Thursday, November 2, 2017

How to Market Your Law Firm in Today’s Online World

As new technology emerges and new trends take over, how we market our business changes. You have to keep up in order to stay relevant, and all of the moving pieces should work together seamlessly so you can spend more time focused on generating new clients, and less time trying to string these things together.
So starts a very, very relevant post by Tom Foster over at Attorney@work.com


  • Utilizing client relationship management software
  • Reputation management
  • Lead nurturing
  • Using analytics


True this is an infomercial piece for Tom's company, Foster Web Marketing. The bottom line though is that it is also a tidy and fresh reminder of what we need to think about in our internet marketing worlds.

Please click here to take a read.

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

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

PerfectAudit.com

Do you wrestle with stacks of bank statements for your cases? Are you manually entering transactions from the statements into Excel spreadsheet? Are you begging for a better way? We may have one for you.

Jim Schaefer is a great forensic accountant based in Southern California. His firm, Schaefer & Company, specializes in family law forensics.  Like me, he is also a repaid tech geek. Today I am lucky enough to have Jim guest posting on a new discovery of his for discovery in your cases. Here's Jim to tell you about PerfectAudit.com:

As you know, a direct mechanical tracing is comprised of two parts:  check register and
characterization columns.  Perfect Audit automates the check register portion.  The software incorporates the bank statement formats for bank accounts and credit card statements to provide a pretty good quality OCR result from pdf format.  (Brokerage statements are beyond its scope.)

Picture feeding pdf bank statements into a hopper.  In a day or two you receive a searchable transactions listing that may be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format.  Thus Perfect Audit gives you the check register portion for about 40 cents per pdf page.  (you pay for what you use with no minimum monthly charge).

Before using the Perfect Audit transaction data, you will want to create a running balance column in your check register and check against bank statement balances.  I find that there are a few transactions that are double-entered that are easily corrected.

Perfect Audit really shines when you are searching for the other side of an internal money transfer for wire transfer as there is a search capability on the dollar amount.

One tip is important.  If you provide duplicate bank statements to Perfect Audit, Perfect Audit will give you duplicate entrees in its transaction listings.  Thus it is best to avoid sending duplicate statements to Perfect Audit.

I have seen unfavorable ratings of the software on the web.  My experience differs and has been quite good.  (…and my clients love it when I tell them we are using the latest robotic technology to reduce the cost of their tracing.)  

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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tech Is Gonna Help You to Know Your Judge

To this day -- 30 years later -- I remember a story my law school civil procedure professor told us about his first attorney job. 20 years earlier he had been hired by a prominent Wall Street firm. He was assigned to a team for work on an appeal to a U.S. Court of Appeal. For three weeks his only task was to research the lives and histories of the justices assigned to the case. Not just their written opinions, but where they went to school, who they were married to, what their children were about, what kind of food they ate. What size shoe they wore... That level of intel gathering impressed me.  The need to know your judge stuck with me.

I am a firm believer that it is only good lawyering to learn as much as you can about the judge you are litigating in front of. Venture capital and the artificial intelligence world agree with me, and their help is on the way.

Gavelytics is a start-up that focuses on gathering info about, and predicting rulings of, the judges
you are going in front of -- even in simple old family law.

Right now Gavelytics is limited to LA County and Riverside County, but that will change. It is also light on, but not without, family law judges. The user interface is pretty cool. The landing page for each judge includes where they are, who they work with, how you contact them, where they went to school, how they got to the bench. Take a look:

Click the image for a larger look


There's more. Here are some of the Gavelytics tools:

  • Judicial Workload
    • Learn how long it takes to get to trial, the average delay between complaint filing and the initial CMC, and average case length, all compared to the jurisdictional average.
  • Gavelscore
    • Discover whether a judge has ruled more often for plaintiffs or defendants in bench trials. No more guesswork about a judge's most important decisions.
  • Motion Analyzer
    • See how a judge has ruled on 100+ different types of California motions, including summary judgment, demurrers, and motions to compel.
  • Motion Details
    • Compare a judge's motion ruling tendencies to the jurisdictional average, providing crucial context so you can determine if your judge is an outlier–and what to do about it.
  • Learn how often parties make CCP § 170.6 filings against your judge
    • Take advantage of the wisdom of the crowds and see how often other parties paper your judge, all searchable by filing party and case type.
  • See crucial judge ruling and docket speed data in a single dashboard
  • The Judge Summary
    • Takes the most important judicial data points, like tendencies on summary judgment motions, discovery motions and docket speed, and puts them in a simple dashboard for easy reference.

What's it cost? $35 to $65 per month. Not bad. This is a technology that I am going to have to keep my eye on....

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 5, 2017

What A Receptionist Should, And Should Not, Say...

Here's an interesting one for you my fellow members of the bar...

I am in the process of negotiating the settlement of a case. As with most cases, it has been a back and forth process. Last week opposing counsel sent me an email with settlement terms. On Monday I called the attorney's office and left a message asking him to call me.  No return call. Yesterday morning I sent an email to the attorney asking him to call me so that we could wrap up the settlement. No return call. Today I called his office again.

The receptionist answered. “Hello. John Harding to speak with _ _ _ please on the _ _ _ matter.”  “Are you calling in response to the last email he sent you?” “I am calling to talk about the entire case.” Then she says, “There is no need for you to talk to him unless you are calling to accept all of the terms of his email.”

Say what? Am I wrong, or is it out of line to be told by an opposing attorney's support staff when I can discuss a case with opposing counsel? Am I wrong to expect opposing counsel to return my call? Only after the receptionist emailed her boss, was I able to schedule a phone call with him for the next day. 

Unbelievable. Then again, maybe I missed something during all those lectures on courtesy and professionalism.... 

I would love some feedback from the audience on this.

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, September 26, 2017

How Much of Your Time Do You Bill For?

If you fit the norm, the answer is 2.3 hours per day.

According to an exhaustive study completed by software company Clio, 2.3 hours is the average. The study results, published by Lawyerist.com, assert that "on average, lawyers bill less than 30% of their time. And they only collect on about 20% of their time."

Interesting data. According to the study:
Hours billed—utilization rate—goes up quickly as the firm grows. For solos, it’s about 25%. In firms of 4–7 lawyers, it goes up to about 40%. Above 10 lawyers, the average utilization rate is about 50%. 
So what are lawyers doing with that unbilled time? According to the survey Clio added to its report this year, about half of that time goes to administration. About a third of it goes to business development (marketing) activities.
These numbers make sense to me. I may be doing better than 2.3 hours a day, but it still intrigues, surprises, frustrates me, how much of my time is consumed on tasks other than practicing law. Please click here to read the entire article.

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, September 10, 2017

Product Review: Twelvesouth Mac Book Pro case

True story. I was flying out of Istanbul, Turkey the very day that the Trump administration's laptop controls for air travel went into effect. Of course, one of the airports that was subject to the new requirement that laptops had to be checked was Istanbul's Ataturk.

With my arrival at the gate for my Turkish Air flight to San Francisco, my Mac Book Pro was bubble
wrapped, labeled, logged, and then stacked with many others into a hardshell suitcase. Some 15 hours later that suitcase was opened at the luggage carousel in San Francisco, and dozen of laptops spilled onto the floor. I was tired. I was lazy. I grabbed my Mac, opened the lid, powered it on, and saw light. It was alive. Good enough for me. I signed the receipt and headed home.

It was not until the next day that I noticed that the case on my Mac had been cracked, Too late to seek recourse from the airline. But the lesson was learned. Even with bubble wrap, my computer was not able to withstand the rough and tumble world of airline baggage handling.

That flight from Istanbul eventually led to the purchase of a beautiful new Mac Book Pro. I also became more sensitive to the handling of my laptop while in motion. Recommendations led me to the  BookBook Vol. 2 case from twelvesouth. Made of leather, with a crush proof spine, the BookBook is custom made for the Mac Book Pro. As twelvesouth describes it:

BookBook provides six-sided protection with reinforced corners on the outside, while velvety soft, microfiber lines the interior. Zip BookBook closed and now your MacBook is disguised as a vintage book that has been proven to prevent theft. How many other MacBook cases can say that?
Do I like it? Yes I do. The leather is rich. The custom Mac Book Pro fit pleases the German engineer in me. The zippers pull smooth and easy. I am confident in the rigid protection it provides, The $79.95 price isn't ridiculous for what you get.

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

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

AI Is The New Craze!


Artificial intelligence, "AI", seems to be everywhere in the law practice discussion. But what is it? I don't really know? To resolve my lack of clarity I have been looking for the definitive summary. That has been a struggle. Much like the King's new clothes, there is plenty of buzz, but little explanation.

Above The Law is investing lots of virtual ink on the topic, and has become a preferred learning center. One article in particular that I found useful is Sterling Miller's Artificial Intelligence And Its Impact On Legal Technology. As Miller explains, AI is:

[T]eaching computers how to learn, reason, communicate, and make decisions. Cognitive tools are trained vs. programmed — learning how to complete tasks traditionally done by people, where the focus is looking for patterns in data, testing the data, and finding/providing results. Or, as I like to think about it, a research assistant who can sift through the deck and tell you what it found.
Law Technology Today gives us another explanation:
Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to computer software and systems that don’t just do tasks they’ve been programmed for in advance—they actually learn as they go, improving their performance through feedback. These programs can quickly learn to complete data-intensive tasks that were previously relegated to bored and weary humans. By recognizing patterns in the relationships between words or data points, computers learn how to identify relevant information, recognize mistakes, and spot inconsistencies—all faster, and usually better, than humans do.

Okay, I kind of get it. But how is AI utilized by lawyers? That also seems to be a nebulous question. Here's more golden nuggets from Above The Law:
If you’ve used Google to find a song with just a few words from a lyric or searched Netflix to pick out a comedy that’s safe to watch with kids, you have used applied machine learning. Machine learning is an area of artificial intelligence that enables computers to self-learn, without being explicitly programmed, to look for specific pieces of information. 
When lawyers use machine learning for discovery or internal investigations, it’s commonly called technology assisted review (TAR) or predictive coding. Although TAR has been around for a while, lawyers and litigation support professionals still have questions about how to best use it on individual cases.

Okay, we have a vague description of AI. What are some of the actual applications for legal practitioners?  More from Legal Technology Today:
The primary areas where AI is being applied in the law, so far, include the following broad categories: 
  • review of documents for discoverable or otherwise relevant information, generally referred to as technology-assisted review (TAR).
  • legal research through automated searches of a universe of case law and statutes.
  • contract and legal document analysis.
  • proofreading, error correction, and document organization.
There's still plenty to learn, but is is obvious the dialogue has started.  Is it too early for family law lawyers to get on board? Of course not. Large marital estate generate lots of data for divorce. If I am understanding AI, the tools that are developing could be quite useful to us in wrangling all of the information and date more efficiently and effectively. We need to pay attention to this topic as family law practice continues to evolve beyond just the evolving statutes and case law.

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

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Traveling for Work


I love to travel (even it it is for work). It is a topic we have posted on before. Here for instance. And here. Recently I have been doing more business travel (a phase that happens about every 5 years). The uptick has invited me to update my travel tips, that I would now like to share with you.

Flying

When it comes to flying my core beliefs haven't changed. Southwest and Alaska work great for California and Nevada flights. Anything longer than that, and I fully advocate traveling first or business class.

For those California and Nevada flights I have a new option. JetSuiteX. This is a regional airline that uses regional jets. Its current route map includes Concord, San Jose, Burbank, and Las Vegas. What makes JetSuiteX so great. The airports. Check-in is a breeze. The airline recommends you arrive 30 minutes before your flight. You go to their private terminals, check in with  the other dozen or so fliers, then walk to and onto the nearby jet. My closest airport is Concord. My destination airport is Burbank. Both are awesome alternatives to the frustrations of SFO, OAK, and LAX (any day I can avoid LAX is a good day!) The Concord terminal is great because there is free parking right there. Burbank requires a shuttle ride, but since I use Wingz in Southern California, parking is irrelevant. The planes are kewl, the pricing is good, and baggage, drinks, and snacks are complimentary.


Ground Transportation

Speaking of transportation, lots of fresh discoveries. Limos are out. Too expensive, and often times unreliable. I now use Wingz whenever I can. Think of Uber and Lyft, but with better pricing and better drivers. My last two trips have been in a very nice Tesla S.

Luggage

Most of the trips I am making these days, if they require an overnight, are for two or three days. On those short trips I have adopted the carry-on mantra. My carry-on equipment list includes a Travel Pro Magna 2 and an Everki Versa laptop backpack.


I like the Travelpro because of the telescoping handle, the 360 degree spinner, and the folding suit bag.  On to the backpack. Yes, yes, yes I am crazy for briefcases. However, when it comes to airline travel, the Everki really works. It has a luggage strap in the back so that I can drop it over my Travelpro's luggage handle and then just roll along. It is checkpoint friendly, so I don't have to remove devices at security and put them in storage bins, and it has an abundance of felt padding to limit scratching to protect my Mac Book Pro and iPad Pro in the rough and tumble world of air travel. Oh yeah, it also has compartments for smartphones and sunglasses. Note: When it comes to luggage, and every other piece of gear mentioned, online prices are all over the place. Make sure you shop around.

Other Stuff

Here's some other tips. Make sure you travel with a multi-outlet, multi-usb power strip with a 9 foot cord, plenty of chargers and cables, zip lock bags for cords, cables, and dirty laundry. Finally, and this a Great tip: disposable hair net bags to wrap your stinky, street grime infected shoes. You can also wrap the hotel remote and telephone handset in them for a layer of germ protection.


     

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

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

Erin Levine You Are A Star!

Divorce lawyer Erin Levine is a friend. She also reads this blog. I know the latter to be true because, as a friend, she tells me that she reads this blog. On top of all that, Erin is now an internet star.  No, I am not talking about her new legal start-up, Hello Divorce. I am talking about her appearance on Lawyerist.com.

Erin's Desk!
(Didn't know if she would be happy with me putting a picture of here here?)
Lawyerist.com is one of my favorite blogs. Lots of great lawyer stuff. One of my favorite sections of the blog is its How Lawyers Work feature. Each week Lawyerist has an interview with a lawyer about his or her work space, and the technology he or she uses.  Fun stuff (with pictures).

Guess what? This week Erin is the featured star in How Lawyers Work. Yahoo!!!! Click here to check her out! Erin, when next we meet I shall bow to your celebrityness!! Way to Go!

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

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Are You Happy?

According to a survey conducted by the State Bar of Texas, most of us lawyers are satisfied with our jobs.  11,000 lawyers were surveyed, and a slim 13.5% said they were dissatisfied with being a lawyer. That's pretty good.

I know I complain about the biz, but at the end of the day I would say I am satisfied with my chosen career. I get to do intellectually challenging work. I am a member of a learned trade. I get to work in comfortable physical spaces. I earn a decent living. What more can you ask for?  Well, I guess if I were to stick to the Caddyshack mantra, I could hold out for total consciousness....

Above The Law has a lot more info on the survey. Please click here for the whole story.

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

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Joys of a Home Office

Da Bear.
Therapist, Centurion,
Expert Witness on the issue of napping,
Counter Surfer
First off, I am a firm believer in the traditional brick and mortar law office. For me it is important to have a place dedicated to work and my law practice. I can control the environment. I make it louder or quieter. It is secure, and private. It gets me closer to my co-workers. Also, I firmly believe family law clients expect an office (rather than a coffee shop or a public library). I believe a physical office is an important component of a lawyer's credibility and reputation. Other lawyers will argue contra, but for me a professional office is a must.

That having been side, I also have a wonderful home office that I use a lot. Being able to get away from my traditional office can be a real refresher. There is also a sense of comfort and satisfaction in being able to work from home in sweats and a t-shirt -- while still being able to be productive. Having the dogs running around can also be very therapeutic.




So, how do I make it work?

Below is a picture of my home office. I think it is pretty nice.



Big secret: I am writing this post from that very desk.  Could have just as easily been my law office desk. Who could have known?

What's really nice about my home office?
  • That wall of bookshelves in the back is what makes it. Plenty of storage to keep the space clutter-free. Also pleasing on the eye.
  • I have a Google Home device on the shelves to the right (a thank you gift for serving as President of the Northern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) so I can listen to music, check the weather, check traffic, etc.).
    • Jazz makes life so much better!
  • The windows let in light and fresh air.
    • Take a deep breatttthhhhhh....

What's functional about my home office?
  • The desk provides a large work surface.
    • I love the wood. My wife hates it because I bought it a Cost Plus.
  • There is a full-size, all-in-one, wireless printer/scanner/copier on the shelves to the left.
    • Can't tell you how many times I have had to print something before leaving for court.
      • Make sure you have plenty of extra paper and toner. That stuff tends to run out at the worst times.
  • I have a Mac (with its Giant screen) installed on an Ergotron adjustable platform. With it I can have a stand-up computer when I want it, or I can drop it down to desk level.
  • Google Wi-Fi allows for connectivity of everything
    • So nice not having a web of tangled wires laying around


Then there is the technology that really brings it all together.
  • Telephone.
    • At my brick and mortar office we have a VOIP telephone system from 8x8. 8x8 also has a virtual office app for smartphones, and virtual office software you can install on your c computer. I have it installed on my iPhone, my Mac, my Mac Book Pro. With the app I can forward office calls to my iPhone and computers. I can retrieve office voice mails from my other devices. The iPhone connects to the wi-fi network so that spotty cell coverage is a non-issue when making and receiving calls. No one on the other end of a phone call could ever guess I was not in the office.
      • Our 8x8 service also includes faxing, although faxes have pretty much gone the way of the Do-Do bird.
  • Mac Book Pro. Goes with me everywhere. Sitting on the desk at home it gives me a valuable second computer and monitor. Also gives me a change of scenery if I want to move away from the Mac.
    • Actually typing this blog post on it.
  • If I want a third computer or a third monitor, out comes the iPad Pro with keyboard.
  • Legal pad. Yep, there it is on the desk next to my laptop. 
    • Still gotta be able to jot things down...
  • The Cloud. Our law firm is almost entirely Cloud based. As such, I can work anywhere I have internet. Our Cloud system includes:
    • Office 365 for so, so, so much:
      • Multiple-platforms means full functionality on desktop computers, laptop computers, iPads, iPhones . . . . Anywhere, and on any device I've got:
        • Word
        • Excel
        • Outlook
          • A huge advantage being able to send, retrieve, and index emails from anywhere
        • Sharepoint. An online repository for all client files.
          • Like taking the office file cabinets with me wherever I go. Again, a huge advantage.
    • Rocket Matter
      • Simply the best practice management system out there! On every device I have all my contacts, cases, calendars, billing, documents and records. The list goes on and on....
    • Skype for direct, real-time communication with office colleagues. 
      • It's the modern intercom with video.
      • And, it is included with our Office 365 subscription.
    • LogMeIn. Occasionally I will need to get on my desktop PC at my law office. LogMeIn let's that happen.
Virtual lawyering, home lawyering, remote lawyering, satellite lawyering, smart lawyering . . .  Call it what you want, a home office can be a real treat! With a couple of exceptions, it can be a duplicate of your regular office, Mine is pretty fancy. It can just as easily be a folding chair and table and a laptop in the corner of an apartment (or even less). Change is good. A home office is a great change of pace for me.

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

And The Best New Laptop Is?

PC Magazine has release its list of best laptop computers for 2017. And the winner is?

At an average street price of $265, the Acer Chromebook 14!

Here's what PCMag has to say about Chromebooks in general:

These power-efficient systems are made primarily to surf the Internet using Chrome OS. Small in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose, and wide of vision, Chrome OS is essentially the Google Chrome browser running on hardware specs that would be considered "tight" for a Windows PC. System memory is typically a lean 2-4GB, and local storage is commonly limited to 16GB of flash memory (though you will see systems with 32-64GB). But that's certainly enough to get on to the Internet, where cloud services like Google Drive store your files.
A primary benefit of Chrome OS is that it is relatively immune to the malware plaguing Windows systems, because you're not running Windows programs at all. Chrome OS updates also take seconds, rather than the minutes and hours you'll wait on macOS and Windows. If you spend more than 90 percent of your computer time in a Web browser, you should have no trouble using a chromebook as your primary PC.

As for the Acer:

The Acer Chromebook 14$264.99 at Amazon has an expansive 14-inch screen that's easier on the eyes and likely to serve a wider audience. Add to this sturdy all-metal construction, almost 12 hours of battery life, a full HD screen, and above all that competitive price, and you have our top recommendation for chromebooks.
Acer photo


If you are looking for a more robust machine, PCMag says the HP Spectre x360 13, with a street price of $1200, is the one to choose.

The original HP Spectre x360 was a hit when it debuted back in 2015, and we liked the 2016 model even more. It's back again this year, keeping much of what we love, but adding a refined design and a super sharp 4K touch screen. In addition to the UHD display, the latest HP Spectre x360 13 (starts at $1,199; $1,599 as tested) packs USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, plenty of fast SSD storage, and a chic new color scheme. Given the upgrades to what was already our top choice for high-end convertible laptops, the 2017 model is an easy Editors' Choice pick.
HP photo

I just got me the new Mac Book Pro, which I love. It is also a PCMag Editor's Choice. But of course, it also the highest price laptop on the list.

MacBook Pro CNET photo


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

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Great Tools to Broadcast your Windows Computer to a Big Screen TV

I have had a large, flat panel television hanging from my office wall for years. I use it to draft and
review documents with clients, to show DissoMaster to clients, etc., etc. It is an incredibly useful tool, and can really add to the efficacy of client meetings and settlement meetings.

My original set-up for the system was a big job.  It required hard wiring because wireless technology for such a system was not around yet. The wiring for the project was two ethernet cables pulled up and down walls, and across ceiling crawl spaces, with USB adapters plugged into my PC and the television. This original technology worked adequately, but not perfectly. There would be a latency as the images moved to the TV, that could result in choppiness. Also, there was some kind of memory glitch that would necessitate rebooting my computer to clean things up after using the TV. The clarity the of the images was good, but not up to the full high resolution (HD) capabilities of the television.

I tucked the dreams of a better way to do it into the back of my mind... I got to thinking this week: How can I make it better? Then I had an epiphany.  How about Apple TV?

I brought my Apple TV from home and connected it to the TV. Of course I immediately had mirroring with my Mac Book Pro -- that has long been a standard feature of Apple operating systems. I needed a system for Windows....

Next I went to the internet and did a search for Apple TV with Windows. A slew of listings came up.  I spent about an hour clicking and viewing. Eventually I came across a website for a product called Air Parrot 2. Created by a company called Air Squirrels (you gotta love the names!), it is awesome! For $12.99 you get a piece of software that allows your Windows PC to wireless share content with other devices. In my case it allows my Windows PC to connect via our office wi-fi with the Apple TV plugged into my big screen TV. It also works with Macs and Chrome.

Set up could not have been simpler. My Windows PC screen fills the entirety of the television's screen (no black bars along the sides of the TV screen). There is no latency or chopping. And I get HD resolution! Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!



Utilizing big screens really ads to the practice. Now the technology makes it easier to do. Combined with the ever dropping prices for really nice, really big, flat panel TVs, there is little reason not to do it.

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

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Office365 is Micrososoft's Future

Jeff Bennion is a lucid law practice technologist. The writing on his virtual wall says Office365 in Big Letters. This week he posted a great article on Above The Law. In the article Jeff makes the following observation:
For years now, Microsoft has been acquiring companies and integrating them with Office 365 and Windows 10 to let you do more from places other than your desk. For example, the new Timeline feature takes advantage of the artificial intelligence working in the background of Windows, and lets you start a document at work, and when you pick up your cell phone or go to another computer it will ask you if you want to pick up where you left off, regardless of whether that file is on your computer. If it’s not on your computer, it downloads it and you can get to work seamlessly.
Jeff also notes the upcoming release of new Surface computers from Microsoft:
So, today [May 23, 2017] Microsoft is having its conference in Shanghai to announce new Surface computers. What does that mean for lawyers though, whose Outlook calendars and pleading templates work just as well on a fourth-generation Intel i5 than on a seventh-generation i7? Does it really matter what the new computers are and how fast they can do things?
The answer is yes, but not because we need faster, better computers. It’s because between the hardware changes that are coming and the software changes, manufacturers are rapidly trying to change work culture to encourage mobility and remote working. We are right in the middle of a huge work culture change, which includes law practices, and it’s being driven in part by these new things coming out.
Jeff is giving us lawyers a heads up that we have to start getting ready now for the inevitable transformation of computing to the cloud. His big statement:  We are going mobile.
The Death of the DesktopIt is my prediction that desktop computers in the office will be gone in five years. As we’ve seen in big law firms, more law firms will rely on employees working from home. That will be hastened by the technology that is allowing that transition to happen more smoothly. 
This message does not come as a shock to me. As someone who has been telecommunting for three decades, the pattern makes sense. People are mobile. Why shouldn't our computing platforms be able to follow us, rather than tying us down. Mobile technology equals convenience. Convenience equals efficiency. Efficiency makes for better performance, be it sales, writing, practicing law, anything!


Get ready folks, the transformation will be a lot easier if you go with it rather than fighting it. If you are not already there, you need to start looking to the cloud. If you are a Microsoft Word of Excel addict, you better start learning more about Office365.
Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 
Please click here to read the entirety of Jeff's brilliant article.

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Small Firm Legal Marketing Blog

I am always on the look out for new sources of information to help make the practice of law more efficient, more pleasant, more profitable. To that end I recently find a new blog that I think is pretty good: The Small Firm Legal Marketing blog. Produced by a Washington DC personal injury lawyer who only gives us his first name, Maxwell (sort of a lost marketing opportunity on his part), the blog includes tips into search engine optimization, product reviews, and social media plans.

The blog is pretty new, but I think it has a lot of potential. While not grand in scope or content (kind of matches this blog in that respect) it is worth a click, so click here to visit smallfirmlegalmarketing.com.

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, May 2, 2017

Office 365 Report

Well, it has been a couple of weeks since we implemented Microsoft's Office 365 Business Premium. On the whole I would say I am most enthused. Having all Microsoft Office products (Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.) on all of my hardware is great! Likewise, being able to go live with Outlook regardless of device or location is a huge convenience. And for $12.50 per user per month, you cannot beat the cost!

Remember we made the switch after Rocket Matter -- our Great practice management software -- released its Office 365 integration features. Those new tools are also proving to be a great addition to our practice, particularly the new email integration tools.

Of course, we are talking about Microsoft here, so I am not going to say everything has been problem free. Office 365 requires a new way of thinking, and it has been mind numbing at times. I have bought books and reviewed dozens of blogs and chat groups as part of the learning curve. Of course, there are also hiccups. We have not completely moved all of our files to the cloud because we are still struggling with some Sharepoint and OneDrive formatting requirements. We are still getting used to finding those cloud based files and documents. While in court yesterday I tried to review some pleadings on my iPad. It did not go as smooth as glass. With time there will come familiarity. I am not worried.

I have been a proponent of maintaining a mobile practice for decades. Office 365 is a major development in that regard. It was the right move to make.

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

#Microsoft #office365 #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mindfulness and Balance

Today I write to you about meditation. What does meditation have to do with technology and law practice? Quite a bit thank you. Let me elaborate.

About a year ago I was having dinner with another family law lawyer as part of a dine around program at a CLE conference. He is a long time friend, and as friends do we talked about law, our lives, our families, etc. Eventually we got to the topic of stress, and how much of it there is in a family law practice. As we were talking about stress, my mood went down. My buddy's mood stayed high. I asked him how he was able to keep his spirits up even though we were each sharing some real stress stories with one another? He explained that he had begun meditating...

Meditation, really? I responded. Here is where the technology comes in. He explained that he had downloaded an app to his phone, and that everyday he was dong his app-based meditation. That it was really helping him to manage the stress in his life, and that I should give it a go.

Stress, stress, stress!  Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety! Frustration, frustration, frustration! As family law lawyers it is there.

My curiosity piqued, I began researching the topic of mediation, and methods of doing it. Here is the family law practice part. The virtues of meditation have been extolled for thousands of years. I had just never given it much thought. But the more I researched, the more impressed I became with the asserted physical and mental health benefits. Wouldn't we all be better family law practitioners if we could manage our stress and anxiety more effectively?

I tried a slew of different iPhone apps. Glenn Harrold has become a favorite. The really life changer for me though is an app/website called Headspace. A subscription service, Headspace has an app for smart phones, and a very nice website. Now I am going to pirate from that website.

www.headspace.com
On your mobile and tablet, you can listen to Headspace on the go and download sessions to use offline. On your computer, you can play any session, any time. The techniques used within the Headspace app have been refined and developed over many centuries, passed down from teacher to student. The intention of these techniques is to cultivate awareness and compassion so that we might better understand the mind, as well as our relationship with the world around us. With this as our focus, we view any kind of health benefit beyond the development of awareness and compassion as a helpful byproduct or positive side-effect of regular meditation.

Headspace has single sessions and series sessions focusing on sleep, stress, anxiety, sports, health, relationships, performance, and on and on. You get comfortable, put your headphones on, and listen to the guided meditation sessions. You set the length of the session you want at 10, 15, 30 minutes, and go through it work-free.

For me this stuff absolutely works! The programs are guided programs. Andy Puddicombe, one of the founders of Headspace and the person who narrates the programs, does all of the work for you. I don't have to struggle to learn mediation. It is fed to me by the app. That I love. I also love feeling better, having more energy, and having a clearer mind. I am definitely a believer.

I get it. It is easy to be a skeptic. I was. Then I gave it a try. I am better off for it. If it works for me, I am sure it can work for you. Give it a try. What have you got to lose other than stress and anxiety!

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, April 18, 2017

News From Lisbon

The European Chapter Meeting for the International Academy of Family Lawyers was held in March in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal. As always the IAFL put on a fantastic meeting.

On the unofficial agenda this year the hot topic was The UK's exit from the European Union (i.e,, "Brexit"). How family law practice in Europe will be affected is still open to speculation. Second on the lively debate forum was new President Trump...

On the formal agenda topics discussed included international relocation and the evolving areas of same sex families and also transgender law. These topics are equally relevant here in the U.S., and given the amount of time invested in them at the Lisbon meeting, there is every indication that these areas of practice that will have increasing impact on our family law practices.

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Day 2 of the Office 365 Migration

OK, where are we at?

Migrating data over to Office 365 is not a task for novices. I learned that from reading reviews online, and was advised of same when I was on the phone with Microsoft sales for the purchase of our Office 365 subscriptions. My friends at Rocket Matter referred me to Lisa Hendrickson. She Rocks!

Lisa runs a consulting service called CallThatGirl. She is a remote service provider. By that I mean she does not do a personal, physical site visit. Instead she logs into your machines remotely, and does her thing over the internet. Quite handy.


Lisa has been busy copying data, backing up data, posting data, and setting things up. The migration is done, but took hours time as gigabytes of data were moved. It is a time consuming process. So much so that Lisa had the migration run overnight. That gets us here to Day 2. Witing for all the data to transfer....

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

#Office365 #Office365migration #callthatgirl #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Monday, April 10, 2017

Migrating to Office 365

Regular readers will remember that about a year ago we made a major shift to our case management when we migrated from AbacusLaw to Rocket Matter. The move was not without its hiccups, but we are thrilled with Rocket Matter. It is a cloud based system. Updates come often. It is reliable and innovative. They are still ironing out their credit card interface, but that too is impressive as it improves. I have become a huge Rocket Matter booster!  The latest major innovation from Rocket Matter is its ability to integrate with Microsoft Office 365.


Microsoft has been pushing 365 for about a decade as it has determinedly pushed cloud based computing. For a decade I have resisted because of internet security concerns, and because it usually takes Microsoft a decade before its product(s) evolve to a point of reliability and efficient usefulness. I started researching 365 on my own about a year ago. I did not make the switch because I was still nervous. However, 365's security now gets endorsements from all the major bar associations and legal techies. It has evolved to be a pretty good Mac application. A lot of the customary Microsoft bugs and wrinkles have been ironed out.


With the new Rocket Matter 365 integration I have decided to make the switch. If all goes as planned the technology side of my practice will be entirely cloud based. All case management. All document handling. All file storage. All libraries. With Rocket Matter and 365 I will be able to access my entire office from my desk at the office, from my Mac Book Pro when on the road, and from my Mac at home. The idea of remote computing by logging into my office computer with a connection like LogMeIn or GoToMyPC will be unnecessary. I will have the full slate of Microsoft applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote . . . .). All of the programs will feature the latest version. There will be no software maintenance for me, I will have 1 Terabyte of cloud storage. All of my files will be available to me anywhere and everywhere. And I get it all for $12.50 per month per user! WOW!

If things go as planned, I will be able to track and add time to my Outlook emails, sync contacts and calendars automatically on all my devices, upload documents and files, leverage full document versioning, and so much more. The prospects make me giddy!

Of course, the dreams rarely correspond with the reality. The transition is underway. I have installed the Office 365 apps on all my devices. Today we migrate our data and email. I am working with a consultant recommended by Rocket Matter. I will let you know how that goes. Stay tuned!

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

#office365 #rocketmatter #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

21st Century Lawyer



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

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

Tech Tips from the Tech Show


I have never had the good fortune of attending the ABA's Tech Show. I hear it is awesome. The calendaring of the event just never seems to synch with my schedule -- although I will keep trying to make it happen...

attorneyatwork.com
Over at attorneyatwork.com there is a great post featuring tips and takeaways from this year's Tech Show. Sharon Nelson, John Simek, Jim Calloway, Deborah Savadra, Natalie Kelly, Darla Jackson, Tom Lambotte, Reid Traut, and Nora Regis share their favorite tips gleaned from the program. Apps, tricks, shortcuts, and program reviews are all mentioned.

Please click here for this very informative read.

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

#abatechshow2017 #attorneyatwork #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tips For Accepting Credit Cards In Your Practice

Accepting credit card payments from clients can be a huge benefit to your bottom line. However, there is a learning curve. When you accept payments your processor is going to collect a fee, and depending on who you are using that fee can be quite expensive. To help you understand better I direct your attention to a post from the ABA's Law Technology Section.
Accepting credit cards—namely Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express—  helps a company in many ways. However, it is important to avoid the pitfalls associated with taking a credit card for payment. Just like we need to maintain our health by exercising regularly, law firms must exercise their financial acumen when analyzing whether or not they have the best credit card program for their practice. . . 
Credit card fees are confusing. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express maintain different rate structures depending on the type of card and on how a transaction is processed. The associations that manage the interchange fees present rates in different forms such as qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Credit card companies also have other fees such as batch fees, debit fees, annual fees, voice verification fees, and address confirmation fees.  I think you understand the point: This can get really tricky and confusing!
This article goes a long way to resolving the confusion. If you are accepting credit cards, you need to understand what it is costing you. If you are considering credit card payments you need to know what to expect. Click here to read the entire article, with answers to these questions.

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

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Specialty Blogs Work The Best

If you are going to take the time to publish a blog, it may as well generate some business for you, right? Well, the key to that success would appear to be a very tight focus. Thanks to our friend Kevin O'Keefe for letting us re-post his recent article on niche law blogs. Yours truly is a St. Mary's College alum, and thus wise in the ways of college basketball. Kevin cheers for Gonzaga, so we must hold that against him. Nonetheless, he does know blogs, which almost evens out his character score. Here is what Kevin writes on niche blogs:

Most large law firms publish law blogs by traditional practice groups. There are over 130 employment-law blogs being published by Am Law 200 firms, alone. 

The 2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market from Georgetown Law and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, widely labeled as the “Georgetown Report,” signals that publishing blogs focused on general practice areas is misguided. 

Niche-focused publications demonstrating subject matter expertise are key. 

Why? The erosion of the traditional law firm franchise over the last ten years. Clients are disaggregating work and allocating work to different law firms based on subject matter expertise established, in part, through niche blog publishing. 

From the Georgetown Report: 
One significant result of this disaggregated approach is that the client’s relationship with its outside counsel may – and often does – shift from a traditional client/trusted advisor relationship to more of an ad hoc, transactional relationship. In the latter model, the outside lawyer becomes less of a counselor with respect to the overall matter and more of a provider of specialized services that the client is unable to provide internally or acquire more effectively elsewhere.  
Fox Rothschild, which publishes thirty-seven law blogs, is one law firm that recognizes the disaggregation concept in its approach to blogging. 

Mark L. Silow, firmwide managing partner for Fox Rothschild, recently told Bloomberg Law that he’s amazed both by the amount of traffic that the firm’s blogs attract and by the amount of business that they generate. According to Silow, a niche focus is key: 
The thing that we encourage, and actually insist on in our bloggers is that they be very focused, that they be very specific. We would never approve of someone who says I am going to write a litigation blog. It has to be much narrower, much more focused. 
Why does Silow insist on niche blog publications?
Clients are hiring experts. They are not hiring law firms, they are not hiring generic lawyers, they are hiring experts. If you can blog today on a decision that came out this morning involving a really specific technical aspect of the law, you have now portrayed yourself as a current expert. 
Silow’s thinking closing parallels the findings of the Georgetown Report:
The buzz word is disaggregation, where clients, especially the larger and more sophisticated clients, are no longer saying “Fox Rothschild is my law firm, whatever legal issues I have pick up the phone and call Fox Rothschild.” They have now have litigation counsel for this, they have litigation counsel for that kind of issue. They have tax counsel, real estate counsel, securities counsel, and all kinds of counsel.” 
Those who can project and have the real specific expertise are getting more and more work.
There’s little doubt Fox Rothschild is outperforming the majority of large law firms on the blog front. The reason is a proactive and strategic focus. Rather than the tired and old marketing and business development by practice groups with a large number of lawyer bloggers, Fox Rothschild looks to opportunities for growth.

Fox Rothschild’s blogs can have as many as six or eight bloggers, but a good number have two to three bloggers, with some as few as one. The firm is tapping into the interests and passions of its lawyers in order to establish firm niche expertise.

Fox Rothschild’s business success is in line with the findings of the Georgetown Report:
There are, of course, many reasons that some law firms outperform others – including historic location, practices, and client base – but there are two characteristics that seem to have emerged over the past several years as particularly important in marking firms as likely winners: strategic focus and proactive response to the needs and expectations of clients.
Though there are exceptions, general practice oriented blogs struggle, especially to start. The blogs do not become must-have publications for clients, including in-house counsel. The blogs do not get shared on social media. The blogs do not get cited by reporters, bloggers, or the courts.

As a result, the lawyers’ interest in blogging wanes, and the blog shows it. The firm has wasted an opportunity (and often hundreds of thousands of dollars in collective lawyer time).

Legal blogs present an opportunity for lawyers and law firms to make a name for themselves as subject matter experts. But follow the wisdom of the Georgetown Report and Fox Rothschild. Go niche law blogs.

2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market [Thomson Reuters]

Kevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) is the CEO and founder of LexBlog, which empowers lawyers to increase their visibility and accelerate business relationships online. With LexBlog’s help, legal professionals use their subject matter expertise to drive powerful business development through blogging and social media. Visit LexBlog.com.

LexBlog also hosts LXBN, the world’s largest network of professional blogs. With more than 8,000 authors, LXBN is the only media source featuring the latest lawyer-generated commentary on news and issues from around the globe. Visit lxbn.com now.

Please click here for the original of Kevin's article.


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

#kevinokeefe #blogs #nicheblogs #lawblogs #marketing #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

How to Market Your Law Firm in Today’s Online World

As new technology emerges and new trends take over, how we market our business changes. You have to keep up in order to stay relevant, an...