Attorneys write opinion letters to clients all the time. Faced with a legal problem, a client will make an appointment with your boss. At this meeting, the client will tell your boss the source of his legal problem. The opinion letter is your boss’s understanding of the law that applies to the client’s particular case. opinion letter
You, as the paralegal, will be asked to
- research the law,
- apply the law to the specific facts faced by the client, and
- draft a legal opinion letter for your boss’s signature.
Write an Opinion Letter
- The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with practice writing an opinion letter.
Step 1: Use Google to find samples of the opinion of counsel letters
Here is one example of the format for the letter: https://
Step 2: Review the following fact pattern
Holly Homeowner was a homeowner no more. Due to a protracted illness, she was unable to work. When her disability benefits ran out, she was unable to make her mortgage payment. Subsequently, she lost her home to foreclosure. She signed an agreement with her mortgage lender allowing the foreclosure, relinquished ownership of the house, and moved out. Three years after she moved out, a code inspector came to the house, which had been vacant. The inspector found an overgrown backyard and a swimming pool that had turned into a mosquito-infested cesspool. The City sent Holly, who was still listed as the homeowner in county property records, a letter informing her of the problems. The City began to fine her $100 a day. The letter was returned to the City as “undeliverable”, with no forwarding address. Successive letters were, again, returned to the City as “undeliverable”, with no forwarding address. The City continued fining Holly $100 a day. Holly met one of her old neighbors for lunch on Wednesday. He handed Holly one of the letters from the city that was mistakenly deposited in his mailbox on Tuesday. The letter stated Holly owed the City $105,000.00 in fees and penalties. Holly is in your office and asks if the City can impose such excessive fines. Use your jurisdiction to answer her question–does the Eighth Amendment, which forbids “excessive fines,” restrict the fees state and local governments can impose?
Step 3: Research your state’s law regarding excessive fines and penalties
Step 4: Research federal law regarding excessive fines and penalties
Step 5: Draft the opinion letter for Holly Homeowner. Make sure to provide a recommendation to Holly on a possible course of action in the form of a conclusion. Make sure your letter is cited using correct Bluebook citation
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