By On Sep 28, 2018 Form Templates
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.
Some lawyers, especially less experienced ones being encouraged to avoid legalese, end up turning blithely informal and flouting the norms of standard English, especially in email messages. For example, they might write "u" instead of "you" and "cd" instead of "could." Some even use emoticons. Even if you find yourself working for a firm where some people do these things, exercise restraint. Use conventional punctuation and capitalization in your email messages. Your colleagues wont think any less of you, and your supervisors will appreciate your professionalism.
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.
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