What Is a Legal Opinion Letter?

According to Practical Law, a legal opinion letter is a document drafted by an attorney expressing the likely legal consequences or legal risks that will arise from the client’s actions. A legal opinion letter offers significantly less extensive information than legal advice, which requires more in-depth analysis. Consequently, one should not rely solely on a legal opinion letter and should instead seek out more extensive legal advice from an attorney.

Practical Law notes that legal opinion letters are often sought by businesses before making an international transaction to determine whether or not legal documents will be recognized as valid and enforceable in the foreign jurisdiction. The business then has the opportunity to evaluate the likely legal consequences of the transaction and seek further legal advice before determining whether to make the transaction.

CUNY School of Law states that legal opinion letters tend to begin with the attorney’s conclusory legal opinion, followed by a statement and explanation of the relevant legal rules. The rules are then applied to the facts in question, and the conclusion is then restated. After the client receives the legal opinion letter, the attorney usually meets with the client to clarify the legal issues and address any further questions.