Opinion letters, also known as legal opinions, are written declarations by an attorney stating their professional legal opinion on a certain matter. The purpose of an opinion letter is to provide the client with some level of assurance that the actions they are contemplating are lawful and within the bounds of the law. An opinion letter can be used for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: offering guidance on how to proceed with a business venture, providing clarification on ambiguous contract language, or giving an overview of potential risks associated with a particular course of action. This article discusses the different types of opinion letters, how they are generally used, and some examples.
What Is An Opinion Letter?
An opinion letter is a written legal document that contains the attorney's professional legal opinion on a certain matter. The attorney researches relevant laws, statutes, and case law to determine whether or not their client's contemplated course of action would be lawful. Additionally, the attorney may identify areas where their client could face liability if they chose to take such an action. Additionally, the legal opinion letter, if written by an attorney, may carry the weight of authority in a court of law. Opinion letters can be used for many purposes such as litigation, business transactions, and legal advice.
When To Use An Opinion Letter?
There are several occasions when an opinion letter would be useful. Lawyers may write opinion letters for clients who seek legal advice regarding a course of action they are considering, and attorneys may also draft opinion letters to advise businesses about potential transactions or business practices. Here are some examples:
- When a client wants to know whether a contemplated course of action would be lawful. For example, if a client wants to know whether an employee can legally sell his invention to the client's competitor.
- When a client is contemplating entering into a transaction and needs an opinion about potential liabilities or other risks associated with such a transaction. For example, when a business owner decides to merge his company with another business, he should seek legal advice from an attorney who can draft a letter that outlines the potential risks and liabilities of the transaction. This will help to protect both parties involved in the transaction because they will then be able to make informed business decisions.
- When a client wants to pursue cross-border transactions. In this case, the attorney should advise the client on how U.S. laws apply to international transactions and whether or not there are any potential risks involved in such a transaction.
- When a client needs to identify potential risks. For example, an attorney could write a letter that outlines the various legal and financial liabilities that a landlord may face if he fails to make repairs on his property according to the law.
What Are Some Different Types Of Opinion Letters?
There are different types of opinion letters, and they vary in both length and scope. Some examples include:
- The "preliminary" opinion letter is a short analysis that covers a specific area or topic. This type of letter does not cover all the applicable rules and laws but highlights several issues an attorney should consider when advising their client.
- The "final" opinion letter is the most detailed type of opinion letter because it contains all relevant rules and laws to guide the attorney's legal analysis. This type of letter also explains their rationale for any conclusions they reach.
- The "hybrid" opinion letter is somewhere in between the preliminary and final opinions letters. The attorney can offer a more detailed legal analysis than they would for a preliminary letter, but not as extensive as what is offered in the final opinion letter.
What Does An Opinion Letter Include?
As mentioned previously, an opinion letter can be very detailed and cover all relevant statutes and case law. This is what you’ll find in an attorney opinion letter:
- Facts: A variety of facts that surround the issue or transaction. For example, when writing a letter about a potential business transaction, the attorney would include information regarding the proposed terms of the transaction.
- Analysis: This section of the opinion letter explains how you applied all pertinent rules and laws to the facts.
- Answer: The final outcome of your analysis is explained in this section. It may either state what you believe is lawful or give your legal assessment about an action's legality, thus giving the reader the authority to make informed decisions.
- Disclaimers: This section may explain any limits on the opinion. For example, if someone were writing an opinion letter about a specific but complex area of law, they might include disclaimers that the analysis focuses only on that narrow area of law and does not consider other topics or laws that may apply.
Who Can Write Opinion Letters?
Only licensed attorneys can provide legal opinions about the law, and such must be done as part of their professional duties as legal advisors. Although it is possible for non-lawyers to offer an opinion on certain matters, this violates the Model Rules of Professional Conduct by presenting themselves as lawyers when they are not licensed, attorneys. When you have a question about your organization's next move, whether it pertains to business law, real estate transactions, or a legal opinion for a pending litigation case, only the attorney can help guide you forward.
How To Find An Attorney?
If you're in need of an opinion letter then you need to find a lawyer. When looking for a lawyer, make sure you find one who has experience with the issues relevant to your case. You should also check that they are available to help you when needed and that their fees are fair. In addition, make sure to read reviews about them before you hire them.
If you need an opinion letter to help guide your next steps in business law, real estate transactions, or litigation cases, make sure that the lawyer is experienced with these issues. Whether you need an opinion letter for your own organization or to help during an ongoing case, only the attorney can help guide you forward. Hopefully, this article has answered the question of 'why you might need an opinion letter.'
Posted 4 months ago by Allen Brown