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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
6/3/2015 1:43:37 PM


Book Review: Collection, Demand, and Commercial Letters for the General Practitioner

Cook, David J. Collection, Demand, and Commercial Letters for the General Practitioner. ABA Publishing, 2015, 329 p., paperback. $109.95. ISBN 978-1-63425-070-2

Collection, Demand, and Commercial Letters for the General Practitioner
is a new title by San Francisco attorney, David J. Cook.

cook_collection_demand_commercial_letters2.pngPublished by the American Bar Association, this guide provides practical information written in an engaging, off-beat style.  David J. Cook, also the author of The Debt Collector’s Handbook, begins this new book by describing the purpose of demand letters, the various means of delivery to the recipient(s), and the expected outcomes when sending these documents.  The chapters in the second half of the book provide examples, with commentary, of letters relating to specific business situations.  

The author acknowledges that his text is not all inclusive.  It needs to be read in conjunction with the Uniform Commercial Code.  (Mr. Cook uses the text of California’s UCC in his illustrations and reminds readers to check local law.)  In one section, he illustrates a number of sections within the UCC that require that the claimant make either a demand or a request or a notification; all of which can be accomplished by a demand letter.  Relief under other sections requires that the claim be made as a written demand, be specific in the relief sought, and ensure delivery to the correct person.  Well-drafted demand letters can meet all these requirements.

In addition to using the demand letter to request repayment, the author provides commentary on using the demand letter as a fact-finder.  The response received during the demand letter process can provide a chance to hear the other side of the story.  Has there been an undisclosed bankruptcy filed?   Has the letter been delivered to the party, or was the letter returned “addressee unknown” by the US Postal Service? Did the client provide the full and accurate story, or was a copy of a check marked paid-in-full returned?   Information newly acquired as part of the response to the letter can help the attorney decide whether to proceed with the matter.

In addition to sending a message to an opposing party, the demand letter can begin the chain of notification to third parties.  Insurance companies can require notification by the insured by the language of policies when a demand letter is received.  Auditors will see the letter in business files. Regulatory agencies may also require reporting.

Mr. Cook stresses the importance of any demand letter being well-written -- professional in tone and demeanor.  Not only does a carefully composed letter send a message of competency to an addressee and the client, it may become a public document if it becomes part of the court record in the future.  The demand letter, and its receipt by the respondent, is an element of the cause of action.   The language will be read by the judge or reviewed by a jury.  The attorney should forgo the use any threatening or insulting language as it may reflect poorly on the attorney and the client.

The final chapters of Collection, Demand, and Commercial Letters for the General Practitioner are the sections which may be of most value to reference librarians.  Here, the author provides examples of and commentary on letters written for specific types of business transactions.  

Examples include:

  • Demand for money paid by mistake or fraud
  • Claim of infringement of title
  • Contract for exclusive supplier
  • Demand for accounting in a trust or estate
  • Demand for unpaid legal fees and costs.

The information in this title is practical not pontifical.  The light-hearted writing style makes the author’s advice easy to follow.  This title would make a good addition to any legal transaction collection.

Nancy McEnroe /Reference Librarian /Alameda County Law Library/nancy.mcenroe@acgov.org

Posted By Nancy McEnroe at 6/3/2015 1:43:37 PM  0 Comments
5/22/2015 5:27:34 PM

Boalt Hall Law Library Summer Reading List


Just in time for the long weekend, Berkeley Law has compiled its semi-annual pleasure reading list. Take a look, and find something good to read!

Posted By Christina Tarr at 5/22/2015 5:27:34 PM  0 Comments
5/18/2015 7:29:09 PM

Conversations From the Trenches: Review of "A Handbook for Corporate Information Professionals."

Schopflin, Katharine (ed.). A handbook for corporate information professionals. London: Facet Publishing, 2015. viii, 184 p. £59.95. ISBN 978-1-85604-968-9.

 Book Cover: A Handbook for Corporate Information ProfessionalsThis edited collection of ten chapter length essays, authored by thirteen experienced information professionals working in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US, is both conversational and informative.  Each chapter focuses on a unique aspect of the information professional’s work and related role in the organization.

Schopflin sets the stage for the collection in Chapter 1 with her essay on the history and development of the “corporate information service.” Her definition of the modern corporate information service as “the unit within the corporate body that [provides] the information that staff need to carry out the work of the organization” (1) sets the tone for the entire book. The theory underlying this definition is reflected in each chapter as the authors urge information professionals to continually reevaluate their roles, step up to provide value for their organizations that goes beyond providing access to resources, and learn to take credit for such added value. As Lippell writes in chapter 5, “the challenge for all of us who are passionate about organizing and using information is to spot the opportunities and sell ourselves, inside the organization and beyond.” (Lippell, 76)

As indicated by its title, the book is practical in its tone and advice. The chapters that focus on developing and managing the organization’s intranet (chapter 2) or knowledge management program (chapter 6), building a corporate taxonomy (chapter 5), working with suppliers and licensing for e-libraries (chapter 9), and training end-users (chapter 10) are filled with implementation recommendations and tips that the reader can easily adapt to his or her own workplace.  Chapter 9 on e-resources includes a helpful afterword written from the vendor’s point of view. Any information professional investigating these roles for him or herself will appreciate that the content in these chapters is delivered in a straight-forward, introductory, you “can-do-it” manner.

Chapter 3 on internal and external marketing efforts, Chapter 4 on the relationship between the information professional and corporate IT, and Chapter 7 on managing and leading change are important reads for any information professional. Chapter 3 addresses the importance of developing a professional reputation and network that can be leveraged to benefit both the information professional and the organization. Chapter 4 highlights the sometimes contentious relationship between IT and the information profession and how to best resolve these issues and improve this important relationship to the benefit of the organization. Chapter 7 includes the usual advice on how to successfully manage change and position the information services unit during times of change. Similar to the rest of the book, these three chapters include practical implementable advice on how to take on these important career building opportunities. Information professionals working in any environment will find the advice and guidance in these chapters very helpful.  

Chapter 8 with its focus on the successful management of insight, intelligence and information on a global level is the outlier of the book. Although it is similar in structure in that it identifies a career arena in which information professionals can step up and provides what appears to be common sense practical advice about how to go about it, the chapter’s appeal will likely be limited to a select few interested in or already working in this type of high-level career. However, most readers will enjoy and find applicable the discussion of big data, information mining, and clients who simply cannot believe that the desired information does not exist.

A Handbook for Corporate Information Professionals is a well written and accessible introduction to the important issues facing information professionals. The work is an excellent selection for corporate libraries as well as those academic libraries that support information science programs. In addition, it has significant potential for use in courses in information science programs. Chapter 3 on networking and developing a professional reputation should be read by any student considering a career in information science. The chapters are short, topical and accessible, making it easy to insert one or more into the syllabus. More importantly, all are sure to generate classroom and water-cooler conversations among future and current information professionals.   

Catherine A. Lemmer, Assistant Director of Information Services, Ruth Lilly Law Library, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, calemmer@iupui.edu

Posted By Catherine Lemmer at 5/18/2015 7:29:09 PM  0 Comments