I have a legal plan that allows me consultation from numerous lawyers in my area and I can also have lawyers write demand letters for me as part of my plan. However, the plan stops there. It doesn't give me legal representation in litigious matters or any continued counsel past the demand letter. Any further services would be an out of pocket expense. In my research, a demand letter is a "presuit" type of action. Does sending a demand letter signal to the other party that we are gearing up to litigate in court? Does the signal seem somewhat misguided if I don't have continued support from my lawyer for whatever happens next (even if no lawsuit occurs, e.g., further communications with the other party)?

It seems like we will be committing some kind of "faux pas" if we are not completely prepared or understanding of the message we are sending.

  • Why did this question get downvoted? Can someone please tell me? I think the question has very clear "end goal" in mind that isn't an open-ended question.
    – LeanMan
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


A demand letter often serves as a threat of legal action, but it is in no way a promise of or commitment to legal action. Indeed it is often a bluff, sent by a party with no intent to bring suit, in hopes of frightening the other party into compliance or compromise. There is nothing illegal in such a use of a demand letter. Some might consider it immoral, some perfectly moral. Some might consider it moral if and only if the demand was perceived as just.

Nor is there any need to inform the other party what arrangements you have with your lawyer, or whether you are willing to pay the costs of a follow-up suit. If the party knows or suspects that you cannot afford to sue, or will not spend the time and provide the funds needed to sue, the letter may be given less weight by the recipient.

  • It is unethical (in a disbarring sense) for a lawyer to state that a course of action will be perused when they know it won’t be.
    – Dale M
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 22:12
  • I agree with that statement but I think the "course of action" isn't a function of whether legal suit can occur but rather if the client has the means (money/time) to pursue the legal suit which a lawyer will not factor into their justification of a demand letter. Instead, they will, at least in my case, categorize that under telling their client the costs of legal representation or further legal counsel.
    – LeanMan
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 22:32
  • 1
    @Dale, yes but typical demand letter doesn't say that a suit will be filed or another course of action be taken. It says "The law requires X, we demands that you do X by date Y. If you do not, we may bring a suit for Z". Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 22:50

A demand letter is typically just demanding that they follow the law and informing them of the law, according to the lawyer. It is reasonable to expect the other party to follow the law, not break it. So a ( well-written) demand letter should not raise an issue related to false pretenses.

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