Sample Engagement Letters
Documenting in writing the scope of representation and the fee agreement is something that should occur on every new matter. One needn’t necessarily use a formal contract with each and every new matter; but if something more formal is called for, here are two samples with optional notices to help get you started. Jurisdictions differ as to what must be included in formal engagement letters so always make certain that the document you draft complies with the rules in your jurisdiction.

Sample Disengagement Letters
Time to fire your client because you are not getting paid or perhaps the working relationship has deteriorated to the point of no return and you don’t know what to say? Here are two sample letters that offer a place to start.

Sample Closing Letters
A well written closure letter not only serves as an essential risk management tool, it can be an effective marketing tool as well. These letters were never intended to be used as “good-bye, get out of here letters.” Take a few extra minutes to share a sincere thank you for the work because that kind of sentiment can do wonders with referral and repeat work. These samples are meant to be a basic template from which you can craft you own “Thanks for the business!” closure letter.

Sample Conflict Waiver – Estate Planning
In the estate planning arena, conflicts can arise anytime there is joint representation and the potential problem isn’t limited to step family situations. This is a basic waiver that addresses the most obvious concerns.

Sample Conflict Waiver – Small Business Formation
As with estate planning, joint representation in business formations create similar potential conflict problems. The documentation necessary in such settings must go beyond a simple disclosure of the presence of a potential or actual conflict. You must obtain informed consent. This sample waiver can help get you started.

Sample Conflict Waiver – Joint Representation
Joint representation can arise in a variety of practice settings. When it does, documentation of informed consent to the joint representation by all clients becomes essential.  While the final waiver should be fact specific to the situation at hand, this basic form can serve as a place to start.

Sample Client Intake Form
This sample intake form serves as a useful tool to highlight the essential basic information that should be obtained and/or addressed as part of the intake process.

Sample New Client Matter Memo
Running the names of potential clients and adverse parties through a conflict database is only part of a thorough conflict checking process.  The other piece is putting into play the memories of all who work at a firm, which includes an opportunity for staff and attorneys to consider if any personal or business interest conflicts might be a problem.  Circulating something along the lines of this sample form is just one way firms accomplish this essential second step.

Sample Non Engagement Letters
Documenting that you have not agreed to take a matter on can be every bit as important as documenting that you have.  It’s all about preventing an unintended reliance on you by someone you view as a non-client. Here are a few sample letters to help get you started. Just remember, never put legal advice in these things unless you have done your homework and are prepared to stand behind it.

Documenting Non Engagement at Intake
Some attorneys don’t want to take the time to write and send out non engagement letters or practice in an area of the law where such letters should not always be sent such as with potential divorce clients. This article discusses a way to have your cake and eat it too. It’s all about documenting the non-engagement through the creative use of your client intake form.

Conflict of Interest Search Terms
Best practices for conflict checking systems now require that firms track more than just the names of current and past clients.  This list sets forth the type of information that should be tracked based upon your firm’s specific areas of practice.