Most Dangerous Outlook Features for Lawyers

By Deborah Savadra

Of all the Microsoft Office applications in law offices, Outlook is hands-down the most frequently used. After all, who doesn’t need to handle email every day? But lurking in the shadows of your email routine are dangerous Outlook features that could jeopardize your law practice.

Here are two that trip up even seasoned Outlook users.

Auto-Complete

You probably use the Auto-Complete feature every day, and take it totally for granted. The moment you put your cursor in the To: field of an email and start typing, Outlook tries to predict the email address you want. It’s been tracking your email habits and building a list of names and addresses from the messages you send. So, the moment you type “b” in the To: field, it suggests several past addressees whose names begin with “b.”

But with an inadvertent slip of the mouse, that email you think you’re sending to law partner Barbara could instead be going to opposing counsel Barry. And if the message contains sensitive information about a client, you’ve just breached confidentiality.

To be 100 percent safe, you’ll want to disable Auto-Complete altogether. But if you’re too addicted to its convenience to ditch it, be sure you do these things:

1. Pause to examine the list of choices you’re presented with when you start typing, then pause again after you’ve chosen an addressee from the list. A little mindfulness here could save a lot of embarrassment…

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