中英文对照:如何撰写发给非专业人士的律师函 HOW TO WRITE LETTERS NON-LAWYERS WILL READ 作者:译者:胡清平 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 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.