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Microsoft Outlook is a fixture in most law offices and many lawyers use it for more than just email. It can be a “lite” practice management software program by using the calendar to track tasks and the address book to maintain client contact information.

Outlook wasn’t designed with the particular needs of lawyers and firms in mind but with a few third-party add-ons you can increase your efficiency and organization. These add-ons are either free, or free to try and pay later. And unless otherwise indicated, all the add-ons should work with any version of Outlook.

1. Auto Follow Up
This program lets you select emails you want to track for replies. If no reply is received in the amount of time you specify, the software notifies you and offers to automatically send a follow up email to the contact stating that you are waiting for a reply.

When composing an email with multiple recipients, you can select who you wish to monitor for replies.

Unlike the built-in follow-up feature in Outlook, this add-on doesn’t require the recipient to be using Outlook as well.

The program is free to try as a trial version.

2. No Reply All
If you send lawyers or staff in your firm a message with sensitive information that you don’t want accidentally ending up in the wrong hands (e.g. opposing counsel, journalists, etc.) use this free add-on from Microsoft. It prevents the recipient from replying-all or forwarding the email.

While recipients don’t need to have the same add-on installed, they must be on the same Exchange server.

3. Recover My Email
Mistakenly deleted email messages, attachments, or contacts can be a headache. This add-on can undelete messages in most cases, for those without an Exchange account (who could otherwise attempt to recover the emails from their backup server).

Also for those not using an Exchange account, this add-on can attempt to repair a corrupt PST file (the file that stores all your email folders, messages, contacts, etc.) and save the recovery results into a new error-free file.

The trial version of this add-on is free, but it only allows you to preview the results. You will need to purchase the full version to save your recovered emails or PST files (note: currently only available up to Outlook 2010).

4. TwInBox
For social media-savvy lawyers, this add-on lets you manage your Twitter account directly from Outlook. You can compose and post Tweets, archive and search your Tweets the same way as your emails, see Tweets directed at you in your Inbox, and much more. For Twitter power users who have their Outlook open at work all day, it’s one less program to manage.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of LAWPRO Magazine. All past issues of LAWPRO Magazine can be found at www.lawpro.ca/magazinearchives