Tips For Writing a Legal Letter

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Below you can read good tips from legal specialists give for writing a legal letter.

Don't write too officially

Your text must be legally correct, but also understandable. Novice lawyers often write so officially that it's almost impossible to read. It's not necessary. Today's lawyers strive to write texts that are easy to understand for the average reader. Some courts have even expressed their intention to make their judgments so comprehensible that they are legible for children 12 and older. Write short and to the point, in a clear writing style, with a clearly structured message.

Write on behalf of your client

Do not make direct statements that you cannot prove yourself (“You stole a television...”), otherwise you'll be the one accusing someone! Keep yourself out of harm's way and act explicitly on behalf of your client (“My client says you have...”).

Be aware of the effect of your writing

As a lawyer, you need to be aware of the effect of your writing on the recipient. Often you want to hold the recipient accountable for something that caused harm to your client, but writing too offensive or accusingly can exacerbate conflict. You often have to use a more neutral tone to achieve the desired effect.

Ultimatum, term and next steps

Be clear. Set an ultimatum, state a term and describe the next steps. Based on this, someone can defend himself or estimate the consequences. You want to avoid sending a meaningless letter and then 'stuffing a summons through someone's letterbox'.

Match your writing style to the recipient

Think about who you're writing the legal letter to and adapt your writing style to the recipient. If you're writing to a lay person, don't immediately start writing articles of law and case law. You write a different letter to a lawyer than to a client or other party. In the latter case, your language should not be too legal. Translate the legal jargon and articulate the legal issue in common people's language. Keep it business-like and don't write popular!


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