LawProse Lesson #319: Opinion letters

LawProse Lesson #319: Opinion letters

Opinion letters.

The phrase opinion letter denotes a broad category encompassing many types of lawyers’ letters with various purposes and formats. Examples abound: usury opinions in loan transactions, title opinions in real-estate transactions, closing opinions in securities offerings, coverage opinions in insurance matters. Such a letter is almost always a written opinion of law regarding a decision to be made or a plan of action to be taken. An opinion letter prepares the client to make an informed decision.

Clients seeking opinions want to know their rights, obligations, and potential risks. They want to know about any possible legal consequences they may face in a given situation. An opinion letter needs to answer the question posed, and it needs to be well written in language the client can understand. If it’s obscure and indefinite or sounds like legaldegook, clients will rightly judge the writer harshly and resent paying for it. But if it shows both care and a warm interest in the client’s affairs, and it’s in plain English, a thoughtful opinion letter can help cement the lawyer–client relationship.

Further reading: The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style 451–64 (4th ed. 2018).

Live seminars this year with Professor Bryan A. Garner: Advanced Legal Writing & Editing

Attend the most popular CLE seminar of all time. More than 215,000 people—including lawyers, judges, law clerks, and paralegals—have benefited since the early 1990s. You'll learn the keys to professional writing and acquire no-nonsense techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefs more powerful.

You'll also learn what doesn't work and why—know-how gathered through Professor Garner's unique experience in training lawyers at the country's top law firms, state and federal courts, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.

Professor Garner gives you the keys to make the most of your writing aptitude—in letters, memos, briefs, and more. The seminar covers five essential skills for persuasive writing:

  • framing issues that arrest the readers' attention;
  • cutting wordiness that wastes readers' time;
  • using transitions deftly to make your argument flow;
  • quoting authority more effectively; and
  • tackling your writing projects more efficiently.

He teaches dozens of techniques that make a big difference. Most important, he shows you what doesn't work—and why—and how to cultivate skillfulness.

Register to reserve your spot today.

Have you wanted to bring Professor Garner to teach your group? Contact us at for more information about in-house seminars.

Scroll to Top