In addition to knowing the structures and formalities of a business letter, a paralegal or legal assistant, must be familiar with the types of legal correspondence common to the field or practice of law in which he or she is working.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of correspondence that you might run across in a civil litigation practice:
- Transmittal Letter – letter used to send documents or information to the client. It is relatively short and should include a description of whatever is being transmitted or sent to the client.
- Confirmation Letter – letter used to confirm information, conversations, and/or important dates to the client. Typically it will follow a conversation or meeting with the client.
- Demand Letter – letter used to outline the client’s claims/demands for settlement. Typically such a letter will provide detailed information about amounts incurred, injuries sustained, damages or other information relevant to the client’s claim. The letter will also outline the relevant law and the client’s rights arising out of the law/legal relationship. Often a demand letter will include a dollar amount or other terms of settlement.
- Notice of Termination of Relationship – this letter is used by the lawyer to send notice to the client that he or she is no longer the attorney for the client. This may be sent after a meeting with a potential client during which the lawyer determined he or she was unable or unwilling to represent the client. It may also be used where the relationship between the lawyer and the client has broken down, and the lawyer is no longer ethically able to continue the representation.
- Conflict Letter – this letter may be used by the attorney to notify potential and/or prior clients that a potential conflict of interest exists between the clients that may impact the attorney’s representation of one or both of the clients. Typically such a letter will include a waiver of the potential conflict for the parties to sign.