Sample Cover Letter for Legal Job Seekers
A good lawyer cover letter is your foot in the door when you're applying for a job with a law firm. It's an invitation to the reader -- the hiring manager or maybe the senior partner -- to move on to your resume. It's your opportunity to convince him that he simply has to meet you and learn more about you.
But too much creativity can be a drawback -- you'll want to exude professionalism and tempered enthusiasm.
Here's a sample legal cover letter to guide you.
Get the Caption Right
Include your full name -- be sure to use the one under which you've been admitted to the bar if you're a lawyer. Give your street address, not a P.O. box, including your city, state and zip code. Include your phone number with a notation as to whether it's a cellphone or landline. Give your email address -- many employers prefer to reach out by email first.
Enter the date below this information, then address who you're sending the letter to the name and address of the law firm and, below that, an "ATTN:" line with the name of the individual within the firm who will read your letter.
The Body of Your Lawyer Cover Letter
Dear [Insert name of hiring manager or partner]:
State the position for which you are applying and explain how you learned of the job opening in your opening paragraph. This is also a good place to mention the name of anyone who referred you or a mutual acquaintance.
Try to craft your opening in a compelling manner that will encourage the reader to read on. Toot your own horn a little. Example: “As an award-winning paralegal with 20 years of personal injury experience, I am writing in response to the position of litigation paralegal advertised in the Main Street Legal Journal.”
Now it's time to explain your skills. Use the next paragraph or two to detail your education and experience. Keep in mind that this is all mentioned in your resume as well -- your letter should be a brief summary of what the reader will learn if he looks at your resume next.
Match your skills to the requirements of the position and highlight any relevant awards and accomplishments. Explain how your background, skills, experience and past achievements make you the perfect candidate for the job. Support your statements with evidence whenever possible. Don't merely assert that you're a skilled writer.
Mention that you won the two legal writing competitions and have published over 100 articles. Don't just say that you contributed to a company’s bottom line. Note that you implemented new software that saved the legal department over a million dollars. Break up dense text with bullets and use short paragraphs to promote readability. Endless lines of text can be off-putting.
Make Sure Your Reader Reads On
Use your closing paragraph to thank the firm for considering your application, then request a meeting or interview. Indicate how and when you will follow up on your cover letter and mention the best way to reach you.
If your physical address isn't your mailing address but you want to receive notification of a potential interview by snail mail, this would be a good place to direct the reader to your P.O. box.
All this effort is for naught if your reader doesn't look at your resume and any other documents you've included. Sign off with "Respectfully yours" or something equally formal, place your signature above your name, then add the all-important "Enclosure(s)" line. List everything you're including with the letter, in order.
Sample cover letter for Full Time position at law firm
Law Firm Name e.g. XXX
APPLICATION FOR A POSITION AS A CANDIDATE ATTORNEY (YEAR)
It is with great enthusiasm that I address this letter to you to apply for a position as a candidate attorney with XXX in (year).
Currently, I am in my Intermediate Year of my LLB and have recently completed my first degree, Bachelor of Social Sciences, majoring in Psychology and Law.
I am a friendly, articulate and focused person who is used to working under pressure and managing an intense work load. My obtaining of a BsocSci with Majors in Psychology and Law is testimony to my diligence, commitment and acceptance of hard-work. The two faculties operate in constant conflict, which resulted in me often having to submit a Psychology assignment or test on the same day as one I needed to submit for Law.
Despite the difficulties faced, I have managed to complete my BsocSci and can now set my primary focus to an area I feel passionate about - Law. Every year I have developed newfound interest in a subject and am almost constantly surprised at finding I enjoy a course that I did not expect to. I am certain that my final year (year) will be no exception. I believe, that the rotation regime XXX offers, will help me decide on the exact field of law I am most suited for and give me the opportunity to explore both the litigation and commercial departments in law, before settling on one I want to specialize in.
The combination of humanity courses and law has provided me with a fresh and dynamic insight to legal problems, which assists me in finding innovative solutions to challenges faced. The combination has also helped me hone my research and analyzing abilities, as both Psychology and Law are research based faculties. In addition to the above, my work at a YYY has helped me develop proficient communication skills which I consider to be vital when meeting new clients and helping them establish the practice’s ability to provide necessary advice and services. The above knowledge and experience are ones I intend to extend to my work as a candidate attorney.
I consider myself a worthy candidate as I possess numerous interests outside of my studies, such as: archery, reading, my church and being a member of the SLSJ (Students for Law and Social Justice). This shows that I am a well-rounded applicant as opposed to a purely academic one. My drive, ambition and ability to work well with almost anyone, is what sets me apart from others.
I am applying to XXX, as I believe your firm can help me reach my full potential under the guidance and supervision of leading lawyers. Despite a leading commercial South African Law firm, what excites me the most, is that you offer an in-depth rotation programme and take a keen interest in your candidate attorneys. I am confident that the experience and work ethics I will be exposed to as a candidate attorney in your firm, will guide me into shaping my Law career.
My online application has a copy of my curriculum vitae and supporting documents for your perusal. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information and/or documents. I eagerly await a response and appreciate the time and effort it took to read through my application.
Name and surname
See our template for making your own punchy cover letter
Get access to over 7,000 cover letters from candidates getting jobs at your target companies.