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Legal Correspondence: Letters for Lawsuits

Letters in legal disputes and lawsuits often serve two purposes: first, to communicate in a clear, professional manner, and second, to document what was said or done for later use in court. The books and online resources in this Research Guide can help create effective, professional letters for many situations.

Whenever you send a letter on a legal matter, be sure to keep a copy. Consider sending it via registered mail, emailing it, or faxing it and keeping the confirmation sheet.

Small Business and Contract Letters

Letters for Small Business Lawyers KF1659. A65 .B38
Includes letters for reaching out to and engaging small business clients, forming and dissolving entities, protecting intellectual property, compliance, business plans and contracts, and more.

Working for Yourself : Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Gig Workers of All Types KF 390.I54 F57 (Self Help)
Includes letter agreements for use in contracting between gig workers and their employers.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website.

General Litigation Letters

Win Your Lawsuit KFC 968 .D86 (Self Help)
This excellent self-help book includes samples of common letters for all stages of litigation: discovery requests and objections; meet-and-confer letters (including one documenting efforts to work with an uncooperative party); cover letters for contacting witnesses and gathering evidence for trial; and more. The letters come with excellent instructions with no “legalese.” The letters are not indexed; browse the chapters on your situation.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website.

Represent Yourself In Court (KF 8814 .B47)(Self Help)
Like Win Your Lawsuit, this is aimed at individuals rather than lawyers. It contains a number of sample letters with plain-English instructions.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website.

Model Letters to Doctors, Witnesses, Adjusters and Others KF 320 .L48 .M3
This book contains letters for all aspects of litigation—not just for doctors and witnesses. If Win Your Lawsuit does not offer a letter for your particular situation, this probably will; it has a large variety of letters, with comments on their use. Chapter 2 has a particularly useful set of stipulations for different circumstances. A detailed table of contents helps you find what you need.

Collection, Demand, and Commercial Letters for the General Practitioner KF 320 C65
Describes the purpose of demand letters, means of delivery, expected outcomes, and tips, along with dozens of sample letters and commentary.

Writing for Law Practice KF 250 .F35
This law school text includes covers letters as well as other legal documents (briefs, memoranda, and more).

LSI Legal Professional’s Handbook KFC 77 .L43
Clear, concise procedural handbook for California courts, including transmittal letters and more.

Introduction to California Civil Litigation KFC 968 .W56
This introduction to the basics of California civil litigation includes samples of the basic elements of letters as well as forms and pleadings.

Letters for Litigators KF 320 .L448 .S53
Another book with letters for many litigation situations. This book also has a detailed table of contents. A polite refusal to grant the opponent an extension of time is unique to this book (Chap. 13).

Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing and Oral Argument KF 250 .P37
Chapter 6 includes instructions on letter writing. While it does not contain samples, it includes checklists to ensure that include the elements required for an effective letter. It also discusses the recommended format and tone of e-mails.

Personal Injury and Insurance Claims

How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim KF 257 .M38 (Self Help)
Sample forms for negotiating a settlement with an insurance company without litigation. Chapter 3 has sample notification letters to send to parties, witnesses, and insurance companies. Chapter 6 has sample demand letters for different types of accidents and injuries. Chapter 8 has letters to use during settlement negotiations (confirming conversations and making or responding to offers). Many of these may be adapted for use in litigation.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website.

Maximizing Damages in Small Personal Injury Cases KF 8925.P4 R86
Includes sample letters along with pattern responses to adjusters, case-screening rules, cost-reducing techniques, discovery, motions and more.

Consumer Complaints and Small Claims

Prior to filing a small claims lawsuit, you must make a written demand that the defendant compensate you for the injury or loss you have suffered. These resources can help write an effective demand letter.

California Courts Self Help: “Ask for Payment”
The California Courts’ Self Help section includes sample letters (some of them fillable) for general demands, demand for return of security deposits, bad check demands, and stop-payment demands.

Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court in California KFC 976 .W37 (Self Help)
Chapter 6 (“Settling Your Dispute”) contains an excellent guide to what should be included in a demand letter, and sample letters and settlement agreements.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at saclaw.org/nolo-ebooks.

Settling Debts and Dealing with Debt Collectors

Credit Repair KF 1040 .L44 (Self Help)
This self-help book contains sample letters to request that credit agencies investigate and correct errors on credit reports; negotiate with your creditors; demand that debt collectors “cease and desist” collection efforts; and inform creditors about identity theft. A sample letter informing a creditor of your judgment-proof status is unique to this book.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website.

Solve Your Money Troubles KF 1501.L46 (Self Help)
Chapters 6 and 9 focus on negotiating with creditors and stopping debt collector harassment.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Law Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website.

Collecting After Winning a Judgment

California Courts Self Help: “Get the Debtor to Pay You Voluntarily”
This page includes information on collecting judgments and a sample letter. It also includes a program to help you write a letter demanding payment of your court judgment. The program asks questions and then prepares a letter for you.

Letters for Victims of Identity Theft

Federal Trade Commission: “Sample Letters and Forms for Victims of Identity Theft
These sample letters and forms can help you exercise your rights as an identity theft victim, like requesting action from the credit reporting companies and businesses where the thief opened new accounts or tampered with your existing ones.

Letters for Specific Cases

Letters for Divorce Lawyers: Essential Communications for Clients, Opposing Counsel, and Others KF 320 .L48 C48
Letters include client contact, discovery transmittal and scheduling, hearings and proposed orders, settlement offers and the like.

Attorney Communications with Clients

California Client Communications Manual: Sample Letters and Forms KFC 77 .C35
Includes letters for use in initial contact and accepting clients, during representation, terminating representation, and in fee disputes and arbitration. Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using OnLaw.

Letters for Lawyers: Essential Communications for Clients, Prospects, and Others
KF 320 K48 L36
Includes letters to clients, prospective clients, referral sources, employees and prospective employees, and the media.

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