When a client asks for a legal opinion, they are essentially asking the lawyer to predict how a court would rule on their case if it were to go to trial. In order to provide an accurate legal opinion, the lawyer will research similar cases, laws, and policies in order to predict the outcome of the court.
Clients usually ask for an opinion letter for one of three reasons: to determine whether or not they should proceed with a business transaction, for legal guidance on an existing business situation, or to see if their case would win in court. The legal opinion letter should not be seen as an exact prediction but instead the best guess at what might happen if the case were to go to trial.
However, to write a legal opinion letter that is accurate, the lawyer must perform extensive research and analysis. Here are some tips for writing an opinion letter:
1. Always Keep The Client’s Instructions In Mind
One of the most important things to do when you’re writing an opinion letter is to stick to what the client asked for. When a client asks for a letter of opinion from a lawyer, they are essentially asking for an expert’s opinion on how they should proceed in their case.
When you’re writing the letter, ask yourself what your client has hired you to do and try not to go beyond that scope of work. This means that you should only include information that is pertinent to the client’s case and try not to introduce new topics.
2. Do Your Research
As a lawyer, you should always make sure your opinion letter is accurate and well-supported by law and precedent. You can do this by thoroughly researching similar cases, laws, and policies surrounding your client’s case before writing any of it down.
To do this, you can research online, through books, or even by contacting experts in the area. When you have done your research, outline the information you have found and organize it into a cohesive statement. When you come up with a thesis or hypothesis that is supported by the facts and evidence, then you can write the letter to explain why your prediction makes sense.
3. Organize the Facts
When you receive clear instructions from the client on what they want to be included in the letter, it is important to organize those requests into an easy-to-find format. You can do this by chronologically organizing the events of the case using dates and times.
When you have organized the facts, outline them into topics that are easy to navigate. For example, if your client is being sued for defamation, then break down how the events unfolded with clear subheadings. This will make it easier for you to refer to the information later.
4. Make A Clear Structure
One important part of writing an opinion letter is organizing all of your research to make sure you present a clear argument. It’s best practice to divide the legal opinion letter into several sections, including an introduction, statement of facts, analysis, and conclusion. This structure will help the reader follow your reasoning and prove to the client that you have done your research.
To write a good introduction, state what your position is on the matter and why you are writing this letter. For the analysis section, go through each of the steps to determine how it affects or relates to your conclusion.
5. Decide On An Appropriate Course of Action
After you have gone through all of your research and analyzed the facts, it is time to write what your legal opinion is on the matter. When writing this section, state all of your evidence in support of this conclusion and explain how it ties into applicable laws or precedents.
Here’s an example: “There is a good chance that the defendant will win this case because of X, Y, and Z.” Make sure to include a list of reasons to convince the client why each fact you have found is relevant.
6. Do Your Analysis
When you are writing an opinion letter, it is important to make sure your analysis makes sense. Stick with the facts and don’t try to change them around based on what you think might happen in the case. Your legal opinion should be supported by evidence that can be found after doing research or consulting an expert.
For example, if your client is trying to sue for medical malpractice, then you should include facts about the treatment they received and how it did not fall within acceptable professional standards.
7. Use Appropriate Terminology
A legal opinion letter is written in legal terms that are used in legal documents. Make sure to use legal terminology correctly by using phrases like “hereinafter” instead of “for example.” It is also important to make sure your writing is clean and well-edited for spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. This will show the client that you take their case seriously and have put a lot of time and effort into the legal opinion letter.
It’s important to make sure everything you write in a legal opinion letter is formal, official, and respectful. Use legal language and remain impartial at all times; do not use colloquial language or copy legal material from another source without giving credit. When you get to the end of your legal opinion letter, you can include spaces where the client can sign and date to confirm that they agree with the legal opinion.
8. Ask Your Client For Feedback
Once you have written your legal opinion letter, it is important to check it over with the client first. Make sure that they understand what legal conclusion you drew and if there were any reasons why this legal conclusion was reached. If they see something in the legal opinion letter that isn’t clear, give them a chance to make changes before sending it to a legal team.
Legal opinion letters are legal documents that summarize legal advice and other legal opinions. Depending on the case, a legal opinion letter might be used by a client to present their own legal position or as evidence in court. Legal opinion writing is an important skill for lawyers because it requires them to carefully analyze facts and use appropriate terminology while maintaining a professional tone. We hope you find these legal opinion writing tips helpful.