Volume 10, no. 2
Letter Openers: “Dear OC...”
It’s late. You’re tired. And that scathing request to opposing counsel for documents (months overdue) is still a blank page on your computer screen. You ask yourself: Do I really want to burn the midnight oil—again?
The GPSSF Section knows your pain and offers Letter for Litigators by Daniel L. Small and Robin Page West.
The 238-page book provides letters to clients, opposing counsel, witnesses, the courts, and others involved in the litigation process. As the authors—both trial lawyers—note, properly composed letters give “structure and flow” to a litigator’s practice, documenting actions taken and requests made. In this fast-paced world of e-mail, instant messaging, and voice-mail, a letter, whether electronic or paper, helps both you and your staff keep track of valuable communications.
But time is also valuable, so why do the work yourself (or assign it to staff) when Lawyers for Litigators provides more than 200 templates for letters that cover just about every conceivable situation? Included is a CD-ROM with the letters in both Word and WordPerfect.
Along with an introduction that offers advice on how to effectively create and use correspondence in your law practice, the book and CD includes the following material:
• Outreach/inquiry letters —to client: personal injury follow-up, inquiry follow-up, telephone follow-up, referral follow-up, responsive pleading follow-up, investigation marketing, medical authorization.
• Retention letters —medical defense; insurance company confirm; medical plaintiff follow-up; insurance client confirm; personal injury follow-up; contingent fee cover letter; client letter, third-party payor; time billing with retainer, no retainer, and evergreen; contingency fee, local counsel; hourly/retainer; flat fee agreement; expert; co-counsel.
• Declination letters —contingent fee: employment, general, whistleblower (specific and general), medical malpractice (specific and general), negligence.
• Billing letters —cover letter; payment plan; collection; evergreen; request for client to advance expenses.
• Withdrawing representation letters —general and contingency fee.
• Demand letters —consumer protection; lease; contract nonpayment; professional fees; business defamation; employment, sexual harassment; personal injury, PI alternate, PI post-suit; notice to quit; administrative tribunal.
• Response letters —employment.
• Mediation/arbitration letters —to opposing counsel for mediation scheduling; to client for mediation scheduling, mediation statement.
• Complaint/answer letters —to the court: complaint, sealed complaint, court answer; to opposing counsel: extension of time, complaint; to client: draft complaint, answer and scheduling letter, forwarding complaint, insurer’s counsel.
• Written discovery letters —to opposing counsel, requesting: discovery, service on counsel, overdue (perfunctory and detailed), incomplete, follow-up to document request, follow up to interrogatory, supplement request, follow-up; to opposing counsel responding: general purpose, document production (and supplement), responses, interrogatory supplement, expert witness disclosure, follow-up continuance; to client: request interrogatory response, request document response, forward draft interrogatory response, interrogatory response, discovery meeting, responses, requesting documents.
• Deposition/examination letters —to opposing counsel: scheduling and alternate, medical examination scheduling; to client: notice, scheduling, review transcript, errata sheet, status.
• Motions letters —pretrial submissions; multiple pleadings; court order to client; requesting action.
• Trial letters —client scheduling; fact witness inquiry; expert witness: client letter, deposition review, medical examination, scheduling.
• Local counsel letters —retention fee agreement; follow-up: service, experts, discovery, deposition, status.
• Settlement letters —to client: demand, offer, begin negotiations, finalize distribution of contingency fees, closeout; to counsel: memorializing settlement – error in release, enclosing executed release.
• Ethical letters —challenge to conflict; conflict, individual; contact with employees.
• Administrative/other proceedings letters —opposing request for postponement; enclosing brief.
• Government investigations letters —to client: confirming, joint defense cover letter, scheduling, forwarding transcripts; to others: letter to agency, third-party documents, government records response.
To order, call the ABA Service Center at (800) 285-2221 or order online at www.ababooks.org. Regular price is $80; GPSSF members $65. For more information on the book and its authors, go online to www.abanet.org/genpractice/home.html and click on “bookstore” on the navigation bar.