Rescue Operation: A Home-Grown Application Breaks and a Law Firm Cannot Recruit Clients

An unsupportable, unviable application containing critical data stops working. Help4Access performs CPR, then quickly replaces the dying software.

Many law firms that specialize in class-action lawsuits must track large pools of potential clients. Often, they begin with a small-scale contact management application, only to realize they need a more robust system with fine granularity of detail. One such law firm had outgrown its ACT Contact Management database, and constructed its own Microsoft Access application for this purpose. Unfortunately, non-standard techniques were used to design and build the Access application and it was not performing correctly.

With major projects threatened, the remedy must be immediate

The firm’s mission of recruiting clients for nearly one-half billion dollars in potential claims was threatened. An immediate solution was imperative.

The law firm retained Help4Access to:

  1. Resuscitate the dysfunctional Access application temporarily, to enable vital, time-sensitive contact with potential claimants to continue;
  2. Migrate the existing data into an SQL database on a shared server;
  3. Design and build a new Microsoft Access application to completely replace the failed application, and to work as an easy front-end with the data stored in the SQL database;
  4. Decommission the ACT system and home-built Access application.

The Help4Access engineering team dove in immediately to perform critical bug fixes to the law firm’s in-house Access application, and simultaneously began to design and build a replacement application—following industry-standard practices to enable easy support and modification in the future.

Combining SQL Server, MS Access 2007, Remote Desktop, and VPN

Help4Access CEO Sasha Froyland explained that the law firm had made a good choice in Microsoft Access as a front-end reporting and analytic tool. “However, given the stability and speed needed, a combination of Microsoft Access/SQL database solution was a better fit.”

The Help4Access engineering team leveraged its expertise in the necessary technologies including SQL Server, MS Access 2007, Remote Desktop, and VPN to enable business continuity for the law firm, and then cut over to the replacement system.

Takeaway: A classic “rescue and replace” crisis where Help4Access performed CPR on the patient (the legacy application) while building a new replacement heart.