 9’s new Spotlight search page.Siri also understands context now. So if you’re looking at an email you can open Siri and say, “remind me about this later,” and Siri will create a reminder that opens the appropriate email. 
Proactive Assistant will also automatically add invitations and events to your calendar, which is a nice addition. You’ll also get Google Now-like features such as notifications that you need to leave to arrive at a meeting on time, based on traffic conditions. 
Unlike Google Now, however, all of the data analysis needed to facilitate these features happens on the device — no data is stored on Apple servers and nothing is shared with third parties. 
Apple Pay enhancements 
First up, the 50 million people out there with Discover cards will finally be able to add them to Apple Pay. Big brands like Trader Joe’s and Baskin Robbins will begin accepting Apple Pay this year as well. More importantly, Apple is working with Square to launch a new Apple Pay-compatible card reader that can be used by small businesses. 
Pinterest will also be adding buyable pins, which will let iOS users with the Pinterest app buy items from directly within the app.Where iOS 9 is concerned, Apple is adding support for store credit cards, rewards cards and membership cards. That means you won’t have to carry a separate rewards card or give your phone number to cashiers. Since Passbook functions as a more complete wallet now, it has been renamed to Wallet in iOS 9. 
Big updates to Apple’s iOS apps 
Notes now has a toolbar and built-in check list support. Beyond that, camera and camera roll access has been added to the app, as has drawing support. You can also add links to a note using a new share sheet entry. iCloud will also sync everything across all of your iOS and Mac devices.Where Apple’s Maps app is concerned, Apple has finally added new maps and associated information for public transit. The Maps app will route using all available modes of public transportation. Apple’s app also gives specific walking directions inside of bus and train stations, which is pretty incredible. Transit features will be available in 10 cities to start.Apple also unveiled a new application called News. The new app personalizes news content from a wide range of sources, and it presents content in a great interactive user interface. Publishers will have to customize their content to take advantage of all the features News offers. 
iPad multitasking and more 
There are several iPad-specific updates in iOS 9. For example, there’s a new shortcuts section in the keyboard that provides quick access to things like copy/paste features. Beyond that, touching the keyboard with two fingers at a time transforms it into a giant trackpad so users can move the cursor without leaving the typing position. 
The biggest update is definitely the iPad multitasking update in iOS 9. There’s a great new app switcher interface, and then the “slide over” feature allows users to slide new apps onto the screen, and “split view” allows users to display multiple apps on the screen and the same time and work in both.There’s also a fantastic picture-in-picture feature that lets you display a thumbnail of a video on top of whatever app you’re in. 
Low Power Mode 
This new feature will extend battery life by up to three hours when enabled. It’s similar to offerings from Samsung and HTC, but not quite as extreme. It does limit some functionality, but all core features are still acceptable.

Am I gonna install it? You betcha!  Just have to sit back and for for the little Apple Elves to let me know that it is ready and waiting for me.
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#Apple #iphone #ios #ios9 #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Friday, May 29, 2015

Very Impressive iPad Trial App

TabLit Applications has relesed its TabLit: Trial Notebook app for the iPad.  I must admit, from what I have seen it looks pretty darn good. Full disclosure, since I am no longer using an iPad in court I have not purchased the app (particularly with a $90 price point). But reviews from actual users are positive and see no reason to misconstrue the product representations.  For example, the app hass:

  • Multiple levels of customizable tabs for full trial organization.
  • Pop-up windows for case notes, witness information all at your fingertips.
  • Examination outlines in true outline format, Q&A format and more...
  • Evidence checklist with witness cross-reference to examination outlines.
  • Evidentiary issue cross-reference to arguments and rules of evidence.
  • Evidence repository with photo interface for documentary and physical evidence.
  • Examination outlines
  • Examination checklists
  • Contacts list

Heck, I wish this app was available for the MacBook Pro that I do take to court. Take a look at these screen shots.

Want to learn more, please click here.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Create A Facebook Page For Your Law Firm

We all know that Facebook started as a place for people to create personal pages so that they could share information about themselves. It has become so much more than that.  Facebook is now also essential for corporate marketing. For us lawyers that means going beyond a page about you, and onward to a Facebook page for your law firm.

I have confessed many times that I am not a Facebook expert. Fortunately there are other folks who are. Case in point, my trusted advisers at Social Media Examiner. The SME blog is an invaluable resource when if comes to social media (and a lot of other stuff). I love it! I check it weekly, and always come away with some new lesson or trick to help me with the social media marketing of my law practice and my law firm.
Social Media Examiner has published another gold nugget, entitled How To Set Up A Facebook Page For Business. This articles gives you all the 411 to go beyond a personal mugshot page, and start creating some real online visibility for your law office. There's audio, there's text, there's pictures. The article couldn't make it any easier unless they were doing it for you (which they practically are).

For some folks (Me, me, me....) the technology behind Facebook can be very challenging.  The folks at Social Media Examiner get that.  This article is an example of the step-by-step help you can expect.  It also interacts with Facebook's own help screen, that are really becoming more user friendly.  With time my Facebook angst is starting to come down.  Yours will too.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Free Legal Project Management Webinar and MyCase are sponsoring a free webinar on legal project management.
Mark Lassiter, attorney and legal technologist, will be presenting "Introduction to Legal Project Management – Why It Matters for Solos and Small Firms" on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 11am PT / 12pm MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET.

Learn about:
  • What is Legal Project Management
  • How LPM increases efficiency
  • How to integrate LPM into your firm
  • What clients think
  • Risks and benefits
You can register here.
Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How's Your Profile Pic Looking?

Do you have a picture of yourself on your website? On your blog? On your Facebook, LinkedIn, and twitter pages?  Sure you do (or sure you should). Are you happy with it?  Does it catch the eye of your readers?

Of course I have a headshot of me on my website bio page ( It's a nice color shot of me in a suit.  It's boring, but it lets people see me.  It goes along with the other headshots on the website, so some degree of uniformity is required.  For my other marketing avenues though I was looking for something different.

That search took me to a website called Fiverr. Fiverr deserves special mention.  On the site you can find artist, writers, programmers, virtual assistants, models, all ready, willing, and able to do odd little jobs for you with a starting price of $5.  It really is pretty cool.  I found it by chance, and while surfing around in the site a find a guy in Turkey who runs a little business called photoenhance.

I created a Fiverr account, uploaded my photo to photoenhance, and for $21 I got these pretty cool stippled portraits.

I know it didn't take the guy a long time to create them, but it certainly would have taken more than $21 of my time for me to make them myself. Now I have two new options for advertising me.  I think the black and white one makes me look very Wall Street Journalish, don't you?

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Paid Content Distribution - You Call it Blogging, I Call it a Spammy Waste of Time.

I was at a CLE conference recently, standing in the hallway talking to some colleagues.  One of those folks flatteringly commented on my blogging, and asked me how I do it? I responded as I always do:  I do it very easily.  It's fun, and it only takes a few minutes per day. Her response was a firm No Way. I found a company that will write the posts for me, and it only costs $40 per post.

What she was talking about was a ghostwriter, or in modern day social media parlance paid content distribution.  PCD is not a new idea, but is it a good idea?  Remember how the conversation started?  My friend commended me on my blogging!  She knew me, in part, because of the blog posts that I write! That's important.  Hell's bells, that's why you blog, to draw attention to yourself.  People appreciate my blogs because they know that I write the content.

PCD is not personal. It tells the reader nothing about the writer.  Sure the posts take up bandwidth on the internet, but that's all they do.  Readers can detect canned content.  There is so much PCD these days that I would offer it is not worth the cost. The internet is now overrun with blogs -- and that includes lawyer blogs. PDC just adds to the dilution of blogging efficacy.  LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google are all re-writing their algorithms and filters to block commercial, PCD, advertisements.  If the site filters don't catch the canned content, site/group administrators will.

I know because I am a LinkedIn group moderator and I send PCD posts to the dumpster every day. After all, all a $40 paid blog post is is Spam. Let me give you an example.  You pay a PCD company to write posts for you relating to New Jersey family law.  They write the posts and then post them to every LinkedIn group that you are a member of. I am the moderator of the AAML group on LinkedIn.  An article with the title New Jersey Women With Cheating Husbands Need to Visit My Website To Protect Themselves hits my moderation queue. Appreciating that I am acting as the gatekeeper for a national group, and figuring out in a nanosecond that the post is a blatant solicitation rather than actual information that an AAML member can actually use, I send the post straight to the spam folder (if LinkedIn has not already done that for me). What have you gotten for your $40?  Not much except for an irritated group moderator who does not appreciate having to take the time to insulate other group members from your annoying advertisements; and a report to LinkedIn that you are a spammer so that it can start blocking all of your posts to all of your groups.

I have said this before, and I will say it again:  If you want social media to work, you have to work at it. Is PCD working at it?  No. It is a good way to get rid of your extra cash though...

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Facebook Gaining Power. Will Soon Dominate The World.

I post to Facebook.  I do it because I am told I must do it as part of a social media marketing plan. I also take to it to gather evidence to assist me in representing my clients in their divorces. I must confess though I don't get Facebook?  I have no interest in telling burglars that I am on vacation in Europe. I don't appreciate other people splashing photos on the internet of me enjoying my private life.  I don't need to know that someone really loved the bagel that they had for breakfast. The stuff people put out there, and the success I have realized using it against them in court is stunning!

Apparently I am alone in my need to keep my bizness my own. Facebook is gaining strength and taking control of the internet in ways that are hard to fathom.  In fact market reports just this week indicate that while other social media sites like LinkedIn are losing steam, Facebook is on a dramatic uptick.

An article by Adrienne La France in The Atlantic supports the fact that Facebook has you, and you, and you hooked tighter than a size 1 corset on Kate Upton.

Consider these facts (thank you Kevin O'Keefe for culling the article down):

  • Roughly half of the adults who use the Internet report getting their news from Facebook alone.
  • Media companies are already hugely dependent on Facebook for traffic. Vox, for instance, gets 40 percent of visits through the site. Other leading news organizations get something like a quarter of site visits from Facebook.
  • Facebook more than doubled digital ad revenue over the course of two years. The $5 billion in ad money Facebook made last year represents 10 percent of all digital ad revenue.
  • The average American smartphone owner spends more than 42 minutes a day on Facebook. Facebook accounts for one out of every five minutes spent on a smartphone.
  • Facebook has succeeded in thriving financially on mobile while leaving desktop behind. Facebook is getting a quarter of all display ad revenue and more than a third (37 percent) of display ads on mobile. Facebook’s share of revenue on desktop dropped 20 percentage points last year, while its share of mobile revenue went up 20 percentage points.

Those are some stunning statististics! The message is clear, if you want to succeed with internet advertising, you have got to be on Facebook!  Ughh.....

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Latest Adobe Acrobat Has Been Released

Wow! Seems that just about the time I get comfortable with one version of Acrobat, Adobe starts selling a new version.  XI Pro is no exception.  Now Adobe is selling the upgrade to Adobe DC. What is Adobe DC you ask?  Good question, and one that I as yet cannot answer.  Of course our friend Rick Borstein over at the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog can.

My big takeaway is that Adobe is trying to move use all to a cloud based, subscription based product. I am not sure I need that? We use Acrobat to convert everything to pdf that we store in-house. I also use it to affix my signature to letters, pleadings, etc., which I then transmit over the internet (typically as a .pdf attachment to an email). I don't do a lot of document collaboration with Acrobat.  Heck, I don't do any...

While the cloud is great, I don't see it as the solve-all of solve-alls (especially with my Comcast internet service constantly failing). What I do see with a switch to DC is a recurring monthly subscription charge for features that I probably would not use. I have accessed the Bat Phone and sent a message to Ernie Svenson (the law world's other Acrobat acrobat) for his thoughts.  I will be sure to share when Ernie gets back to me.

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Do You Really Need Full Time Office Space for Your Solo Practice?

After personnel costs, office space is usually a law firm's biggest expense.  If you are practicing in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles rent can be HUGE!  For family law firms, of which most are the smaller solo, one, two, or three lawyer variety, rent can be a real problem.  But does it have to be that way?

Particularly if you are a sole practitioner you have some real options to full-time rent. Over at Solo Practice University (Great site that everyone should know about) Paul McGuire has an insightful post on office options.
"One option for office space is what I like to call the virtual office setup. You have a receptionist who answers the phones and a mailing address and have access to offices where you can meet with clients but not full time. In my current setup I get about 18 hours per month of office use and 4 hours a month of conference room use, which ends up just about 10 meetings per month because they require me to book in 2 hour blocks."
What Paul is talking about here is facilities like Regus, Pacific Business Centers, and other executive suite providers.  These are a great options. In fact my Walnut Creek satellite office is housed in a PBC facility.

Other options Paul explains include the paperless/remote offices and space sharing.  Bigger law firms, accounting firms, real estate agencies, etc., often have extra office space going unused. Those firm managers are all too happy to create revenue by sub-letting that unused space, even if it is just a private office.

Paul's article really gets you thinking about alternatives to blowing a ton of money on you own full-time space.  Check it out here.

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#officespace #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...