Lawyer Letters

Here’s a message to all lawyers drafting demand letters. Before you fire off that deliciously evil, in-your-face, incendiary letter replete with all those unreasonable demands you dreamed up over the last 30 minutes of editing, take a good hard look at what you’ve written, and then stop. Just… stop.

What did you think you were going to gain? Did you hope it would help your letter stand out? Prove to your adversary that you’re really serious? Set a bold opening bid for negotiations? Are there visions of a terrified person reading your letter and running to the phone to give your client everything under the sun?

Because none of that is going to happen. All you’ve managed to do is torpedo your credibility… and now you’ll probably end up getting trolled by a popular legal industry website.

Take, for example, these guys, whose string of ridiculous demands not only failed to reduce their adversary to jelly, it elicited a declaratory judgment suit.

So the question is, “Would You Rather: Be self-satisfied over your own cleverness or save your client from litigation?”

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A lawyer’s letter, properly written, can be a thing of beauty. In recent months, we’ve shared with you a very funny settlement offer letter, an epic response to a cease-and-desist letter, and another C&D response that laid the smackdown on a top Biglaw firm.

But sometimes snarky letters miss the mark. Take this prospective law student’s response to a rejection letter. Some readers appreciated it, but many others (myself included) felt it went too far.

A fine line separates wit and obnoxiousness. And reasonable minds can disagree on whether a given letter embodies the former or the latter.

We recently got our hands on an amazing lawyer’s letter out of Los Angeles. It was written a while ago, but it’s only making the rounds now. What do you make of it?

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It’s so refreshing when the filings and correspondence in celebrity lawsuits live up to personalities involved. So it’s a tremendous joy when a bombastic and confrontational figure has a lawyer willing to colorfully snark up a settlement offer… and then let that letter leak so we can all revel in it.

In this case, the litigant is retired former All-Star Jack Clark, who is being sued by the still-active, but nonetheless also former All-Star Albert Pujols, after Clark repeatedly and publicly accused Pujols of using steroids. How much of a career dick is Jack Clark? His Wikipedia entry uses the words “rift,” “feuded,” and “enjoyed playing for manager Billy Martin.”

In any event, Clark’s lawyer endeavored to make a settlement offer worthy of his client and produced an enjoyable read for all involved. So let’s take a look at what Clark offered Albert Pujols, if that is his real name….

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If you enjoy fashion, check out our sister site, Fashionista.com.

Fashion law is a quickly-growing specialty practice area — a place where lawyers can aspire to dress stylishly while honing their legal skills in the glamorous world of haute couture law. You may never see all of the models and bottles a career in law once guaranteed, but you might get to work on their contracts.

A lawyer working in the business of beauty can expect to do a great deal of intellectual property work (after all, trademark law is sexier when you’re doing it in designer duds). An IP student group at a leading law school took that to heart, and decided to hold a symposium on the topic of fashion law.

The students pulled out all the stops for the event: they got Biglaw sponsorship, they created an eye-catching flyer, and they lined up some of the greats of the fashion law world to speak. Needless to say, they expected a great turnout.

What they didn’t expect was to be on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter from a high-end fashion house….

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Have you ever noticed that some lawyers become different people when they get in front of a keyboard?

It’s like a Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of thing. They might be perfectly pleasant individuals in real life, capable of warmth or at least civility to their fellow human beings. But get them in front of a computer with a law-firm template on the screen, and they turn into some sort of lawyerly unmanned drone.

Most lawyers, especially junior lawyers, have an idea about what a lawyer letter is supposed to look like. It generally has fancy lawyerly words like “pursuant to,” and it usually includes lawyerly weirdnesses like parenthetically writing numbers in figures after having just spelled out the numbers in words (“If we do not receive a response for you and/or your counsel in five (5) days …”), and it almost always contains threats about Very Bad Things happening. And they tend to be uniformly douchey.

But here are four (4) reasons why lawyer letters are less effective than phone calls.…

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