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如何撰写发给非专业人士的律师函(中英文对照)

[生活英语]      来源:
Note: This article is for background purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

作者注:本文仅供参考,并不旨在提供法律意见
译者注:翻译本文并未得到原作者同意,故译文仅供学习和研究使用

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Why do people hate to get letters from lawyers? They carry bad news. They mean serious business. They're hard to understand. They use strange words. They carry the inherent threat of suit.
人们为什么讨厌收到律师的来信呢?因为它们不是带来坏消息,就意味着生意上出现了严重的问题。而且,这些信让人理解起来有些难度,因为其中有一些生僻的专业术语,还有,在收到律师的来信之后,往往随之而来的是诉讼的威胁。

Why do lawyers send such letters? They mean serious business, and they intend to sue.
那为什么律师们还要发出这些信件呢?因为交易出现了问题,也因为他们想提起诉讼。

But must they use those ancient, strange words and be so hard to understand, or can lawyers express serious business and imminent suit using words everyone knows?
是不是在律师函中一定要用一些生僻古怪的术语而让人费解呢?换句话说,律师能不能用大家都熟悉的词语来表述生意上的问题或即将来临的诉讼呢?

Whether writing a demand letter to a contract breacher, an advice letter to a client, or a cover letter to a court clerk, the letter fails if the person receiving it cannot understand what it says.
其实,不管是给违约者的正式请求书、给客户的意见书,还是给法院书记员的说明书,只要收信人不能理解其说了些什么,那这样的律师函是不合格的。

All of these letters have one thing in common: They are not GREat literature. They will not be read in a hundred years and analyzed for their wit, charm or flowery words. With any luck they will be read just once by a few people, followed quickly by their intended result, whether that be compliance, understanding or aGREement.
所有的律师函都有一个共同的特点:它们不需要有太强的文学色彩,它们在若干年以后也不可能再被阅读,而且人们也不会对它们所包含的智慧、对它们的吸引力、对其中的华丽词语而给予关注。实际上,不论这些律师函上载明的是默许、意向,还是协议,再幸运的话也只会被少数人为了特定的目的而阅读一次。

Lawyers are Letter Factories
律师是"信函工厂"

Lawyers write many, many letters. An average for me might be five letters a day. This includes advice letters, cover letters, demand letters, all sorts of letters. Some days have more, some have less, but five is a fairly conservative average, I would think. Five letters a day for five days a week for fifty weeks a year is 1,250 letters a year. This is my 25th year in practice, so it is quite conceivable that I have written 31,250 letters so far.
律师会撰写很多很多的信函。拿我来说,平均每天要写5封信函(包括意见书,说明书,正式请求书以及其他各式各样的信函),有时候一天书写得多些,有时候一天书写得少些,不过,我认为每天5封还是一个保守的数字。每天5封,每周5天,每年50周,累计起来,每年就有1250封,不可想象,在我25年的执业生涯中,我撰写的信函达31250封之多。

Why do lawyers write so many letters? A primary reason lies within the ethics of our profession. Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-1.4 says:
"A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information."
"A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation."
律师们为什么要写这么多的信函呢?答案在我们的职业规范和职业道德中。美国佛罗里达州的律师条例之职业行为规则中第4-1.4款说道:
"一个律师应向客户报告事件的现状并负有根据客户的合理要求而给予通知的义务。"
"一个律师应在适当的范围之内向客户解释事由,以便客户对代理事项做出决定。"

While clients can be kept informed and given explanations orally, lawyers certainly know the value of the printed word over the spoken word: it is not as easily forgotten or misunderstood. Letters also create a record of advice given, which is useful to both the lawyer and the client. That is why letters are the preferred method of keeping clients informed and giving clients explanations.
既然客户们都知道要保存那些口头上的报告和解释,那律师们就更明白书面文字比口头话语更可靠:它们不容易被忘记或被误解.信函能够保存法律意见的记录,这对律师和其客户都是有利的。所以,我们说信函是保存对客户的报告和向客户解释事由的最好工具。

Some Things To Do Before Writing
撰写信函之前需要做的事情

Before you start writing the letter it makes sense to do some preliminary background work.
在动笔起草信函之前要注意做好一些基础性的准备工作。

Find a letter form. Find a similar letter you have sent in the past, or see the Appendix to this article for sample engagement, cover, demand, contract negotiation, contract advice, and fax letters.
查找信函范本。您可以在以前起草的信函中寻找类似的范本,也可以参考一下此文附录中所列的范本(包括预约书,说明书,正式请求书,合同谈判备忘录,合同意见书及传真函等)。

Review prior letters to this recipient. In a busy world, it is easy to forget. Review prior letters to remind yourself where you are in the work process, what has already been said, and what remains to be said. This will give your letter direction and purpose.
参考一下那些以前发给该收信人的信函。在这个繁忙的世界上,好多事情容易忘记。回顾以前的信函可以提醒您在工作流程中走到了哪一步,写了些什么,还需要说些什么,所以说,这样做可以让您把握信函的方向和要旨。

Do not send a letter to another lawyer's client without that lawyer's consent. Before sending the letter, find out if the nonlawyer is represented by someone else. Start by asking your client. Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-4.2 says:
"In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer."
未经允许,不要发函给另一个律师的客户。在发送之前,要确认收信人是否已经有代理律师了。所以,在这之前,最好问一问您的客户。佛罗里达州的律师条例之职业行为规则的第4-4.2款有这样的规定:
"在为客户进行代理活动中,如果一位律师知道当事人已经有另一位律师在为其代理,除非得到该代理律师的同意,他就不得再同该当事人交流有关代理之事项。"

Outline your thoughts in a checklist. Before turning on your computer or dictating machine, pull out a yellow pad and jot down the main points for your letter. List what you want the letter to say. Write the points in any order; write them as they come into your mind. You can rearrange them when you write the letter. Right now you're just making a checklist for writing the letter.
列出您的构思提纲。在打开电脑或录音机前,拿出一个黄色的小便笺簿略记下信函的大纲并列出您将在信函中要写此什么,记录这些要点时不要考虑什么顺序,想到什么就写什么,因为你可以在真正撰写信函时重新安排顺序,而现在,您要做的仅仅是为信函准备提纲。

Keep the legal pad close at hand. When you run out of ideas for the checklist, put the pad at the side of your desk. New ideas always spring forth when writing. Jot these down on the pad as you write the letter; they are easily forgotten.
随时将上述小便笺簿放在手边。当您不需要所构思提纲清单时,也要将小便笺簿放在桌上。因为在写作过程中随时可能涌现出新思路,要及时记下这些新的思路,稍不注意,它们就会被忘了。

Simple Stuff That Will Make You Look Dumb If It's Wrong
一些错误的小细节常常会欺骗您的眼睛

Letters begin with boring things like the date and recipient's name and address, but if any of these are missing or wrong the letter writer will look pretty careless, to say the least. So be careful when starting the letter, and you can even include some extra things that will make the letter even better than the regular letters the recipient receives.
信函的页首常常要注明时间、收信人姓名、住址等繁琐事项。如果这些事项有错误或是被疏漏,说得严重一点,会让人觉得书写者有些粗心大意。所以,从一开始起草信函时就要小心谨慎,注意那些特别事项,让收信人觉得律师函比一般信函确实要好。

Date your letter. Date your letter the day you write it, and send it the same day. Undated letters are difficult to reply to. I usually reply to them by saying, "This is in reply to your undated letter that I received in the mail on 24 June 1999."
注明日期. 在信函上注明撰写的日期,并在当日发出信函。未注明日期的信函回复起来有些困难,遇到这样的难题,我常常是这样写的,"兹对1999年6月24日收到之未注明日期函做出答复。"

Consider using the international dating convention of day-month-year rather than the U.S. convention of month-day-year. As reported in the 1 June 1999 Wall Street Journal:
"The quirky U.S. style of date-writing is giving way to the day-first standard used by most of the world.
... Both the MLA style guide and the Chicago Manual of Style support the day-first format. 'You get rid of the comma that way,' says Joseph Gibaldi, director of book acquisition for the MLA in New York."
在注明日期时,最好用国际通用的格式:日-月-年(day-month-year),而不是美国通用的格式:月-日-年(month-day-year).正如华尔街日报在1999年6月1日中所报道的那样:
"有点古怪的美国时间格式正在让位于世界通用的日期在先的时间格式......现代语言学会(MLA)文体和芝加哥手册文体都支持这种日期在先的时间格式,美国纽约州现代语言学会(MLA)的图书采购部主任Joseph.Gibaldi也说'你们必须抛弃那些使用了逗号的时间格式'。"

If you are sending a fax or email, then type the time next to the date. While letters "cross in the mail" in days, faxes and emails "cross in the wires" in hours and minutes.
如果您是以传真或电子邮件的形式发送信函,应在信函上印上日期和具体时间。因为传统邮件传递可能要几天,但传真和电子杂志的传递则只需要几个小时或几分钟。

Remind your client to preserve attorney-client confidentiality. Sometimes clients show your letters to others without realizing they can lose the attorney-client privilege of that communication. Add this phrase at the top of the letter to remind them not to do this:
CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION
DO NOT COPY OR DISCLOSE TO ANYONE ELSE
If the letter is written during or in anticipation of litigation, the following phrase can be used:
CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION
AND WORK PRODUCT
DO NOT COPY OR DISCLOSE TO ANYONE ELSE

提醒客户对其与律师之间的交流沟通负有保密义务。有时候,客户们将收到的律师函拿给第三方阅读,因为他们不知道他们不能将其与律师之间沟通的内容披露给他方,所以,应该在信函的首部写上一些话来提醒客户:
"律师与客户之间的沟通交流为秘密信息,未经允许,不得复制或披露给第三方"
如果信函是发生在诉讼之中或是诉讼的准备阶段,那最好用下面这段话:
"律师与客户之间的沟通交流和律师的工作成果为秘密信息,未经允许,不得复制或披露给第三方"

Be sure to use the recipient's correct legal name and address. Your letter may be relied upon for its accuracy, so be accurate. Verification of names can be obtained from the public records, the phone book, or the webstes. And when it comes to middle initials, never rely on your memory or guess at it because most of the time you'll be wrong.
写清收信人的法定名称和住址。只有信函的内容准确,才能让人觉得它是可以信赖的。您可以利用公共档案、电话本、互联网等工具来核对这些名称的准确性,特别是,如果这些名称中出现了中间名字(middle initials),千万不要凭想象和猜测,因为想来的和猜来的东西常常都不可靠。

Indicate the method of delivery if other than mail. If being faxed, include the fax number and telephone number. If being sent by FedEx, state whether it is by overnight or second day. If being sent by email, state the email address. This will make it easy for your staff person to send it to the correct place, and it will document for your file how it was sent.
不使用传统邮件送交信函,就要特别说明送交的方式。如果是用传真发送,就要注明传真号码和电话号码;如果是用联邦快递送交,就要说明送交的时间是否会超过一天;如果是以电子邮件的形式发送,就要注明电子邮件的地址;如果是让您的同事送交到某个地点,那只需在信函上注明送交的方式即可。

Include a fax notice. When sending by fax, include a notice in case it is sent to the wrong number. Here is the notice I use at the top of my letterhead when sending a fax:

NOTICE: This is privileged and confidential and intended only for the person named below. If you are not that person, then any use, dissemination, distribution or copying of this is strictly prohibited, and you are requested to notify us immediately by calling or faxing us collect at the numbers above.
Date Sent ________ Time Sent ________ Number of Pages ________
Person Who Conf'd Receipt _________

传真通知。在发传真的时候,最好附一个传真通知以防发错了号码。这里有一个我经常放在传真信函抬头的通知样本:
注意:本传真欲发送给下述之收件人,该接收人享有专用权并负有保密义务。若您非下文所述之收件人,请不要使用、分发、发送、复制本传真件,并应尽快通过电话或传真通知我们更改上文所述之号码。
发送日期_______ 发送时间________ 页数_______
特定收件人_____________

After sending a fax, call the recipient to confirm receipt and write that person's name in the space provided. Never rely on the fax machine itself to confirm a fax transmission; fax machines do not yet have the credibility of a human witness.
发完传真后,要打电话给收件人确认其已经收到传真,并在有空余的地方记下收件人的名字。千万不要相信传真机显示的发送成功的信息,因为传真机终究是机器,不具有类似人类智慧的可信度。

The Corpus of the Litterae
信函格式

The body of the letter is why you are writing it. You succeed by leaving the reader with full knowledge of why you wrote the letter and what it means. You fail by leaving the reader dumbfound and clueless as to why you sent such a letter. While most letters fall somewhere in between these two extremes, following these suggestions will keep your letters on the successful end of the scale.
信函的主体是书写信函的目的之所在。您必须让读者清楚地知道您想要表达的意思和目的。如果您的信函让读者一头雾水,让他们不知道您要说些什么的话,那这样的信函是不合格的。大多数的信函常常会在某些地方步入这两个极端,但遵从下述建议却可以让您的信函走上成功之路。

Identify your client. It is important to let others know who is your client at the earliest opportunity. This accomplishes a GREat deal. First, it tells the reader that your client has a lawyer. This makes your client happy because most clients want the world to know they have a lawyer. Second, it tells the reader that you are not the reader's lawyer. This makes your malpractice carrier happy because it's one less person who's going to sue you claiming they thought you were representing them when, in fact, you were not.

Identifying your client is an ethical concern, as well. Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-4.3 says:

"In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested."

Therefore, the first time you write someone a letter, the letter should open with the following sentence: "I represent _________." After that, every time you write another letter reconfirm who you represent by referring to your client by name and as "my client."

明确你和客户之间的关系.让其他人尽快地了解到谁是您的客户,这样做很重要,也会带来意想不到的效果。首先,这会告诉读者您的客户有律师。其实,大多数的客户都希望满世界的人知道他们是有律师的,所以这会令您的客户感到高兴和自豪。其次,这还让读者知道您不是他的律师。如果不这样做,会让那些实际上和你没有代理关系而自认为和你有代理关系的人起诉你,所以这样做,也会让那些不负责任的送交者感到有些轻松。
明确你和客户之间的关系真的很重要。佛罗里达州律师条例之职业行为规则中的第4-4.3款也规定:
"在处理自己代理的客户和一个没有代理人的当事人之间的事务时,一个律师不得声称或者暗示自己的处理是公正无私的。"
因此,您在起草信函的第一时间、第一部分应该写道:"我代表____。"自此以后每次撰写信函,您都应该再次证实您所代理的客户并称之为"我的客户"。

State the purpose of the letter. Why leave the reader guessing? Go ahead and say right up front why you are writing the letter. Here are some opening sentences:
"The purpose of this letter is to _________."
"This letter is to inform you that _________."
"My client has instructed me to _________."
"This is to confirm that _________."
"This confirms our phone conversation today in which _________."
陈述信函的要旨。为什么要让读者自己猜测呢?您应该直截了当地说出您为什么要写这封信。这里有一些此种表达法的例句:
"本文旨在______。"
"本文通知您_______。"
"我的客户指示我____。"
"本文确认___________。"
"本文证实我们今天在电话中交流的内容为_____。"

If there are any enclosures, list them first. Listing enclosures at the beginning of the letter will make it easier for your staff to assemble them and for the reader to check to be sure all was received. This is much easier than having to read an entire, perhaps lengthy, letter to ascertain what are the enclosures.

The enclosures should be described with specificity so that there is later no question as to what was enclosed. At a minimum, the title and date of each document should be listed. If the document was recorded, then the recording information should be included. Whether the document is an original or a copy should also be specified. The following is an example:

"Enclosed are the following documents from your closing held on ___/___/1999 in which you purchased the home at _________, St. Petersburg, Florida, from _________:

Warranty Deed dated ___/___/1999 and recorded on ___/___/1999 at O.R. Book ____, Page ____, _________, County, Florida (original)
Title Insurance Policy issued on ___/___/1999 by _________ on _________ as policy number _________ (original)
HUD-1 Settlement Statement dated ___/___/1999 (original)"
如果有随信附件,首先要列出他们的清单。附件清单应该放在信函的首部,这既可以让您的工作人员轻松地收集这些附件,也可以让读者确认这些附件是否已经全部收到。另外,这样做,读者就不需要到信函的全文中去寻找哪些是随信附件了,特别是信函过长时,这样做就更省事了。
为了避免将来引起关于附件的争议,对这些随信附件需进行详细地说明,至少,这些附件的名称和时间应该被列出。如果某附件已经被登记存档,那存档记录信息也要被列出。另外,不管附件文档是正本还是副本,都应该被说明。具体做法请参考下面这个例子:
"下列附件来源于您在1999年__月___日的交易,在该交易日中,你从____处购买了一座住宅,该住宅位于_____,彼得斯堡大街,佛罗里达州:
房产担保契约,订立于1999年__月___日,于1999年__月___日登记存档在佛罗里达州___县的公共档案中第__卷第___页上(正本)
产权保险单,由_____于1999年__月___日在_______签发,单号为____(正本)
住房和城市发展部第1号授与声明,发布于1999年__月___日(正本)"

Outline the letter as separately numbered paragraphs. Each paragraph of the letter should state a separate thought, comment, point or concept. No paragraph should be longer than four or five short sentences. If the paragraph is longer, then separate it into subparagraphs. The paragraphs should flow in logical, organized fashion. It is not necessary to write them all at once; you can write them as you think of them. Try to group related concepts in the same paragraphs or in adjacent paragraphs. See the Appendix for sample letters.
用一些相互独立的段落来描绘出信函的轮廓。信函的每个段落最好只表达一个独立的意思、意见、观点或概念。每个段落最多也只用四个或五个短句组成。如果某个段落过长,则应分成几个小分段。段落之间应该按逻辑顺序有条理地组织起来。当然,不需要一下子把它们都写出来,可以边想边写。另外,要力图在一个段落或在邻近的几个段落中将相关的概念解释清楚。本文的附录中有几个这样的例子可供参考。

Give each paragraph a title and underline that title. Think of this as the headline for a newspaper article. This makes it easy for the reader to scan the letter and choose how to more fully read and digest its contents. This also makes it easier for you later when you see the letter in your file and try to remember why you wrote
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