TCS tries its hand at a PMS

Simon rogers reports

Legal systems supplier Total Computer Systems (TCS) has developed a new package for law firm practice management.

The Windows-based package is unusual because TCS is best known for its work with local government legal departments on its Psion-based time recording system.

It also relies heavily on the Lotus Notes database.

The system, OpenFile, is designed to run across a network and to cover legal procedures from beginning to end. Notes allows easy customisation of the package; full text search facilities; links with other standard databases (such as Oracle, Sybase or Progress) and integrates electronic mail with existing systems.

TCS's Jeff Lawler says the system is made up of several "mission critical" applications.

OpenFile also allows mobile working, which should put an end to numerous different copies of a file floating around a system.

"A partner working at home can make changes to a client file in full confidence that those changes will take place as soon as he's connected to the system," says Lawler.

TCS has produced a number of modules for the system. These include client management, which integrates document management, accounts information, file references with information on clients and diary information.

Precedents and documents can be stored on the system and a time recording facility can also be included.

The system also includes a cash flow module, which can generate daily and projected disbursement outlay and the window can be looked at by any partner.

The case management modules take users through stages in a case's development. They are available for specific areas, such as PI, matrimonial, litigation support and conveyancing.

Tyndallwoods in Birmingham has been involved in much of the legal development of Notes and the firm estimates it has reduced software costs per computer by 80 per cent.

The company is expected to sign on a high-profile northern practice this month.