The Ombudsman combines a client-server database, a graphical front-end, and various server processes to provide the small to mid-sized law firm the tools needed to manage information about clients and their cases, contacts, along with scheduling of work, time records, document generation, and electronic document management. It is designed to be flexible enough for most kinds of litigation. It tracks the kinds of things needed for both litigation and administrative practice, including tracking stages of work, facts to prove (with optional connection to a document relied on), and scheduling (deadlines, ticklers, list or graphical display).

Form Studio

The form generation module creates OpenOffice-format documents, which can be edited in OpenOffice, WordPerfect, and, with a plug-in, Microsoft Word (available free from Sun). Form Studio gives the user access to the power of SQL. Our Form Studio combines OpenDoc templates which have field tags in them with data from the database. This part is just basic canned forms. But the data, in turn, can consist of fields from the database, or anything that can be reduced to an SQL query. So you can start with canned forms pretty easily, and add more complex things as you go. The Form Studio combines the OpenOffice template with data located where you place field tags in the template, then opens them in OpenOffice (by default) for editing.

Document Manager

The document manager copies files into a document vault in their native format. It can optionally convert TIFFs into PDFs, except for a few TIFFs using a non-standard compression format which can’t be converted and are stored as TIFFs. The documents may be searched for using MySQL queries. Documents are usually related to a specific case, but this is optional. Each document is indexed by keywords, and numbered by Binder, Tab, and Number fields.

Documents may be viewed read-only, or may be checked out for editing. Or a case can be checked out, which puts read-write copies of each document on the user’s local hard drive and generates an HTML index to them. When the case is checked back in, any revisions are uploaded to the document manager and local copies are deleted.