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This article is written by Garima Gunjan, pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation, and Dispute Resolution from Lawsikho.

Introduction

The Letter of Intent (LoI) is a primary document through which one party declares officially to do business with another party. Its contents are similar to Term Sheets. It is based on the letter format.  Unlike agreements, LoIs are not legally binding to the involved parties. The particulars of LoI are described in a tabular format usually. It is ideally a document, which is specifically prepared for discussion purposes. Although they are not valid legally, LoIs also finds mentions of no-solicitation clauses and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). 

Purpose

The purpose of the LoI is to highlight the understanding that takes place between two or more parties regarding terms and conditions that they intend to finalize via this document. LoI protects the interests of all the parties who are involved in such a deal. Depending on the types of agreement that involved parties are going to sign, LoI is also used as a signal to indicate if these parties are going to sign deals such as joint ventures, property leases, or term sheets. Also, it can be referred to announce a kind of deal between two parties once they are done with negotiations. LoI is structured in such a way that the basic terms for the succeeding agreement are highlighted well before the involved parties start discussions in detail to finalize the important clauses and terms. Once prepared, LoI helps the parties to decide which terms they should consider important and start negotiations. 

Difference between LoI and cover letter

Although both Letter of Intent and cover letter (CL) consist of similar content, yet they serve different purposes. You can send LoI anytime but you are supposed to mail the cover letter only if you wish to apply for a specific position. The CL contains information specific to the job a paralegal wishes to apply for, whereas in an LoI, you also mention why you want to work under the specific Advocate. In an LoI, you enquire about potential or upcoming openings, but in a CL you mention every detail regarding a specific job posting. 

Paralegals

A paralegal is a legal professional who performs legal procedures under the guidance of a lawyer or attorney. They are required to assist legal professionals in matters related to litigation or consultative nature. Many law firms, consultancies, companies with law departments, organizations involved in public policy work hire paralegals to carry out legal work. Whether it’s environmental, corporate, intellectual property (IP) registration, property, tax, criminology, labour, civil, or any related matter, paralegals are always required by senior legal professionals to complete the required clerical works.  

According to the American Association for Paralegal Education (USA), the task of paralegals is to carry out ongoing and procedural legal work according to prevalent state laws, which otherwise qualified attorneys have to perform. Paralegals enhance their knowledge about laws prevalent in their jurisdiction through their studies, and practical legal work experiences. They are also required to follow legal & professional ethics compulsorily and adhere to workplace guidelines. 

A few of the legal tasks that paralegals are required to carry out include prepare interrogations, draft notices & contracts, prepare memos and carry out legal research, perform investigations, deal with bankruptcy and cheque bounce matters, assist in project management, carry out court filings, and perform other similar tasks as instructed by their seniors.  In many countries, including the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), and India, paralegals can’t perform all forms of legal tasks unless they obtain their attorney or advocate license by clearing their respective Bar exam. In India, the term ‘paralegal’ is not widely used, but it has started catching up, mostly used as a substitute for ‘Legal Interns.’

Letter of Intent for Paralegal

Paralegals prepare LoI when they want to express their intention to the law firms or legal departments of companies they shall be applying to work, regarding the legal sector they wish to work in. For example, if a paralegal is interested in learning the nuances of Environmental Law, she will send an LoI to any law firm or a senior Advocate practicing in this sector. 

LoI drafted by a paralegal contains details regarding the intended action. In nature, this document is non-binding which means that the clauses of LoI can’t be enforced. 

Benefits of drafting LoI for a Paralegal

Once drafted well, an LoI can be an important tool for an Advocate to decide whether that Paralegal should be allowed to work under her or not. It also allows both the paralegal and advocate to figure out if they will be able to work together and if they agree on all points or not. LoI gives a chance to the paralegal and the hiring Advocate to negotiate on clauses they don’t agree on certain points such as stipend amount or work period.

The LoI also acts as proof of the legal skills that a paralegal possesses. Based on the information, one of the sides can even reject LoI or modify it after negotiations. Overall an LoI allows parties to save time and resources while a final offer of the ‘joining letter’ is made to the paralegal. 

How to draft a Letter of Intent for a Paralegal work?

Paralegals are required to draft the LoI when they are required to submit a job application or if they wish to know about the company they are going to work in. If you have a well-drafted LoI, chances are high that the potential employer has spotted you among the numerous applications and they will be going through your resume.  

Letter of Intent by a paralegal acts as a blueprint for the hiring Advocate through which the latter gets to know what the former would gain by working in his or her firm. It should contain a basic introduction of the paralegal, his purpose or intention behind drafting this LoI, educational details, legal skills, previous details of places he has worked at (along with duration and tasks performed), period for which he wants to work, desired stipend amount and contact details (phone no, email id and address for communication). Let’s see in detail what an ideal Letter of Intent drafted by a paralegal should look like:

Salutation 

Paralegals should prepare their LoIs informal business English. The Letter should be addressed to the required person using the prefix ‘Dear.’ In case you don’t know about the receipt, you can research about the same by going to the Company or law firm site’s ‘About Us’ section. 

Introduction

LoI’s first paragraph should contain the paralegal’s introduction. It should also include why the paralegal wishes to work for the company. Example of the same:

“Dear [Name], 

                I am writing to express my interest in a position within your Litigation team. I am a Paralegal with six months’ experience overseeing legal drafting works. I believe my skills will make me a valuable addition to your team. I’m a final year LLB student at ILS Law College, Pune with an interest in Corporate and IPR laws”

Your paralegal skills

As a paralegal, you should mention in detail what are your legal skills and how you can apply them to benefit the daily tasks of the law firm. Example:

“With my skills and qualifications, I am capable of providing paralegal services to protect your company’s innovation and intellectual property. While pursuing my LLB degree, I have gained knowledge of Intellectual Property Laws and Company Laws. As a member of my college’s Corporate Law cell, I was able to stay up to date on most of the legal current affairs. With my previous internship at a law firm, I successfully applied this knowledge and gained field experience.”

Specific accomplishments

Mention only relevant skills and publications (along with a link) in LoI. You can give an in-depth description of all your legal skills and publications in the CV. Also, mention your soft skills and technical skills along with the languages. You can also mention your volunteering details as long as it complements your legal skills. Example:

“During my internship at AZB & Partners, I performed the following tasks:

  • The drafted employment agreement, MoUs, and Franchisee Agreement
  • Assisted in due diligence
  • Prepared arguments for trials and assisted in case drafting” 

How your legal skills will be beneficial for the law firm?

In this part, explain how you can utilize your skills to assist in daily tasks. Research a bit about the law firm and try to link your skills to their expertise area, mission, or even working culture. For this part of LoI, you will have to do detailed research about the firm by visiting their blogs, client testimonials, Linked In, and news articles. For example:

“I recently read your blog on the knowledge-sharing program you are implementing within your commercial litigation team, and I believe my communication and collaboration skills will make me a valuable addition to the team.”

Contact details

Mention your email id, phone number along with residential address correctly so that the law firm can reach out to you while replying for your LoI. These details should be mentioned while you are ending the LoI. For example:

“Sincerely, 

Niti Singh,

Phone No: 910022861

Email ID: [email protected] 

Address: Flat-11, Shri Apartment, Viman Nagar, Pune-14.”

Sample LoI draft

Let’s see how a sample LoI draft may look like:

August 9, 2021

Reddy and Reddy Associates,

Shivajinagar, Pune,

Maharashtra- 411002

[email protected]

Dear Mrs. Navani,

I am writing to express my interest in a position within your Litigation team. I am a Paralegal with six months’ experience overseeing legal drafting works. I believe my skills will make me a valuable addition to your team. I’m a final year LLB student at ILS Law College, Pune with an interest in Corporate and IPR laws.

With my skills and qualifications, I am capable of providing paralegal services to protect your company’s innovation and intellectual property. While pursuing my LLB degree, I have gained knowledge of Intellectual Property Laws and Company Laws. As a member of my college’s Corporate Law cell, I was able to stay up to date on most of the legal current affairs. With my previous internship at a law firm, I successfully applied this knowledge and gained field experience.

During my internship at AZB & Partners, I performed the following tasks:

 The drafted employment agreement, MoUs, and Franchisee Agreement

Assisted in due diligence

Prepared arguments for trials and assisted in case drafting

I recently read your blog on the knowledge-sharing program you are implementing within your commercial litigation team, and I believe my communication and collaboration skills will make me a valuable addition to the team.

I have further attached my resume highlighting professional and academic excellence. I look forward to hearing you in due course. I appreciate your time and consideration. 

Sincerely, 

Niti Singh,

Phone No: 910022861

Email ID: [email protected] 

Address: Flat-11, Shri Apartment, Viman Nagar, Pune-14

Conclusion

An LoI should be drafted in such a manner that the Advocate should be compelled to read the paralegal’s resume. Its content should be direct and to the point. The main content of an LoI is the skills of a paralegal which should be backed with some experience. It is non-binding and helps the recruiter to decide if the paralegal is suitable for the job or not. 

References

  1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/letterofintent.asp.
  2. https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/letter-of-intent-lawyers.html.
  3. https://woman.thenest.com/difference-between-cover-letter-letter-interest-13867.html.
  4. https://www.wikijob.co.uk/content/application-advice/job-applications/how-write-letter-intent.

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