Welcome

Thank you for visiting the Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog. My name is John Harding. I am a family law lawyer practicing in Northern California. Long ago I realized that I could practice law more effectively and more efficiently (i.e., better and easier) by availing myself of the technological tools that are out there. I also learned that a successful law practice requires successful marketing. Hardware and software working together make me a better lawyer, and make my life easier. Marketing helps to bring in the business necessary for professional survival. By this blog I hope to share the tips, tricks, and technology that I have learned about so that others may benefit!

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.  

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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 

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