If the client’s case is not viable they must be advised of this in the course of the legal opinion, if there is something which can be done to improve the client’s prospects of success, a good legal opinion will spell this out very precisely.
Numbered action points are one way of achieving clarity in this regard.
’ This should be decided at the planning stage and should inform the legal opinion throughout.
What should also be borne in mind throughout the planning stage should be the opposing case.
The client will want to know for example not “will liability be established?
”, but “will I get any money out of this and if so how much?
The use of plain English simply involves saying what needs to be said in the clearest way possible and avoiding unnecessary verbosity.
There are times where technical terms will have to be used if they carry the precise meaning of the advice being delivered. Perfect grammar, punctuation and precision of language are essential. A legal opinion will often contain a complicated set of facts which will have to be sorted into specific legal issues and defined in legal terms. Clarity of expression can only be achieved through thorough planning and thought. Any legal opinion will be conveying a particular point, but that point will inevitably need to be broken down into sections.
The first stage will be about organising the facts of the case into these categories.
It is a matter of personal preference how this is done, but charts and schedules are often useful and a chronology should be a starting point for every fact marshalling exercise.