The ?current categories may be too generic, leading to overlaps. A good place to start may be to look at the entities involved in a law practice that distinguish it from a generic business. Then we'll look at the relationships between them, which will then lead to functional requirements. We will see decomposing along the server/desktop opposition is problematic, because most important functions have both a server and a client/desktop component.



Matters, or cases, is not an entity type, but a general term for the relationships between the lawyers and the clients. This is the core of the law practice as a business. This is why "case management" software is sprinkled across the current categories. The rest of the law practice is like a generic business. So "case management" should obviously be a category, but maybe for only comprehensive packages. There are possibly 2 packages in the current list that are like that. There are packages that address only certain important aspects of cases, like logging of interactions with the various entities mentioned above, to include phone, email, and other receptions and transmissions, calendaring, and time and cost tracking. This last gets into accounting/billing, which should be broken out as a separate category, only because there are now many FOSS accounting packages. The intensive writing, collaborating on and re-using of legal documents make document processing a major category in itself, and one for which there should be already many packages, including search software. Legal research could be a category, but it is currently provided for by very generic tools like browsers, web search, and specialized legal information providers.

Proposed Categories