Your previous employer is talking to your new employer. Or maybe they’re telling a potential employer about you. They’re not saying anything nice and probably ruining the chances of you getting the job. Your neighbor is spreading rumors to your other neighbors. Your ex-husband is bad mouthing you all over social media. Your ex-employee is taking clients, using your vendors, after you both signed a non-compete. And I can go on and on. I’ve reviewed hundreds of cease and desist cases.

How do you stop someone from harassing you? From slandering you? From stealing your clients? From using your logo?

The answer to every case: Send a cease and desist letter with intent to sue.

Cease and desist letters are extremely versatile; they work for almost every case imaginable. These letters are the best way to give formal notice to anyone that if they don’t stop whatever activity you find undesirable, or illegal, they will have violated your legal rights and they will face you in court as a result. You are demanding the opposition stop performing whatever activity is causing you to suffer. You are demanding the receiving party “cease” and “desist” (not start again).

Some important uses for a Cease and Desist Letter

Yes, they can be used for almost anything but of the hundreds of cases I’ve reviewed, they are most frequently used in the following situations:

• Trademark Infringement
• Copyright Infringement
• Social Media Slander
• Employee Non-Compete Issues
• Debt Collections
• Harrassment
• Stalking
• Invasion of Privacy
• Breach of Contract
• Slander
• Defamation

Cease and Desist Damages

In all of these cases, the sender will typically claim some form of damage.

Length of Cease and Desist Letters

Although there’s no standard length for any cease and desist letter, short and sweet is usually more effective than writing a novel. The longer the letter, the more complicated its interpretation becomes, the more holes it’s likely to have and it’s more likely that the opposition can find an angle to retaliate and defend themselves.

What makes the Cease and Desist letter effective

The factors that make a cease and desist letter effective really apply to any type of legal letter. The facts must be clear, the demands must be clear, your demands must be reasonable and you must be ready and willing to sue if necessary. That’s it.

The most EFFECTIVE cease and desist letters contain the following elements:

• Honest, hard facts
• A plantiff that's willing to sue and the recipient knows it
• A reasonable demand

If you've managed to accomplish these line items in your letter, and it's sent by a licensed attorney, you are statistically more likely to gain compliance.

Tell the story, build your case

Simply writing an emotional letter and demanding you be made whole won’t work. You need to tell the story as if the opposition has no recollection of the matter. You are essentially “selling them” on your version of what happened. And then you will lead them into the consequences if they do not cease and desist and/or meet the demands you’ve listed out.

End the Cease and Desist letter strong

The last thing the opposition should read is your intent to sue them if they do not comply with your requests. Above this, you will list out the damages they will be liable for if they do not cease and desist.

Exhibits are key. Exhibits can be anything from a screenshot to a photo to a recording. Attaching tangible evidence adds a lot of credibility to your letter and in some cases are the make or break. If you have evidence, include it as an exhibit.

Things you shouldn’t do…

Don’t use a demand letter to extort from the recipient, accuse the recipient of crimes they did not commit, mention committing a crime against them, threaten to stalk, harass, hurt, injure or kill the recipient. Don’t do these things. Don’t threaten to defame or slander, disgrace, humiliate or cause any damage to the recipient whatsoever. The consequences are obvious and need no further explanation. Don’t do it.

Should you have an attorney write and send the letter?

I get this question a lot and I understand you want to write it yourself, you want to vent, you want to be heard. It’s normal. However, drafting and delivering the letter yourself won’t be effective. It will be a waste of time and I think it’s the biggest contributor to failed cease and desist letters.

If cost is an issue, services such as LetterDash will have a licensed attorney draft and deliver any letter on their company letterhead to any recipient for just $199 – flat-fee.

Average cost of Cease and Desist letters

The national average cost of a cease and desist letter is approximately $1,375. This is the cost of hiring an attorney directly.

The typical turnaround for such a letter coming directly from an attorney is about 2 weeks. LetterDash has a system in place that forces letters to be completed within 48 business hours and in some cases 5 business days max for $199 vs. the two weeks and $1,400 you’ll pay going directly to an attorney.

Be reasonable, be a winner

Be reasonable with your demands. Make sure to have a realistic conversation with your attorney before sending the letter. I found that the successful letters were the ones that were reasonable with their demands, they were filled with facts and demonstrated honesty. The letters that asked for insane demands ultimately fell on their face, no one took them seriously and nothing ever came to fruition.

And finally…

And finally, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can settle a case on your own. If you had a licensed attorney send the cease and desist letter, then try to step in and finish it off, you will lose power, you will weaken your position and you will ultimately fail. It shows the other party you’re cheap and willing to cut corners to save a buck. It shows the other party you’re not going to sue and you’re not a serious person.

The average national price of a demand letter when purchased directly through an attorney or law firm is about $1,375.

How do we do it?

It's simple. Letter writing is one of the most frequent tasks for all business and contract attorneys. We've partnered with great attorneys accross the United States that have agreed to participate in our $199/per letter model because it normally doesn't cost them more than three hours of time or their paralegal's - and they still make a small profit while working to earn your future business if it's required beyond the letter writing.

In addition, and as an aside, our staff writers and optimizers review all letters prior to delivery to ensure they are optimized to the fullest extent based on data and insights we've collected from hundreds of letters, transactions, responses and reactions received from the recipients that have received a letter that was sent to them by an attorney via the LetterDash platform.