It’s crucial that attorneys maintain regular and open communication with their clients. When it comes to litigation, communications often come in the form of status report letters. Here are 5 letters that litigators send to their clients and what to include in them.
- Letter advising client that attorney has filed a new court action or motion on client’s behalf. The attorney should send a letter right after filing the action or motion telling the client that it has been filed and including a copy of the document. If the attorney filed a motion, the letter should explain how long the other side will have to respond to it and when the hearing will be. The letter should ask the client to call the attorney within a specified number of days to discuss next steps and any questions the client may have.
- Letter advising client that attorney has filed an answer or responses to court action or motion on client’s behalf. The attorney should send a letter after filing the answer or response to let the client know that it has been filed and to give the client a copy of the filing for his or her records. The letter should state when the hearing will take place and ask the client to call the attorney within a specified number of days to discuss next steps and any questions the client may have.
- Letter notifying client of oral deposition. An attorney must inform his or her client that the opposing party has given notice of the taking of the client’s oral deposition. Even though the attorney should include a copy of the formal notice sent by opposing counsel, the letter should reiterate the important details about time and place for the deposition. The attorney should also briefly explain the deposition process and ask that the client call to set up a meeting to prepare for it.
- Letter notifying client of case management conference and “meet and confer” requirement. The attorney should have already discussed with the client how the case is subject to special case management rules. As soon as a case management conference has been set, the attorney should advise the client of its date and time and let the client know that the parties and their attorneys also must “meet and confer” in person or by phone no later than 30 days before the case management conference. The letter should ask the client to set up an appointment with the attorney to discuss the case and choose a date and time to propose to the other side to meet and confer.
- Letter notifying client to attend court hearing or trial. The attorney should inform the client of the date set for a court trial or hearing and request that the client set up an appointment with the attorney to prepare for court testimony. The letter should be sent well in advance of the trial or hearing date to ensure time for adequate preparation.
You can get samples for each of these letters in CEB’s California Client Communications Manual: Sample Letters and Forms, chap 5. This manual includes over 65 sample letters and essential forms along with practice tips and succinct discussion of ethical and other issues you must consider in evaluating and representing clients.
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:
- Getting Your Client Ready for Deposition
- What to Tell Your Client When Litigation Is Over
- What to Say When a Client Lets You Go
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