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What is a Letter of Representation?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 16, 2024
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A letter of representation is a formal document informing an individual or company that someone is being represented by legal counsel and that all correspondence should be forwarded to his or her attorney. This document should be used by those who intend to pursue a lawsuit or those who are being sued or tried for a crime themselves. It should be professional in nature and written in the correct format.

An individual can write his or her own letter, as long as it includes important information like the attorney’s contact information and the reason for acquiring the attorney, if applicable. The letter should be professional with correct usage of grammar and legal jargon if needed. Any person who does not feel comfortable writing the letter himself should have the attorney or paralegal handle it. Pre-written forms can also be purchased.

The purpose of a letter of representation is to inform a party that legal representation has been sought. If the person sending the letter is the target of a lawsuit or other matter, then the reason for getting an attorney can be stated briefly. When the party sending the letter intends to pursue a lawsuit, then he may wish to include his intentions in the letter as reason for hiring an attorney. In some cases, this can lead to the offending party coming to an amicable agreement.

Parties who receive such a document are expected to adhere to the request made therein. No direct contact should be made to the person sending the letter if it is advised against in the letter. All questions and arrangements should be sent directly to the attorney’s office. If this request is not adhered to, legal action may or may not be taken, depending on the location and the offending party.

It is generally recommended that anyone involved in a court case provide a letter of representation. The person sending the letter should also adhere to the guidelines stated in the document to avoid incriminating himself or herself and making the case harder to win. No party, particularly a defendant, should speak to police, attorneys, or witnesses without qualified legal counsel being present. This includes face-to-face encounters as well as correspondence via letter, email, or phone. An exception to this rule is a defendant who chooses to represent himself in the case.

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Discussion Comments
By umbra21 — On Jun 27, 2012

@indigomoth - It's funny how that letter can change a person's attitude. I've had to deal with someone who had become a stalker of sorts after we had a disagreement. He kept sending me all kinds of nasty emails and letters and threats and things.

Once I was able to send him a legal letter of representation the threatening notes suddenly dried up. It was almost too bad that they did, since I probably could have used them later on, but it was such a relief to know that I didn't have to worry about it any more. Say what you want about lawyers, it's wonderful to have a good one on your side.

By indigomoth — On Jun 27, 2012

My father had to sue a dentist once. He actually didn't want to, because money doesn't mean all that much to him, but I convinced him. It wasn't because of the money. The dentist had been completely negligent and had had to face no consequences.

In fact he hadn't even apologized, let alone offered to fix his mistake.

This was after breaking off part of a drill in my father's tooth and then covering it over with a filling to "see how it goes". My father developed an infection that almost went to his brain. And he was only treated after he went to another dentist who actually listened to his complaint of pain and didn't dismiss it as the tooth "healing."

After dad's lawyer sent the attorney letter of representation, the dentist suddenly wanted to apologize and offered things like free surgery but it was too little, too late. Dad didn't get much out of the process in terms of financial gain as I believe the money was barely enough to cover legal expenses, but he was happy to at least expose that dentist for what he was.

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