What is an Opinion Letter?

by | Dec 9, 2021

When you need to get a legal opinion on a specific issue, you may turn to a lawyer for a legal opinion letter. This is a document in which a lawyer spells out their professional opinion on a certain matter.

An opinion letter can be very helpful if you’re trying to make a decision and want to know what the potential consequences of your choice might be. It can also help if you’re involved in a legal dispute and need to know where you stand.

In order to write an opinion letter, the lawyer will need to gather information about the situation and do legal research, and then they will then give their opinion on what they think should happen, based on the facts of the case.

Keep in mind that an opinion letter is just that – an opinion. It’s not a guarantee of anything, and it shouldn’t be taken as gospel.

When Is an Opinion Letter Needed?

Opinion letters are needed any time a written opinion from a lawyer or other legal professional is needed on legal matters that fall outside of their normal course of work. This can include contract disputes, trademark issues, tax questions, employment disputes, real estate issues, intellectual property questions, patent issues, licensing agreements, business transactions, mergers, and many other types of legal questions.

Opinion letters are also needed in any situation where a written opinion would be helpful to a business’s decision-making process, including business transactions, mergers, licensing agreements, intellectual property decisions, and patent guidance.

Opinion letters create concrete documentation that can be used by companies when making future business decisions based on the opinion letter’s findings.

Impact of Opinion Letters

Opinion letters are important because they show a company’s opinion on a certain topic and therefore may have an impact on the company’s future decision-making processes for that topic. For example, opinion letters can be used as evidence in court cases, so if a company wants to prove that it had a certain opinion about a product or activity then it would turn to an opinion letter that was written at the time about the product or activity.

What are the Components of an Opinion Letter

Typically, opinion letters are four to five pages long but can be one, it just depends on the topic or use of the opinion letter.

The opinion letter will have three main sections:

  • Introduction
  • The Facts of the Case
  • The Law and Analysis

Let’s take a closer look at each of these sections.

Introduction

The introduction will introduce the parties involved, state the issue that is being decided, and give a brief summary of the facts of the case.

The Facts of the Case

This section will be the longest part of the opinion letter and is where the lawyer will list all of the facts that they used to come to their opinion. They can do this either by making a bulleted list or simply writing out each fact in paragraph form. This section may also include any exhibits that support the facts of the case.

The Law and Analysis

In this section, the lawyer will explain the law that applies to the case and analyze how it applies to the facts. They will also give their opinion on how the law should be applied in this case.

Conducting Legal Research

Legal research is the first step for an attorney to provide an opinion letter. An attorney or other legal professional will start by conducting legal research online and looking through legal databases, legal journals, and legal news sources. They will also use legal reference books, legal guides, and legal encyclopedias. Legal professionals will also sometimes research the law in other countries on topics that are relevant to their legal opinions.

Legal research can be complicated, depending on how in-depth you need the research to be.

After legal research is conducted, the legal professional will then put together an opinion letter that outlines their legal opinion about the situation or topic.

Providing a Draft for Review

Once legal research has been conducted, the opinion letter will go through a draft process. This first draft can be reviewed by a professional editor to help clean up any factual errors and ensure that the opinion letter is written clearly and concisely.

After going through a first draft review, another attorney may then conduct further research as needed for the opinion letter to ensure that their opinion is as accurate as possible.

The attorney may also speak with clients or other professionals involved before putting together a final opinion letter. The opinion letter’s accuracy depends largely on how much time and care have been put into it throughout the opinion-writing process.

Delivering a Final Opinion Letter

After any changes are made to the delivered draft, it will be reviewed and potentially approved by the client. The opinion letter is not considered finalized until the client has given their approval and signed by the attorney.

In conclusion, opinion letters play an important role in many different settings from business to legal disputes to determining opinions about products and activities.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it. We give great legal advice, but this page (and the rest of our site) is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual legal advice. If you’d like to establish an attorney-client relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official. Sending us an email or reading this page alone doesn’t mean we represent you.