I developed a FM database 6 years back when I started my solo legal practice. I had big plans for making it my all-in-one solution. But despite spending a great many hours working on it, I finally accepted that I couldn’t make it what I needed with my meager skills.
Now my “legal case management system” is a patchwork of apps with the main ones being Devonthink (doc mgt); toggl track + timery (billing); and ia writer + Microsoft word (doc creation).
The FM database was largely relegated to CRM/invoice tracker. For the limited feature set, it seems a little like overkill to keep using since (1) even the upgrade rate is $199, which I’ve previously had to fork over twice to maintain compatibility with Mac OS and (2) since FM cloud requires a minimum of 5 users and even hosting with a third party vendor requires a dedicated server, pushing the monthly subscription for same up to $50+, I figured it was time to try to convert. If my developer skills were up to snuff, it might be worth it to me to stick with FM, but they aren’t.
In 5 days and approximately 15 hrs, I’ve pretty much got Tap forms doing everything FM did for me, including mailing labels (dymo printer) and creating some layouts I use for a 15 page PDF form that our local court requires we complete with our clients. Just added each page of the form as an image and overlaid the relevant fields to complete the basic information (client name, case number, etc).
I also really like the “contact” field type. I typically like to keep clients’ phone numbers in my apple contacts, so I can set up the number to call from my business line on my esim, but I like to keep their mailing address in my database so I can use it for mailing labels and merge fields. By being able to reference the apple contact in the database, I can have both in the same place.
Creating relationships is as simple as selecting “one to many” and “many-to-many”. The app pretty much does the rest. The one place I got stuck was with making a bar chart showing how much I got paid each year. I posted a question on the forum and within a few hours Brendan responded with the right answer. Previous posts on the forum answered the rest of my questions.