An engagement letter is a contract between you and your client. Each new client or project, big or small, should start with an engagement letter that is signed by all associated parties. These letters can be used as binding contracts in the event of fee disputes, collection issues and more. Overall, this documentation delivers peace of mind and security to both parties.
Why send an engagement letter?
First and foremost, an engagement letter sets expectations for both parties. Your client will know exactly what to expect from you, as well as what is expected of them. This can help prevent misunderstandings and should strengthen the relationship down the road.
In the rare event of a dispute between you and your client, the legally binding engagement letter can serve as the go-to document for resolution. A proper engagement letter is critical in helping to provide a strong defense.
What to include in an engagement letter:
Though each engagement letter will be different, always include these sections:
- A brief overview of the purpose for the letter
- A clear description of the scope of the representation and legal services to be performed by the attorney or firm.
- Responsibilities of the client.
- The identity of all parties for whom the attorney agreed to perform legal work.
- Fee and billing arrangements for legal services.
- A description of the lawyer or firm’s file retention and destruction policy.
This agreement should be signed by all associated parties as soon as possible and definitely before the end of your representation. Always review and update your engagement letter for each new client and project. A well-drafted letter can give your firm peace of mind in the event of a client dispute.