Responding to a demand letter is as tricky as issuing a demanding letter. There are issues of getting the substance right and getting the tone right. How time do you spend researching the law and laying out your case? How much do you disclose about your favorable facts? Is your goal settlement and, if so, how does that impact the tone of your letter? Do you know enough about the letter writer and his or her client to gauge their likely reaction to your response? And when do you respond – right away, by any deadline given, or do you wait? These and many other questions will be addressed in this practical discussion of the tradeoffs of responding to demand letters.
- Goals – do you want settlement or to make it go away – or are you preparing for litigation?
- Law – how much do you research and push back?
- Tone – are you assertive, making counter-demands, or conciliatory?
- Facts – How much of what you know do you lay out?
- Timing – responding right away, by a deadline in the demand, or later?
Note: This material qualifies for self-study credit only. Pursuant to Regulation 15.04.5, a lawyer may receive up to six hours of self-study credit in a reporting year. Self-study programs do not qualify for ethics, elimination of bias or Kansas credit.
William J. Kelly, III is a founding member of Kelly & Walker LLCand has more than 25 years’ experience in the areas of employment and commercial litigation. In the area of employment law, he litigates trade secret, non-compete, infringement and discrimination claims in federal and state courts nationwide and has advised Fortune 50 companies on workplace policies and practices. In the area of commercial litigation, his experience includes class action litigation, breach of contract and indemnity, mass-claim complex insurance litigation, construction litigation and trade secrets. Earlier in career, he founded 15 Minutes Music, an independent music production company. Mr. Kelly earned his B.A. from Tulane University and his J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law.
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