– Derek Allen, Attorney –
When I first started working in the legal profession, I was struck by the tone many lawyers used in their correspondence. While many fighters claim that they’re going to let their fists do the talking, lawyers tend to let angry-sounding adverbs do the heavy lifting.
If you’re doing something our client doesn’t like, you better cease-and-desist. When? Always “immediately.” And if you don’t? You better believe that our client is ready to defend her rights. Maybe the reader doubts this, so we make it clear that our client is prepared to do so “vigorously.” On the off chance that our reader is still standing after the well-placed immediately-vigorously combo, we land a haymaker – demanding that you respond “promptly.”
My initial reaction to receiving this type of letter often involved the words “immediately,” “vigorously,” and “promptly,” but those words usually described what I thought the writer could do with the letter (I’ll leave it to the reader to figure out the verb and noun). Recently, however, I’ve come across two better responses to those ubiquitous demand letters. Dare I say, they are a perfect blending of creativity and the law. (Warning: contains some slightly NSFW language):