Legal correspondence: basic examples

Legal correspondence: basic examples

Examples of how British lawyers (barristers and solicitors) open and close letters

Dear Mr Smythe,

Re: Increase in share capital (may be in bold type, may include or omit “Re:”)

You are a new client or someone with whom I am not on a first-name basis.

Yours faithfully, (or) Yours sincerely,

John Kavanagh
Dear Marie,

Re: Increase in share capital

We have an established working relationship.

Yours sincerely,

Horace Rumpole

 

 

Examples of how American lawyers open and close letters

Re: Increase in share capital (may be in bold type)

Dear Mr. Dryden:

I have never met you, we have had insufficient contact for me to be comfortable using your first name, or we have a rather adversarial relationship.

Yours truly, (or) Yours sincerely, (or) Sincerely,

Perry Mason
Dear Bob:

You are an established client or an attorney with whom I have had dealings before.

Sincerely yours, (or) Sincerely,

Ally McBeal

 

DIFFERENCES TO NOTE

  • British usually write abbreviated titles, initials, dates, addresses, salutations and closings without punctuation. e.g. commas may be omitted after the salutation and closing.
  • In the British forms, the salutation and closing must correspond. “Yours faithfully” usually used when salutation is “Dear Sir(s)” or “Dear Madam”
  • Position of the “Re:” line in British forms.