Practicalities of Drafting an LPC Letter

Ensure you are totally familiar with the case and papers prior to beginning the letter.

If necessary write notes or a rough plan of what the letter needs to include and how it will be set out.

Be mindful of how the reader will interpret what you have written. What may mean one thing to you has the potential to be interpreted in an entirely different vein by the recipient.

Consider whether they may be any communication problems, for example, whether the letter should be in Braille if the client is blind or large text for the partially sighted. Where the client's first language is not English a translation may also be necessary.

Be aware that the letter may become a piece of evidence therefore it may be read out in open court so ensure that it would be acceptable in all the circumstances for this purpose.

Consider asking a colleague to read over the letter for you once you have written it, particularly in the early days of practise. A fresh pair of eyes can provide an idea of how the reader will view the letter and identify any mistakes that you may have missed.

When writing a letter on behalf of the Practice, write in the first person plural> ('we') but ensure that this remains consistent throughout the document.

If writing a letter on behalf of a senior colleague consider the style used by that person and how well they are acquainted with the recipient.

If writing to another legal professional or business client they will be familiar with solicitors' letters so ensure to get straight to the point. These clients will be busy and will not welcome over embellishment.

If the letter is in reply to a communication, be it written or verbal, acknowledge this fact.

Keep the letter and language restrained in tone. Do not over emphasise matters and give each point an appropriate status.

Avoid using such phrases as 'extremely unhappy' or 'wholly inaccurate' and avoid expressing such things as emotion, surprise, amazement or anger.

Never include jokes or smart/funny remarks and ensure that everything that is included is not capable of being misconstrued or given an alternative meaning.

Remember that whatever is said in the document, it is in writing and therefore a permanent record.

Always check grammar and spelling.

Ensure that the letter contains the correct references, dates, enclosures, and addresses and that the envelope has the correct address on it.