Can’t I just get my lawyer to write them a letter?

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I’ve been practicing law for about thirty years now, and I often have clients come in and say that they think their legal problem will vanish if a lawyer sends the people on the other side of the dispute a letter.

I doubt it.

In my experience a letter from a lawyer doesn’t advance the ball for a client unless other things come into play.

First, the client must have the law on her side.

Second, the letter needs to lay out the law to the other side and serve them with notice that if they persist in their conduct they will have hell to pay.

In other words, that first letter from legal counsel does nothing but set the stage for a long, drawn-out legal hassle to come.

Another way of saying this is that nothing happens in the legal arena unless you make it happen.

If I, as the attorney, am not willing to work the case to a conclusion, to demonstrate that my client is in the right and is willing to fight the deal to the end, the lawyer on the other side will pay no heed to the content of the original letter.

Kind of like in the book business.

Many writers think writing a book is the end of the game.

It’s only the beginning.

If an author is not prepared to write the next book, and while he is writing it, to promote the first one, his chances of success are slim.

It’s all about sweat equity.

Plain old hard work.

Going the extra mile.

Then the next mile.

Then the next.

There should be nothing surprising in this.

Success has a way of finding preparation and persistence.

It seldom lands anywhere else.

Another part of this formula is that the person who has created the product cannot expect to shuffle his preparation for success off on someone else.

Not an agent.

Not an editor.

Not a publisher.

If an author hopes to break through, she must carry most of the load herself.

Just like she did when she was sitting at her writing desk in the middle of the night, wringing her hands, searching for the right words.


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