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Before and after examples

Professional services letter

The opening paragraphs from a solicitor’s letter to a client after a car accident:

We refer to your telephone call of <date> and your appointment to meet with us at our offices on <date>.

The legislation with respect to claims for damages for injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident require you to provide the compulsory third party insurer with a Notice of Accident Claim Form within one month of you first consulting a lawyer about making a claim for damages.

If you fail to provide the insurer with the Notice within this time frame, then it is likely that you will not be able to recover any damages in relation to your injuries.  We can advise you when your first consultation is.

The Notice of Accident Claim Form must be signed by you and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or Solicitor.  It will be in your best interests if we are able to complete the Notice during your first appointment with us so that we can witness the Notice.

It is in your best interests if the information that is contained in the Notice of Accident Claim Form is true and correct.  If the insurer becomes aware that the information is not true and correct, it is likely that the insurer will seek to defend the claim more vigorously and may not wish to settle or may settle the claim on terms that are less favourable than you might otherwise be able to obtain.

The letter now begins:

Thank you for making an appointment to see us about your injury.  We look forward to meeting you at our office on <date>, when we will discuss your accident in detail.

At this appointment, we will also help you accurately fill out a “Notice of Accident Claim” form, which you need to provide to the compulsory third party insurer (CTP insurer) by <date>.  If your insurer does not receive the form by then, it is unlikely you will be able to recover any damages for your injuries.  For your own peace of mind, we would like to complete the form during the appointment and send it immediately.

A term from a contract

We were given a standard contract which was hard to use, and asked to make it easier to understand.  This was the term about how royalties would be paid:

The Company shall compute royalties payable to you hereunder as of June 30th and December 31st for each preceding six (6) month period during which books as to which royalties are payable hereunder are sold, and, prior to each succeeding September 30 and March 31st, respectively, shall render a statement and pay the net amount of such royalties, if any, less any unrecouped Advances and any other permissable offsets, including, without limitation, such amounts, if any, that the Company may be required to withhold pursuant to the applicable statute, regulation, treaty, or law of the United Kingdom. The Company will liquidate any reserves within two (2) full accounting periods after the period in which such reserves were initially established. No royalty statements will be required for periods during which no additional royalties accrue. The Company may deduct from any royalty or other payment due to you under this Agreement any amount you may owe the Company under this Agreement and/or any other agreement between you and the Company or its affiliates, including products purchased under this Agreement. If the Company makes any over payment to you (e.g. by reason of an accounting error or by paying royalties on books returned later), you will reimburse the Company to the extent the Company does not deduct such sums from monies due you hereunder.

We rewrote this in clearer language and separated the different concepts into numbered clauses.  This made the information much easier to find:

1.1      Royalties will be calculated at the end of each Royalty Period [this term had been defined elsewhere in the contract].

1.2      Within three months of the end of each Royalty Period, we will issue you with a royalty statement setting out:

(a)       the royalty calculation in accordance with the formula given in the previous clause;

(b) any unrecouped advances to be deducted;

(c) any other deductions or offsets permitted by any agreement between us;

(d) any amounts which the law requires us to withhold; and

(e) the net amount payable to you.

1.3 We will pay you the net amount shown on your royalty statement at the same time as we issue your royalty statement.

1.4 If you are overpaid for any reason, then we can choose to either:

(a) require you to reimburse the overpayment within 14 days; or

(b) deduct the overpayment from your next royalty payment.




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