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Flahive, Ogden & Latson Application Development Case Study
As of 1998, Flahive, Ogden and Latson was using a 20-year-old custom-designed case management system that provided all functions related to case management. This included scheduling of attorneys, case tracking, physical folder tracking, accounts receivable (invoicing), automated faxing, document (forms) generation and the system held the central client contact database. The senior staff concluded that the system was not a viable solution for the future for the following reasons:
- Neither the RISC based System 36 hardware or the custom-written RPG software was Y2K compliant.
- Since the system had evolved over 20 years, only a handful of staff that could manage and maintain the old system.
- There were major revisions to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Law that would require significant changes to the existing system.
- There was a desire for new functionality to lessen the burden on existing staff. Specifically:
- Remote access to the central database from outlying locations.
- Reliable e-mail system
- Reliable enterprise faxing
- Compliance with Y2K
- Strong representation conflict checking.
MicroAssist created a solution for Flahive, Ogden & Latson using:
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Exchange with Outlook client
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Visual Basic
- Microsoft Access
- RightFax with Exchange Integration Module
- Microsoft RAS using Microsoft VPN technology
- Backup Exec
Flahive, Ogden and Latson's database system is centered on the following modules:
Case Management System
The Case Management System manages all information about a case including the attorney assigned, type and location of hearings, and outcome of hearings. The system includes extensive fully searchable notes fields and maintains a complete case history. The case management system also tracks numerous legislatively mandated and internal deadlines and automatically generates reports, e-mails, and mandatory faxes to the appropriate person based on these deadlines. This system also included a bar coding system that facilitated an extensive folder tracking repository.
Attorney Docket Management
The Attorney Docket Management System assigns attorneys to hearings. The system interfaces with Microsoft Outlook and places crucial tasks and appointments into the attorney’s calendar.
Remote Database Access
Approximately 80% of attorney time is spent off-site. Attorneys can perform the following functions in remote or stand-alone mode:
- Access the central database
- Synchronize any remote stand-alone database with the central repository.
- Create forms or reports at a remote location.
- Remotely fax all forms or reports from a remote location.
- Gain network access to forms stored on the central server.
- Gain access to attorney schedules.
This solution utilized Microsoft’s RAS server with PPTP, VPN technology. This allowed the attorneys and staff to securely work in a highly distributed environment yet retain full application and network functionality.
Group & User Based Security
Security for the FOL system is based on groups. All system screens, reports and other functions are restricted to particular groups of users. Security can be modified for individual users.
Representation Conflict Checking
The system will automatically check for possible case conflicts based on historical data. The resulting data is automatically emailed to the managing partner for evaluation.
The system interfaces with Microsoft Office to create over 200 forms. The system creates the form by getting the data from the SQL data store and integrating it with pre-defined forms in Microsoft Word. The system is designed so that it is easy for FOL personnel to create new Word-based forms.
The system is capable of record retrieval based on the unique information of the case, client, attorney and other data elements. For example, query by client name and attorney name. Query by hearing type and attorney name. Query by type of hearing, client name and hearing location. The system is also capable of full-text search of any data element.
The system maintains client profiles including billing rules, preferred attorneys, rules on legal research, etc. The profile information can be overridden on a case basis.
The system generates over a hundred reports for the firm. All reports are customizable by a trained user.
Automated and Manual Centralized Faxing
The system provided for automated faxing of several key notifications to customers through a simple interface with the fax system. The system automatically extracted data from the SQL database and created the fax, scheduled the fax to run after hours, created a log of successful and unsuccessful faxes and resent unsuccessful faxes. The fax solution was created using RightFax with the Exchange Integration Module and provided the basis for desktop fax capability as well as system integration.
Rules Based Billing System
The system automatically generates invoices for hearings based rules established by the Texas Workforce Commission and the contractual relationship between FOL and their clients. Client profiles can include information such as maximum number of billable hours per case, time increments, and limitations on billings.
Folder Tracking and Maintenance
The system provided for tracking of physical folders by using bar code-based identifiers.
- Project Manager
- Database Administrator
- System Analysts
- Forms Generation & Conversion Specialist
- Application Rollout Specialist
- Network Application Specialist
- Network Technicians
In about twelve months, MicroAssist successfully created a complete top-down solution that greatly exceeded the customer’s expectations. Flahive, Ogden and Latson continues to use the system for day-to-day operations of the firm and maintains a close relationship with MicroAssist.