Have you ever found yourself working over the weekend or into the evening to catch up on work? While we all should strive to attain a better work/life balance, there will inevitably be a time when we need to work during non-business hours. If you find yourself in this position—particularly with finding the time to catch up on emails—I recommend considering the use of delayed or scheduled emails.
Recent studies have shown email notifications received after hours can be a source of stress for lawyers. While access to email after hours provides flexibility, care should be taken to avoid burnout, and we should also demonstrate consideration for our colleagues. Just because I have found myself in a position where I am catching up on the weekend, it shouldn’t mean that I expect a response from my colleagues over the weekend as well. A good way to alleviate this expectation—even if it is a false one—is to use the delay/schedule email option. This option will allow you the time to compose your catch-up emails, but delay sending them until a later date (ie., Monday morning at 8:00 a.m).
To delay emails in Outlook (PC):
Go the Options Tab.
Select Delay Delivery.
Under Delivery options, select the Do not deliver before check box, and then click the delivery date and time you want.
When you're done composing your email message, select Send.
After you click Send, the message remains in the Outbox folder until the delivery time.
Google recently (April 2019) added a scheduling feature to Gmail. Before that, you needed a third-party extension for this capability. For instruction on how to now delay/schedule an email within Gmail, check out the recent article on How to Geek.
To delay emails in Outlook (Mac):
Compose your email message and include one or more recipient names on the To: line.
On the Send button, select the dropdown arrow > Send Later.
Enter a time and date.
Select Send. The message will be saved in the Drafts folder until the specified date and time. It will be sent even if Outlook is not open on your computer.
We’ve all experienced it: the email flood. Whether it’s due to a pro se opposing party who doesn’t have a day job or a slew of “unsubscribe” “reply all” listserv emails, sifting through dozens of obnoxious messages makes the practice of law much (but needlessly) more difficult.
Rather than sorting or deleting the problematic emails one by one, set up a “rule” in your email application that sends them somewhere other than your inbox. To do so in Outlook, click on “File,” then “Info,” and look down the list of buttons until you find “Manage Rules & Alerts.” There you can ask Outlook to automatically move certain emails to a specific, separate folder. And Outlook can sort emails based upon a slew of conditions, including sender, subject line, and the content. By using the appropriate rule, you can review your inbox much more easily and manage the problematic emails as necessary.
By Tammy King, Professional Development & Pro Bono Director, Washburn University School of Law
Do you use Microsoft Outlook and Word and find yourself repeatedly copying and pasting the same boilerplate language from email to email or brief to brief? If you have sentences or whole paragraphs that you regularly use, consider adding them to your Quick Parts gallery. Quick Parts allows you to quickly and easily insert saved language into Outlook messages or Word documents.
Step One – Save Boilerplate Text to the Quick Parts Gallery
The next time you have a draft email or document on your screen and you see text that you use regularly, click on the “Insert” tab on the toolbar. Note: if you are using an Outlook reading pane, you will have to expand the message by clicking on “Pop Out”.
Highlight the block of text with your mouse and click on “Quick Parts” on the toolbar. Depending on your version of Word, Quick Parts may be identified only by an icon in the “Text” portion of the toolbar.
Click “Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery” to create your new building block of text. Select a Name for the text building block (e.g., Summary Judgment Standard of Review). In addition to naming the text building block, you can also assign it to a particular category for easy organization of your building blocks.
Step Two – Insert Previously Saved Language Into Your Next Email or Document
When you are ready to reuse previously saved language, click on the “Insert” tab on the toolbar. Note: if you are using an Outlook reading pane, you will have to expand the message by clicking on “Pop Out”.
Click on “Quick Parts” on the toolbar.
Click on the building block you want to add, and the text will be automatically inserted into your email or document.
It’s as easy as that! In no time, you’ll have a gallery of text building blocks created that you can reuse in future documents or messages.
Because links can be disguised, there is always a potential they could lead to virus or malware infections. Thankfully, the risks posed by links can be significantly reduced by hovering over a link before you click. Most programs that allow for the use of links have the capability to show where the link is going.
As an example, when moving a cursor over a link without clicking (i.e., hovering) in Firefox—a web browser—the link location shows up in the bottom left-hand corner:
Or, when hovering over a link in Microsoft Outlook, it shows up as shown below:
If the address shown when you hover seems odd or is overly long and complicated, rethink whether you really want to click. You can also consider other ways to get the information you want, like doing a Google search for the content on your own or calling the purported sender to verify that the link is taking you where you are supposed to go.
The next time you click on a link, keep your eyes on the road and be sure to hover over the link so that you can see where you’re going.
By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator's Office
Microsoft Outlook has a "spell check" feature that can be helpful in preventing those pesky misspelled emails we all have sent when trying to reply quickly to a matter. The great thing about this feature is that it doesn’t just highlight the misspelled words in the email while drafting. In addition to highlighting the misspelled word, it also causes a pop-up window to appear after you have clicked send. This pop-up window allows you one last opportunity to fix the error by offering suggestions to correct the mistake.
For some reason, this feature comes turned off by default in Outlook. As a result, if you want to take advantage of it, you will have to turn it on. To turn on the Spell Check feature:
Click the File tab, and then click Options.
Click to turn on Always check Spelling before sending.
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Video communication is an inexpensive yet powerful tool that can help establish and maintain client relationships. The vastly improved quality, ease of use and low cost has propelled this technology to the forefront of many small businesses, including law firms.
Video calls and communication includes scheduled conference calls, but also routine calls – can now take place on the telephone.
Social scientists have been telling us for years that face-to-face communication where both sound and visual queues are used is the most beneficial form of communication – better than phone calls and far better than email or written correspondence. Video calls allow us to gauge the other person’s response to our message and spoken word. We can see facial expressions, gestures, head movements, body positioning, and shifting. We can see whether other participants are participating or distracted. We look for visual cues such as head nods and eye contact to see if our message is getting through, being rejected or being ignored.
Video technology is not complicated. Over 80 percent of American adults now own a smartphone equipped with a video camera. Many already use the video camera to communicate with friends and family, so why not their lawyer? Most laptop computers have built-in cameras, and HD-quality video cameras for office use cost between $50 and $100 and are easy to install.
There are also some easy to use products on the market for video calls and conferencing:
Zoom.us is my favorite. There is a free edition that allows the user to meet for an unlimited number of minutes with one other person (such as a lawyer/client). If the user wants to meet with a group, then there is a 40 minutes time limit and a limit of 100 users. But, there are also other inexpensive versions of the product – the business version is only $20 per month and the user can place unlimited video calls with up to 50 participants.
Introduce each client to your video communication efforts during the initial consultation. Let them know the benefits and that they can easily communicate with you using their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Consider adding a brief provision to your representation agreement, highlighting the understanding with each client to try to use this technology rather than the telephone or in-person meetings. Make a note in each client’s contact information which tools they have to communicate via video.
It may seem a bit strange at first not to pick up the telephone, but soon your clients will be thanking you, and you’ll be thankful you read this tip!
Thanks to the author of this article, Reid Trautz. Reid is the Director of the Practice and Professionalism Center of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a blogger on the issues of business process improvement, technology, legal ethics, and effective practice management. Reid is co-author of the ABA’s “The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success: Essential Tips to Power Your Practice” and a past ABA TECHSHOW chair.