By On Oct 08, 2018 Form Templates
If your client paid for song and verse, then thats what you give them. Increasingly, Unbundled Legal Services are becoming more common. In plain English, this means the attorney gets paid for something less than full representation through trial. That means you could be called on to write a nastygram letter to a defendant and thats it. Its good to make a good first impression, so make sure that your client gets what she pays for. And there isnt (to our knowledge) any ethical rule prohibiting writing letters before first drafting any sort of correspondence. Careful, however, of charging extra-high fees to write a simple letter that might run afoul of the ABA reasonable fees provision.
When given an assignment, ask plenty of questions. Read the relevant documents and take good notes. Learn all you can about the clients situation. If you are a junior asked to write a memo or a motion but you are not told anything about the clients actual problem, ask what it is in some detail. You must be adequately briefed—and thats partly your responsibility. Theres almost no way to write a good research memo in the abstract. As you are reading cases and examining statutes, you will be in a much better position to apply your findings if you know the relevant specifics.
Whether you are writing a research memo, an opinion letter or a brief, you will need an up-front summary. That typically consists of three things: the principal questions, the answers to those questions and the reasons for those answers. If you are drafting a motion or brief, try to state on page one the main issue and why your client should win—and put it in a way that your friends and relatives could understand. Thats your biggest challenge.
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