My previous post was about informal negotiations in dispute resolution. Today, I want to talk about negotiations through a demand letter. If you were unable to reach a compromise through informal negotiation, sending a demand letter to the opposing party is a great next step in dispute resolution.
When Should You Send a Demand Letter?
Depending upon the nature of the dispute, the severity of the consequences that may occur when the dispute is resolved, the circumstances around the dispute, and the personalities of the parties, sending a demand letter may be the right thing to do. It is important to speak with a lawyer regarding your specific case.
What are the Benefits of Sending a Demand Letter?
If a lawyer is assisting you in negotiations, he or she will prepare and send the demand letter to the receiving party. What is the advantage of doing this? By sending a demand letter, you set forth all of your legal claims that you would use in a court setting. The receiving party may think that you will sue if the dispute is not resolved within the demand letter stage. This may make the receiving party more inclined to reach a compromise outside of court.
What Does a Demand Letter Look Like?
If your idea of a demand letter comes from the movies, you may be disappointed. In a good demand letter, all claims are presented, but there are no histrionic threats. Nor is there ugly language. An experience lawyer knows if the letter is later shown to a jury, dramatic and overly aggressive language may prejudice the jury against you. A good lawyer knows how to be serious and aggressive, without making you look bad.
A party who did not take you seriously in your effort for informal negotiation will take you seriously after you have sent a demand letter. They will likely be more willing to negotiate, instead of just ignoring you or being polite after your informal effort.