Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Idaho

Is it against the law for someone to use an attorney's letterhead info to send a threatening letter to me? I received a letter but don't believe it was from the office it claimed to be. I believe these people used the information to try to scare me. The letter was very emotionally charged and I have never known an attorney to write a letter like this. I wonder if I should just ignore this or contact the attorney to verify whether he wrote it or not. It was NOT signed but underneath the "non-signature" was this statement. "Sent without signature to avoid delay"

This seems totally stupid as it takes two seconds to sign a document if it's a legal document written by the person. What's the deal here? Am I being bamboozled??

Asked on 12/20/12, 10:42 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Swartley Eberle, Berlin, Kading, Turnbow & McKlveen, Chartered

It is not uncommon for an attorney to have a letter sent out with the phrase "sent without signature to avoid delay". Litigators, for instance, are out of the office often more than they are in it and will dictate a letter to a legal assistant or secretary while out of the office. Not being there, they obviously cannot sign the letter.

Just as you say it takes two seconds to sign a letter, it just takes a moment or two to simply call the attorney at the number on the letterhead and ask what the purpose of the letter was and to discuss the issues raised.

In Idaho, as in most other states I would imagine, it would be considered the unauthorized practice of law if a non-lawyer were to send a letter to someone, provided that letter gave legal advice and the person represented his or herself as a licensed attorney. That would be a criminal offense and should be brought to your local prosecuting attorney's attention, if that is in fact the case.

In this instance, without knowing more about the facts, I would guess that an attorney dictated the letter and dictated it in such a way as to catch your attention with what you consider inflammatory language. Clearly that worked as you are asking the question here. I would call the attorney and discussed the issues addressed in the letter and, if need be, consult with an attorney on your rights based on your discussion with the attorney.

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Answered on 12/20/12, 1:02 pm

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