Life Advice: Remove The “Reply All” Button From Your Toolbar

Somehow, I ended up on the mailing list for ABA Journal and receive weekly e-mails of lawyer shenanigans and mistakes that prove costly. Here’s what ABA Journal sent out today:

A prosecutor in the Atlanta schools cheating scandal has been suspended for three days without pay after she mistakenly hit “reply all” when commenting about a defendant’s Stage IV breast cancer.

Assistant District Attorney Lori Canfield of Fulton County mistakenly sent a two-word comment to dozens of lawyers and others associated with the schools case, report the Daily ReportWABE and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Canfield commented after receiving notification that former schools superintendent Beverly Hall was too ill to attend trial or assist her lawyers, according to a doctor’s opinion. Canfield’s response: “Surprise, surprise.”

In a written statement, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the three-day suspension and said he was removing the lawyer from the trial team in the schools case. The statement did not mention Canfield by name, but the Daily Report, WABE and the Journal-Constitution all say Howard was referring to Canfield.

There’s a lot worse things that could be accidentally sent out in an e-mail than that.

I’ve always figured that the inclusion of a “Reply All” button on the toolbar was an ongoing private joke and source of amusement for web developers—it would be easy to turn the “Reply All” button into a pop-up that requires a checkbox confirmation before sending or developers could have put some kind of lock that would delay sending, so that only things truly intended to be sent out to everyone would actually do so.

But what a lot of people don’t know is that you can eliminate that source of mischief from your toolbar entirely or move it somewhere where you’re not accidentally inclined to click.

If you use Outlook, this Tech Republic article shows you how to “Eliminate Accidental Reply All In Outlook.”