What is included in legal representation?
An attorney representation letter, sometimes called a legal letter of representation, is a document your lawyer sends to the opposing lawyers, which explains that they are now your legal representative. The letter explains that they, now represent your interests in the legal case.
An attorney representation letter can be used for an individual, multiple people, a legal entity, or a business.
Linda was in a car accident. As she is dealing with injuries due to the other person’s actions, she tries to send documents pertaining to the accident to the insurance company representing the other party. In these documents, Linda is attempting to get the insurance company to process her request for compensation due to the accident, however, it is not going well. So, Linda hires a personal injury lawyer to represent her in her legal case against the insurance company. The attorney representing Linda sends a notice to the insurer informing them that their law firm now represents Linda and all information or documents sent to Linda, must go through them.
There are many other situations where legal representation is beneficial:
- Tax issues are brought against an individual or business where the individual or business hires an attorney to fight on their behalf.
- Contested divorces where one party initiates a divorce and decides to pursue the case in court in order to divide assets and/or receive legal custody over children.
- Wrongful termination cases where an individual files a legal claim against their former employer due to an incident at work.
- Class action lawsuits where a group of individuals hires legal representation to file a collective lawsuit against a company due to negligence or false advertising.:
Legal representation is a complex situation, you need to understand it fully. for more detail on this subject visit the SA Law Society
Should you send an attorney representation letter?
The most common scenario when individuals choose to hire an attorney is in personal injury cases or accident cases, especially if the insurance company is being impossible to deal with and the case goes to court.
In these types of cases, an attorney representation letter will be sent when an individual, such as Linda:
- Decides to initiate a legal claim against another person.
- Receives notice of a legal claim filed against them and wishes to secure representation for the court process.
No matter when the letter is sent, a legal letter of representation signals to the other party or parties that you now have legal representation. If the other party or parties involved in the case also have legal representation, then the letter lets their law firm know that you have now secured legal representation as well.
The sooner you have secured representation and sent the legal letter of representation, the sooner you will be able to expedite any negotiations.
Mike is fired. He believes he was fired because his boss had a personal vendetta against Mike for revealing a serious liability with one of the company’s new products, which Mike’s boss designed. When Mike revealed this product liability to the CEO, Mike’s boss got into trouble and Mike was fired shortly thereafter. Mike attempts to file a claim against the company for wrongful termination, sending a letter explaining the events that transpired and the type of compensation he is pursuing. The company ignores his communication and takes no action. Based on their failure to act, Mike hires an attorney who immediately sends the company and their lawyers a legal representation letter. In the letter, the attorney explains the circumstances, what Mike is pursuing compensation, and what action the company should take. Seeing that Mike now has official legal representation, the company decides to respond to Mike and his request. Whereas they were happy to ignore his communications without an attorney, they are now willing to communicate through their lawyers.
Or: Mikes was in an accident and ended up in the hospital he loses his job, Mike now has two claims
- He can claim from the Road Accident Fund
- He needs a Lawyer to immediately send the company and their lawyers a legal representation letter. In the letter, the attorney explains the circumstances and prevents the company firing him
Or: Mike has an accident at work, his injuries are severe, and will be at home for a long time. Mike’s employer fire’s him, he is now stuck at home with no income.
Mike get’s a legal representative to immediately send the company and their lawyers a legal representation letter, the attorney explains the circumstances and prevents the company from firing him.
In this example, it is clear, having an attorney, and the act of sending the legal representation letter can be effective in any negotiation as it demonstrates to the other side that you mean business.
Sample attorney representation letter
Below is a sample attorney representation letter for a case involving a car accident and a personal injury lawyer:
January 10, 2021
Mr. Mark Smith
10 HelderBurg Ave
Re: Injuries sustained
Our Client: John Smith
Your Insured: Betty Black
Date of Accident: October 15, 2019
Dear Mr. Hendriks
Please be advised that our firm represents the above-named client for the broken arm, fractured leg, and other injuries sustained as a result of a car accident with your insured. Your insured ran a stop sign on October 15, 2019, in front of multiple witnesses including a police officer who thereafter arrested your client on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. I do not suspect responsible for this accident will be disputed.
I will forward to your office the medical bills and car accident reports from my client once they are available. We will continue to keep you apprised of any significant treatment developments.
Please inform me as to the policy limit associated with your insured and any other insurance coverages that could apply. There is some concern that this case will involve policy limits.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly.