How to Address a Letter to an Attorney

By William McCoy - Updated June 01, 2017
Man writing a letter

Whether you're writing to your attorney for assistance in a legal matter or helping your child contact this member of the community for a school project, using the proper language gives your message an air of professionalism.

Style Basics

If you are writing on an envelope, place the attorney's full name followed by a comma and the term "Esq." – which stands for the attorney's title – in the center of the front of the envelope. For example, write "Robert Smith, Esq." Below the attorney's name, write the name of his firm on one line and the complete mailing address on subsequent lines. Begin your traditional letter or email with "Dear Mr. ...", "Dear Ms. ..." or "Dear Mrs. ..." followed by the attorney's surname and a colon. For example, use "Dear Mr. Smith:" to address the attorney. If you write legal letters frequently, save this template to use in future correspondence.

Responses

One of the most commons reasons clients write to their attorneys is in response to requests for information. At the beginning of a civil or criminal case, a lawyer may ask you to prepare a written summary of events chronicling actions leading up to a incident. In these cases, responding promptly and with accuracy is key.

Snail Mail Versus Email

Consider sending a formal letter to your attorney if you want to see major changes in the way an existing criminal or civil proceeding is being handled. An email is appropriate for brief conversations or minor updates, but larger actions, such as requesting a will rewrite, asking for new representation or providing a notice of termination are best handled in writing. If you are sending a particularly sensitive document, pay extra for a tracking service that will allow you to verify delivery through the United States Postal Service, UPS or FedEx.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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