It is an illusion to believe that results can be achieved by using a free letter of demand template. Complexities exist that a simple cease and desist letter does not usually deal with.
Templates are useful, the more the better. However, at least in Sydney all need to be heavily customised to convince recipients to respond as desired. Thirty years ago people respected a "solicitor's letter". Today they need to be convinced by one.
A writer of a demand letter is in the behaviour modification business. It requires cunning and craft to convince people and businesses to change their position or behaviour on demand.
Behaviours are unlikely to change on receipt of a generic template-style letter saying "Stop", "Give Way" or "Go Back Your Going the Wrong Way".
Template demand letters use generic statements. Customisation makes them substantiated and convincing.
Before discussing conventional and useful hints for drafting, upfront let's emphasise the rarely noted but helpful role of emotions and psychology.
You and your lawyer should develop the emotional intelligence of a demand letter by getting inside the mind of the targeted recipient of the letter.
Study the target and deduce what you can from the target's size, level of wealth, location, cultural background, values, decision making process, use of lawyers, and trading history.
Assess and act on what might frighten the recipient into moving in the right direction for you. Seek to move recipients by applying the compound impact of emotions and rationality. Do this professionally and ethically.
Sometimes a phone call is best. Sometimes a mediation or informal meeting gets results. Sometimes a letter is best. Litigation is inevitable in some cases.
In each case it is critical to be properly prepared for negotiations, cutting a deal, or taking further action to a conclusion if needed.
In the case of a letter it works better if there is a surprise attack with a clear deadline. Query if this is the best time to strike. Consider in detail how to deliver the letter. There may be better results writing to more than one address. It may be best to have an open demand letter and a without prejudice separate letter. It may be logical to separate a civil law claim from a "please explain" letter about possible criminal law breaches. Customisation is the key.
For a demand letter the aim is to make the recipient conclude that it would be fighting a lost cause. The recipient should perceive that a greater force and enforcer is on the trail monitoring every movement. In this way the demand letter becomes like an armed police officer with a loud speaker directing the recipient to stop, step away from the vehicle, and put hands on head.
Let's now turn to conventional legal hints for demand letters. To achieve success, at a minimum:
With this level of verifiable details the pressure of the demand letter is more likely to convince a recipient to select the option to now pay up, deliver up, drop its argument, or take other action you demand.
An effective demand letter has many benefits:
An effective letter of demand helps the recipient convince itself - in a timely fashion - that completion, settlement or compromise is a better option than delayed, risky and costly court-imposed resolutions.