Case closed? When a legal matter reaches its conclusion, you need to complete the loop—which means sending a closing letter to clients. Without a formal case closure letter, you risk ambiguity. When it comes to attorney-client relationships, ambiguity can leave your clients confused. It can also put you at risk of unintentional malpractice. Also, if you fail to send a letter at the end of a case, you miss out on an opportunity to solidify a positive professional relationship with clients who may need legal representation in the future.
If you aren’t regularly sending closing letters to clients, now’s the time to start. In the following guide, we’ll show you why you should send closing letters to clients—and how to write them. To make the process easier, we’ve also included a sample closing letter to clients as an example.
Why you need to send a closing letter to clients
We’ve written about why you should send a non-engagement letter if you don’t move forward with a client at the start of a legal issue. Similarly, you should always close cases with a formal end of representation letter to document the end of a specific attorney-client relationship.
Bear in mind that a case closing letter is just a formal way to note the conclusion of a specific case. It doesn’t mean that you can’t represent the client in the future on other matters.
Sending a closing letter to clients can also help you avoid unintentional miscommunication about representation—which is a common source of malpractice claims for lawyers. This is because sending a closing letter to clients helps you avoid situations where a client thinks that you’re still their attorney when you’ve closed the case. Putting your end of representation for a specific matter in writing ensures they’re aware of the situation. It also helps protect you from claims that you didn’t perform duties that you weren’t responsible for.
Taking the time to create a closing letter is also a subtle way to provide customers with a client-centered experience. Remember: While you deal with legal issues every day, it’s likely a stressful and uncertain time for your clients. By taking the time to communicate clearly about the status of their matter—even at the end—you reduce uncertainty and help put clients at ease.
Best practices when sending closing letter to clients
For a case closing letter to be most effective, follow these best practices:
- Be timely. Send a case closing letter when you’re ending an attorney-client relationship on a matter—that is, when you’ve concluded a case or when you’ve decided to stop representing the client.
- Be succinct. As this sample case closure letter from the State Bar of Georgia shows, your letter should be easy to read and understand and it should get to the point. Avoid unnecessarily complex language and prioritize clarity.
- Be consistent. Send a case closing letter to clients after concluding every case—even if you hope or expect future business from them. While it may seem counterintuitive to formally end an attorney-client relationship if you think there may be more opportunity in the future, sending a case closing letter doesn’t mean that you’re cutting your firm off from a client. Instead, it shows a high level of professionalism and clear communication—which could encourage positive reviews and a return to your firm if another legal matter comes up in the future.
How to write an end of representation letter
Learning how to write an end of representation letter isn’t difficult if you focus on the purpose of the letter. Your goal is to document to your client that the case has concluded. A closing letter to clients also wraps up any loose ends and concludes the case on a positive, professional note.
To streamline the task, you can create a general template for your letter, then customize it to suit each specific situation. Being prepared with a template can save you a lot of administrative time (and help reduce chances of error) in the future.
What to include in a closing letter to clients
While your case closing letter should be tailored to your firm and your client, consider including the elements below.
- Specify the case and its status. Clearly state which case you’re referring to—especially if there are multiple matters at hand or if you take on future matters for the client. You can list the case number and also briefly describe the case in the body of the letter. Also, note that the matter is closed or concluded.
- The date. Date the letter and specify when the case has concluded.
- The reason for the end of representation. Briefly note the reason why you will no longer be representing the client on the matter at hand—whether it’s because the case has concluded or because of another reason (for example, if your practice is closing).
- The status of any client documents. Let the client know if you will be retaining case documents and files and for how long. For example, if you need to keep case files for a certain number of years in your jurisdiction according to your document retention policy. If you are returning original client documents with the letter, state that in the letter and specify what’s enclosed.
- Next steps. If applicable, list any actions or next steps that the client needs to take care of or is responsible for. This could also include a note regarding the final bill for the matter.
- Request feedback. Client feedback is key to effective client communication and your law firm’s continued success, so be sure to ask for it. This could be as simple as enclosing a feedback questionnaire.
- A note of appreciation. Thank the client for the opportunity to represent them. Ending the letter on a positive note can go a long way in making a client feel valued.
Sample closing letter to clients
Need an example? The below letter shows one way you could approach a case closing letter to a client. Note: This sample closing letter is for reference only. You must customize your letter to your firm and your specific clients.
April 9, 2021
Re: Termination of Representation, Case/File #0000
Dear Ms. Client:
Thank you for choosing me to represent you with your personal injury matter. I am writing this letter to inform you that this case is closed as of the date of this letter.
Enclosed are all of the original materials regarding your case that are in my firm’s possession, including the written statements from Mr. X and Ms. Y. Please let me know by May 9, 2021 if there is anything else that you believe is still in our firm’s possession that should be returned. Otherwise, I will assume that you have reviewed the documents and have everything that you need. While we are closing the file on this matter, we will keep a copy for a period of at least seven years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing me to represent you. I sincerely hope that your experience with my firm was satisfactory and that you may consider Example Law Firm for future legal work. With this in mind, I would greatly appreciate it if you could complete the enclosed feedback questionnaire.
While this concludes my representation of you regarding this legal matter, please don’t hesitate to reach out in the future should you have any further legal needs and wish to discuss retaining my services again.
Example Law Firm
Clear communication will go a long way
Sending closing letters to clients is a simple and effective way to tie up loose ends and avoid unintentional miscommunication. By offering a letter as a means of clear communication and excellent client service, you may encourage future business too.
The key to closing letters is to start by writing a solid template, then customize it to include all pertinent details for each case and client relationship. In addition to documenting important details and ensuring you and the client are on the same page, you can also use the closing letter as an opportunity to thank the client and ask for valuable feedback.
Note: The information in this article applies only to US practices. This post is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, business, or accounting advice.
We published this blog post in April 2021. Last updated: .
Categorized in: Business
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