Harding & Associates Family Law traces its roots back to 1989 when John Harding and his father, Merle, formed a law partnership in Pleasanton, California. Originally called Harding & Harding, the firm maintained a comprehensive civil litigation practice that included family law, personal injury, insurance defense, products liability defense, and commercial litigation. The practice focused on California matters, but represented clients, and made appearances throughout the United States. The firm started as a partnership of trial lawyers trying cases before judges and juries, and continues its commitment to trial practice to this day.
With the turn of the century Merle Harding began moving into retirement. Recognizing the ever more complicated nature of law practice, and the inherent value of specialization John Harding transitioned the practice to Harding & Associates Family Law. The firm practices family law exclusively. With offices in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek, the firm’s area of practice is Northern California, with an emphasis on Alameda County and Contra Costa County. The firm represents clients from across the United States, and by special arrangement will handle cases beyond its primary region of focus.
We are a firm of trial lawyers, not litigators. We are in court examining witnesses and arguing to judges on a regular basis. We approach pre-trial discovery as a tool to help prepare us to tell a convincing story at trial, not as an end to itself. We do not spend time on activities that build up hours but are unlikely to contribute to a successful outcome. We do spend time on activities that empower us to represent our clients at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Of course, not all cases go to trial. We would prefer to settle every case. Settlement produces an outcome sooner, cheaper, and with less anxiety. We have found that our clients get the best settlements when the opposition is convinced that we are not afraid to try the case. With our recognition as a premier trial firm and our preparedness to go to trial, our clients get a substantial advantage at the settlement table as well. Good trial lawyers get good settlements.
We make effective use of technology to do superior work with fewer lawyers in less time. We routinely use databases, transcript search programs, computer-based graphics, precedent retrieval systems, computerized legal research and other programs in ways that most other firms have not even considered. Our firm has pioneered the use of trial presentation software in family law trials, and we continuously test new technologies that help us present our arguments as clearly and persuasively as possible. We were one of the first family law firms to go “paperless.” All documents, emails, and records are converted to digital form. This allows us to work from anywhere, have the entire client file with us everywhere, and never be held back by the cumbersome banker box practice of law. Each lawyer has on his or her laptop immediate access to all pre-trial discovery, documents, deposition testimony, theory of the case documents, legal analyses, pleadings, database information, and everything else related to the case, which can be sorted and analyzed instantaneously in the office, at a deposition or at trial, without waiting for support personnel. This level of technical sophistication is rare in a family law practice. It gives us a tremendous advantage over firms that may have access to similar information but that require layers of support to access, manipulate, and present it.
We appreciate that we are a service firm. We deliver excellent legal representation on the wings of exemplary customer service. We handle a small number of high value cases, rather than operating a volume practice. It is not inexpensive to be represented by our firm. We cater to high net worth clients who expect a high level of service. The cases that we handle are complicated, and can be expensive. Because we know what we are doing, we can often resolve a case in a more efficient fashion than other law firms. However, we are not a discount law firm. We deliver on all counts, and our clients pay us accordingly. Our clients are our partners!