Attorney Cover Letter Example (Free Guide)
Create an attorney cover letter that lands you the interview with our free examples and writing tips. use and customize our template and land an interview today..
The legal profession is a competitive and complex field. Applying for a job as an attorney can be daunting, and it's important to make sure your cover letter stands out from the competition. Our Attorney Cover Letter Guide provides helpful advice and tips on how to make your cover letter stand out from the rest. Learn how to craft an engaging, informative, and attention-grabbing cover letter that will help you get the job you want.
We will cover:
- How to write a cover letter, no matter your industry or job title.
- What to put on a cover letter to stand out.
- The top skills employers from every industry want to see.
- How to build a cover letter fast with our professional Cover Letter Builder .
- What a cover letter template is, and why you should use it.
Related Cover Letter Examples
Attorney cover letter sample.
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Dear [Hiring Manager],
I am writing to express my interest in the Attorney position at [Company Name]. With my extensive experience in the legal industry and my commitment to upholding the highest standards of legal practices, I am confident that I can make a positive impact on your organization.
I have a Juris Doctor degree from [University Name], and I have been practicing law since [Year]. During the past [Number] years, I have honed my skills in a variety of areas including contract law, real estate transactions, litigation, and regulatory compliance. I am well-versed in both state and federal laws, and I have a thorough understanding of courtroom proceedings. I have successfully handled cases involving contracts, corporate mergers, real estate transactions, and other matters.
In addition to my legal expertise, I am an adept communicator and negotiator. I am able to effectively present complex legal matters in an easy-to-understand manner. I am also a skilled negotiator, and I have a history of producing successful outcomes for my clients.
I am a compassionate and hardworking attorney who is committed to providing exceptional legal services. I would be thrilled to join your team and use my expertise to help your organization achieve its goals.
Thank you for considering my candidacy for the Attorney position. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing the opportunity further.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
Why Do you Need a Attorney Cover Letter?
- A Attorney cover letter is an important tool for ensuring your qualifications are accurately represented to potential employers.
- It is a great way to provide a more detailed explanation of your qualifications, experiences, and accomplishments than a resume can provide.
- A Attorney cover letter is also a great way to make a good impression on potential employers and show them that you are serious about pursuing the legal profession.
- This type of letter can also provide additional detail about your experience in the legal field and demonstrate your knowledge of the law.
- A Attorney cover letter can also be used to highlight any special skills or experiences you have that may be relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Finally, a Attorney cover letter can help you stand out from other candidates and make your application more attractive to employers.
A Few Important Rules To Keep In Mind
- Address the letter to the correct person, using their name and title. If you don't know the recipient's name, use "Dear Hiring Manager".
- Include your contact information in the top right corner of the letter. Include your full name, address, phone number, and email address.
- Start the letter with a polite salutation. Use the recipient's name and title, if known. If not, use a generic salutation, such as "Dear Hiring Manager".
- In the first paragraph, explain why you are writing and include a brief summary of your relevant experience and qualifications.
- In the body of the letter, provide more detail about your experience and qualifications. Highlight the skills and knowledge that make you a good fit for the position.
- In the concluding paragraph, express appreciation for the reader's time, provide a call to action, and indicate that you will be in contact to discuss the position further.
- Close the letter with a polite salutation, such as "Sincerely" or "Regards".
- Include your full name and signature at the end of the letter. If you are sending the letter electronically, you may also include a digital signature.
What's The Best Structure For Attorney Cover Letters?
After creating an impressive Attorney resume , the next step is crafting a compelling cover letter to accompany your job applications. It's essential to remember that your cover letter should maintain a formal tone and follow a recommended structure. But what exactly does this structure entail, and what key elements should be included in a Attorney cover letter? Let's explore the guidelines and components that will make your cover letter stand out.
Key Components For Attorney Cover Letters:
- Your contact information, including the date of writing
- The recipient's details, such as the company's name and the name of the addressee
- A professional greeting or salutation, like "Dear Mr. Levi,"
- An attention-grabbing opening statement to captivate the reader's interest
- A concise paragraph explaining why you are an excellent fit for the role
- Another paragraph highlighting why the position aligns with your career goals and aspirations
- A closing statement that reinforces your enthusiasm and suitability for the role
- A complimentary closing, such as "Regards" or "Sincerely," followed by your name
- An optional postscript (P.S.) to add a brief, impactful note or mention any additional relevant information.
Cover Letter Header
A header in a cover letter should typically include the following information:
- Your Full Name: Begin with your first and last name, written in a clear and legible format.
- Contact Information: Include your phone number, email address, and optionally, your mailing address. Providing multiple methods of contact ensures that the hiring manager can reach you easily.
- Date: Add the date on which you are writing the cover letter. This helps establish the timeline of your application.
It's important to place the header at the top of the cover letter, aligning it to the left or center of the page. This ensures that the reader can quickly identify your contact details and know when the cover letter was written.
Cover Letter Greeting / Salutation
A greeting in a cover letter should contain the following elements:
- Personalized Salutation: Address the hiring manager or the specific recipient of the cover letter by their name. If the name is not mentioned in the job posting or you are unsure about the recipient's name, it's acceptable to use a general salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear [Company Name] Recruiting Team."
- Professional Tone: Maintain a formal and respectful tone throughout the greeting. Avoid using overly casual language or informal expressions.
- Correct Spelling and Title: Double-check the spelling of the recipient's name and ensure that you use the appropriate title (e.g., Mr., Ms., Dr., or Professor) if applicable. This shows attention to detail and professionalism.
For example, a suitable greeting could be "Dear Ms. Johnson," or "Dear Hiring Manager," depending on the information available. It's important to tailor the greeting to the specific recipient to create a personalized and professional tone for your cover letter.
Cover Letter Introduction
An introduction for a cover letter should capture the reader's attention and provide a brief overview of your background and interest in the position. Here's how an effective introduction should look:
- Opening Statement: Start with a strong opening sentence that immediately grabs the reader's attention. Consider mentioning your enthusiasm for the job opportunity or any specific aspect of the company or organization that sparked your interest.
- Brief Introduction: Provide a concise introduction of yourself and mention the specific position you are applying for. Include any relevant background information, such as your current role, educational background, or notable achievements that are directly related to the position.
- Connection to the Company: Demonstrate your knowledge of the company or organization and establish a connection between your skills and experiences with their mission, values, or industry. Showcasing your understanding and alignment with their goals helps to emphasize your fit for the role.
- Engaging Hook: Consider including a compelling sentence or two that highlights your unique selling points or key qualifications that make you stand out from other candidates. This can be a specific accomplishment, a relevant skill, or an experience that demonstrates your value as a potential employee.
- Transition to the Body: Conclude the introduction by smoothly transitioning to the main body of the cover letter, where you will provide more detailed information about your qualifications, experiences, and how they align with the requirements of the position.
By following these guidelines, your cover letter introduction will make a strong first impression and set the stage for the rest of your application.
Cover Letter Body
I am writing to apply for the role of Attorney at [Company], as advertised on [Source]. As an experienced attorney with a strong background in legal research, trial preparation, and litigation, I am confident that I can make a positive contribution to your team.
My experience includes:
- Conducting legal research to develop cases and provide advice
- Developing legal strategies to handle complex matters
- Drafting pleadings, motions, and other legal documents
- Analyzing and interpreting legislation, regulations, and case law
- Representing clients in administrative hearings and court proceedings
- Negotiating settlements and agreements
- Collaborating with paralegals, other attorneys, and support staff
As a licensed attorney, I understand the importance of upholding the highest standards of ethics and professionalism when representing clients. I am also well-versed in the law, and I am adept at navigating the complexities of the judicial system.
I am confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to be a valuable addition to the [Company] team. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications in more detail with you.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The conclusion and signature of a cover letter provide a final opportunity to leave a positive impression and invite further action. Here's how the conclusion and signature of a cover letter should look:
- Summary of Interest: In the conclusion paragraph, summarize your interest in the position and reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity to contribute to the organization or school. Emphasize the value you can bring to the role and briefly mention your key qualifications or unique selling points.
- Appreciation and Gratitude: Express appreciation for the reader's time and consideration in reviewing your application. Thank them for the opportunity to be considered for the position and acknowledge any additional materials or documents you have included, such as references or a portfolio.
- Call to Action: Conclude the cover letter with a clear call to action. Indicate your availability for an interview or express your interest in discussing the opportunity further. Encourage the reader to contact you to schedule a meeting or provide any additional information they may require.
- Complimentary Closing: Choose a professional and appropriate complimentary closing to end your cover letter, such as "Sincerely," "Best Regards," or "Thank you." Ensure the closing reflects the overall tone and formality of the letter.
- Signature: Below the complimentary closing, leave space for your handwritten signature. Sign your name in ink using a legible and professional style. If you are submitting a digital or typed cover letter, you can simply type your full name.
- Typed Name: Beneath your signature, type your full name in a clear and readable font. This allows for easy identification and ensures clarity in case the handwritten signature is not clear.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Attorney Cover Letter
When crafting a cover letter, it's essential to present yourself in the best possible light to potential employers. However, there are common mistakes that can hinder your chances of making a strong impression. By being aware of these pitfalls and avoiding them, you can ensure that your cover letter effectively highlights your qualifications and stands out from the competition. In this article, we will explore some of the most common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you create a compelling and impactful introduction that captures the attention of hiring managers. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your career journey, understanding these mistakes will greatly enhance your chances of success in the job application process. So, let's dive in and discover how to steer clear of these common missteps and create a standout cover letter that gets you noticed by potential employers.
- Not using a professional tone: It is important to maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout the cover letter. Avoid using overly casual language, slang, or abbreviations.
- Not addressing the letter to the reader: Make sure to address the letter to the person or company you are sending it to.
- Not summarizing your qualifications: In your cover letter, make sure to highlight the qualifications and experiences that you have that make you the perfect candidate.
- Including too much information: Be concise and focus on the most important points. Do not include any irrelevant information or overly personal details.
- Not proofreading: Before sending your cover letter, make sure to proofread it for any typos or errors. This will make sure that your cover letter looks professional and error-free.
- Not including a call to action: End your cover letter by asking the reader to contact you for an interview or set up a time to talk.
Key Takeaways For an Attorney Cover Letter
- Be sure to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you're applying for.
- Focus on the qualifications that make you the best candidate for the position.
- Include details about any relevant experience, skills, and education.
- Explain why you're passionate about the field and the organization you're applying to.
- Highlight relevant accomplishments and awards.
- Emphasize your commitment to professionalism and ethics.
- Keep your letter concise and to the point.
- Avoid errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Cover Letter Advice & Samples
Cover letter advice and samples.
- Draft your cover letter knowing it is your first writing sample.
- Understand that a cover letter should persuade the reader.
- Use the cover letter to “connect the dots” of your experiences.
- Resist the temptation to restate your resume.
- Keep your cover letter to one page.
- Use the font style and point size that match your resume.
- Remember that the reader is busy: less is more.
- Ensure your cover letter is error free.
Cover Letter Construction
Address block and salutation.
- Address the cover letter to an actual person.
- Avoid “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring committee.”
- Research websites or call employer to determine recipient’s name.
- For firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For larger firms, contact information is available at www.nalpdirectory.com in the Basic Information section.
- In the salutation, include the recipient’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Ms. Raintree”) or write the recipient’s entire name (e.g., “Dear Jamie Morales”).
- Tell the employer who you are and what you are seeking.
- Highlight (past, present, and future) geographic connections.
- Indicate if you have talked to students/faculty/friends/alumni who speak highly of the organization.
- Show that you understand the employer’s mission/practice, the work its attorneys do, and the clients it serves.
- Demonstrate your proven interest in and connection to that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Describe skills you will contribute to support that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Provide evidence from your experiences and coursework.
- List the documents included with the letter.
- Tell the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.
- Convey your availability for a conversation, mentioning upcoming trips to the area.
- Thank the employer for considering you.
- Mention availability of Yale summer funding, if applicable.
- Optional: Promise that you will follow up in a few weeks if you think the employer would appreciate the diligence.
Sample Cover Letters (PDF)
First Year Student Examples | Second Year Student Examples | Third Year Student Examples
5 Attorney Cover Letter Samples & Writing Guide in 2023
- Attorney Cover Letter
- Lateral Attorney
- Associate Attorney
- Senior Attorney
- Trademark Attorney
- Writing Your Best Attorney Cover Letter
Your writing skills are second to none, you can solve any host of legal problems, and you know the law inside and out—you’re an exemplary attorney. You know you can win justice for future clients, fight legal battles shrewdly, help folks stay on the right side of the law, and bolster the reputation of any firm, but first, you have to convince them you’re the right choice.
Getting the job starts with a cover letter and resume. It’d be great if all employers cared about was your track record of winning cases, but both your attorney resume and cover letter must present strong evidence of your qualifications and on-the-job skills to create a rock-solid case for the role.
Easier said than done. You already spend your days scouring through research and legalese, and now you have to spend more time writing. It can feel like the odds are stacked against you, but we can help you draft, complete, and polish your cover letter with our five attorney cover letter examples and practical writing guide.
Before you know it, you’ll have a cover letter that gets you noticed and sets the precedent for those to come.
Attorney Cover Letter Example
USE THIS TEMPLATE
Why this cover letter works
- Just as you would for your resume, include metrics in your attorney cover letter. If you drafted a new substantive motion, explain how your efforts created a positive impact for the client or company.
- As much as you can, include experience that matches the attorney job description .
- If you don’t have experience in the chosen field, share your transferable skills and your eagerness to transition to a new practice area.
Lateral Attorney Cover Letter Example
- It’s like riding back in time through your career, starting from your latest, most senior roles and backward to the junior positions. You bet the recruiter will be hooked on an intriguing tale of your progression from rookie phases to the top leagues.
Associate Attorney Cover Letter Example
- Just like Jayden recalls his friend’s legal tussle, all thanks to remarkable representation, a powerful personal narrative instantly captures the attention and sets the right tone for the rest of the masterpiece.
Senior Attorney Cover Letter Example
- In your senior attorney cover letter, follow an outline (like the one we’ll provide in a bit) to ensure you’re including the necessary details.
- Specifically for your body paragraphs, shoot for three objectives: explaining your experience, a specific task or requirement you accomplished, and what resulted from it.
- Derive a theme (or multiple) from the organization’s mission or job description to center your cover letter around; then, include details from your experience that relate to that theme.
Trademark Attorney Cover Letter Example
- It’s okay to get a little personal if you can connect it with the job description. Use your experiences and knowledge of the company to discuss a goal, ideal, or passion you both share.
- Not every past position you’ve held will perfectly fit this new role, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t transferable skills you can include in your trademark attorney cover letter.
- Scour the attorney job ad for general responsibilities instead of strict specifics. Look for keywords like “collaboration,” “develop,” “identify,” and “research;” then incorporate positions where you used those job skills .
Need a Matching Resume for Your Attorney Cover Letter?
You can start editing this template immediately, you can choose a template that matches the first two attorney cover letter samples, or you can choose a completely different resume template . They’re all free, and they’re all there to make your life a little easier as you work on securing your next attorney position.
Need a resume to pair with your attorney cover letter?
or download as PDF
Beat the Competition with Your Best Attorney Cover Letter
As an attorney, you know how you can best help your client, but do you know how to advocate for yourself? Your cover letter must present a favorable argument for your qualifications, exhibit knowledge of the company, and relate your skills to the job description’s requirements—all with a professional yet ardent tone.
It’s a lot, but if anyone can effectively present their accomplishments to a tough crowd, it’s you. Write a hard-hitting attorney cover letter with these simple tips.
Tip 1: Due diligence is a must
There’s no point in submitting a generic cover letter . If your cover letter looks like it’s been submitted to multiple organizations, employers will assume you’re not all that interested in the job.
Moreover, if your cover letter doesn’t speak to their job description, they’ll assume you aren’t a good fit. Instead, hit the books (figuratively) and research the company. Then address their specific needs based on what you find online and in their job description.
If you reveal a strong link between your qualifications and their requirements, employers will be hard-pressed not to consider you.
Tip 2: Detail a couple of major accomplishments
No one likes a broken record, so your attorney cover letter can’t simply repeat your resume. A cover letter’s purpose is to relate your experiences and skills to the company in a way your resume can’t.
A cover letter also gives you the space to examine specific accomplishments in detail. You may argue that you’ve covered everything in your resume, but we know that’s not the case. Go beyond the basics to explore the motivations behind your achievements and how they reveal your value on the job. Are you exceptionally thorough? Find a task that highlights your attention to detail. Are you a whiz at research? Integrate that detail into a metric about your cases.
Here’s one example that gives you a glimpse into the candidate’s methods and motivations.
As a senior associate with Pincus & Associates, PC, I mentored summer and junior associates throughout their onboarding process. After the initial training period, I realized many mentees were struggling with repeat issues, such as voir dire and preparing witnesses. To combat this, I created video lectures and PowerPoint slides to explain procedures and laws surrounding the issues and gave examples, both good and bad. After two months of video training, the new hires completed double the number of tasks, and their client satisfaction scores rose by 18 percent.
These examples show the candidate’s passion for the job and their relevant experience. Moreover, the candidate demonstrates the value they’ll bring to their next role.
Tip 3: Nail down a winning tone & persuasive message
You’ve successfully incorporated your research, accomplishments, and personal style into your cover letter, but a cover letter is more than that. Here comes the tricky part: adjusting your message and tone.
The correct message and tone can mean the difference between getting dismissed or getting noticed. Remember, although we’ve compared a cover letter to a trial, your letter shouldn’t sound like a cross-examination. It also shouldn’t come across as flattering, casual, or confusing.
Think of your cover letter as the pre-interview. It’s a way to get your foot in the door and encourage further communication. Nailing the right message and tone isn’t easy, but there is good news: unlike a trial, you can start over.
Revision plays a huge part in writing cover letters. No one has a perfect first draft, and oftentimes, even the second or third drafts aren’t ideal (ask us how many times we’ve revised our cover letter examples). Luckily, you can keep revising and editing until you have an error-free draft that accurately sums up your experience and fervor for the job.
If you think your judgment isn’t perfectly sound, you can appeal to a coworker and ask them to suggest edits. Their new perspective is more likely to catch content errors and grammatical faux-pas.
Think of your cover letter as the pre-interview. It’s a way to get your foot in the door and encourage further communication.
All that’s left is one last round of revision before you save it and send in your application to the attorney job you’ve been eyeing.
Build Your Attorney Cover Letter with Our Handy Outline
Building arguments are your strong suit, which will help you immensely when writing your cover letter. But even the most experienced of writers can find themselves paralyzed by the blank page. Use our outline to build a case employers can’t refuse.
How to start an attorney cover letter
Your contact info: Don’t leave your future employer wondering how to contact you. Include your email, number, and address (city and state) at the top of your cover letter. Many employers also like to see your LinkedIn profile.
- Formatting: Don’t include your name in the address, whether in a template or block format. In block format, you’ll only need to include your name in the signature. In a template, your name goes on the letterhead, too.
Date: Adding a date to your cover letter is a professional touch, and it can help both you and the employer keep track of your documents. Just change the date to reflect the actual day you submit your application.
- Formatting: Write out the full date, e.g. January 3, 2023.
Inside address: Although a virtual cover letter doesn’t need to be sent by post, you should still include the employer’s address, also known as the inside address. Include the hiring manager’s name, their official title, and the company’s physical location.
Some companies are a bit tricky to track down, especially if they have multiple locations. Scouring Facebook, LinkedIn, and the company’s website usually yields favorable results. Also, check the job description—sometimes they specify where or to whom your documents should be sent. If there are multiple locations, use the address of the location in which you’ll work.
Heather Adams, Firm Administrator Reed McClure 1215 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1700 Seattle, WA 98161
- Formatting : Each part of the address should be on a new line. Double-space between the inside address and greeting.
Greeting: Every word of your cover letter matters, including your greeting (also called the salutation). A poor greeting indicates a lack of etiquette (dangerous in the highly competitive legal field). The good news? A good greeting is pretty easy to get right. Use “dear” and the name of the hiring manager.
Dear Ms. Adams:
- Formatting: Plenty of letters use a comma in the greeting, but colons are more professional, especially for an attorney.
How to write your attorney cover letter
Body: Just as a case has clearly defined sections, a cover letter has a structure.
Opening paragraph: Applying to job after job might get monotonous, but your opener has to sound genuinely excited. Don’t underestimate the power of sincere enthusiasm for the organization and knowledge of its operations. It can also help to include personal details to empathize with the employer. Although, we would urge you not to include intimate details like this:
Your law firm values hard work and dedication, which sums up my career. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a lawyer. I even acted out cases with my stuffed animals! As I grew older, I made sure I received top marks in every class so I could attend Harvard, the law school of my dreams. My commitment was so intense that I never had a relationship that lasted more than 3 months, but it was so worth it.
Although this opener definitely keeps the hiring manager reading, it’s probably because they find your cover letter funny (also known as you don’t stand a chance) instead of compelling. It’s far too personal and has no real relevance to the job. Instead, include details that relate to the company and what you can offer:
The Conservation Law Center’s mission to provide legal assistance to conservation organizations exemplifies my goals as a senior attorney. Throughout my career, I have offered at least 60 hours a year of pro bono work surrounding environmental law. The senior staff attorney position at your law center is a way to combine my passion for conservation, my love of mentorship, and my years of experience to provide assistance where needed most.
Here, Valente explains his background in environmental law and why he wants to work for the company. He leaves no doubt that he wants to work for them specifically, which will make any hiring manager take notice.
Paragraphs 2-3: Each paragraph should substantiate your claims in the opening paragraph. Your space is limited, so focus on the highlights. Ideally, keep each paragraph focused on one accomplishment like this:
Later, as a trademark attorney for Classics United Entertainment, I had the opportunity to work with a cross-functional team of designers, actors, producers, directors, and artists to create trademarks for all six departments within the Spears & Things division. For each trademark, I conducted a rigorous trademark clearance search to ensure trademark law compliance and eligibility. Once completing the trademark clearance process, my team and I successfully gave our efforts to developing clearance search procedures for future legal staff, creating a cohesive system across the three CUE divisions.
Although this paragraph isn’t focused on one task, it is focused on one process, and one aspect of that process in particular. Stella explains the overall trademark clearance process but keeps the focus on teamwork with phrases like “work[ing] with a cross-functional team” and “[giving] our efforts.” She effectively shows her legal abilities and her team-building strategy, both of which bode well for future employers.
Closing paragraph: Good endings are hard to achieve because they have to leave the recruiters both curious yet satisfied. Scale back and reiterate the big-picture view of your values and qualifications and how they align with what the company/organization needs. End with a call to action that encourages the employer to reach out. Just don’t fall into arrogance like this:
This job requires someone who has years of experience and who values justice. In that case, I am your perfect candidate. In my 10 years of work, I have never lost a case, and I love to argue until everyone knows I’m right. I know I can win the most cases for your company; reach out to me if you want to hire a winner.
Not only is this arrogant, but it’s also unprofessional. Instead, write something that humbly indicates your enthusiasm:
My goal has always been to provide clients with trustworthy, honest service that makes clients feel safe and valued. Reed McClure shares my vision of providing litigation services to improve the lives of both clients and the community. At your convenience, I welcome the chance to further demonstrate how our goals are aligned and how I can personally contribute to Seattle’s civil case resolution.
This close reminds the employer of the candidate’s persona, values, and aligned goals. It’s also clear that a follow-up is desired and anticipated.
- Formatting : Single-space your paragraphs, but double-space in between paragraphs.
How to end an attorney cover letter
Signature: Mind your manners and say “thank you” if you haven’t already said it in the closing paragraph. Then, sign off with a professional closer along with your name.
- Formatting : If you’re presenting any hard copies of your attorney cover letter, quadruple space to sign your name in blue/black ink.
Enclosure(s): This is an important piece to include although many cover letters miss it. This section delineates any other documents you’re attaching, which shows employers you’ve done your research regarding their requests and requirements. In addition to your resume, you may need to include documents like your law school transcript, a writing sample, and/or the job application.
Enclosures: Resume J.D. transcript Writing sample USPTO Law School Clinic Certificate
- Formatting : Use the singular or plural form of “enclosure” depending on what you’re enclosing.
Your Dream Attorney Role Awaits…Almost
Your cover letter is finished! Case closed, right? Objection—you still have to perfect your attorney resume . Both resume and cover letter work in tandem to affirm and defend your qualifications, so both must be polished and complete.
But don’t stress—we have you covered. We offer free modern resume templates for you to use, or you can try one of our Word resume templates (there’s one created especially for a lawyer). You can craft a winning resume in no time; in fact, if you like this attorney resume example, you can begin editing it now.
Senior Attorney Resume
Need a resume to pair with your AP English teacher cover letter?
Whether you’re outlining your resume or checking it over a final time, our smart resume tool will help you identify gaps and errors. We’re here for you every step of the way, so you can keep doing what you do best—fighting for justice.
You know the significance of formalities in the legal profession, so optimizing the greeting is an important step. Carefully review the attorney job description to see if a hiring manager or decision-making partner is listed as a contact person. Additionally, check the law firm’s website or LinkedIn profiles to see if you can find the name of a specific person in charge of hiring. If you still can’t find anything, you can simply lead off with “Dear [Name of Law Firm] hiring staff” or a similar greeting.
Legal cover letters should be more formal than other careers. Think about all the formal correspondence you must write up for contracts and legal proceedings. However, you should still review the job description’s tone to determine the level of formality. Some firms do value a more friendly and casual atmosphere, so adjusting your tone in those instances is a good idea.
Consider the stylistic choices you’d make when writing up a case brief for a client. Everything should be concise, well-spaced, in an easy-to-read 11-12 point font, and ideally addressed to a specific person. It helps present a professional feel and allows hiring managers to easily identify your top skills in aspects like settlements and tort laws.
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How to write winning covering letters for law firms
targetjobs editorial team
Last updated: 24 Mar 2023, 17:42
When applying for a training contract or vacation scheme, your covering letter may be the first part of your application a law firm considers.
Your covering letter creates a powerful first impression, so make it easy for the recruiter to see that you have strong potential as a lawyer.
Many law graduate jobs at solicitors’ firms in the UK will ask you to apply for a training contract with a covering letter. Read this advice from recruiters at Slaughter and May, Cleary Gottlieb and Ince & Co, then follow our law cover letter template.
Some recruiters will want you to upload your covering letter as part of an online application form (such as Baker McKenzie and Jones Day), while others – usually smaller, high street law firms – will want you to send the letter alongside a CV (see our law CV example here ).
- Cover letter template: see our annotated law covering letter sample for more tips and format examples .
How to write a law cover letter tip #1: use the letter to explain why you want to be a solicitor at that particular law firm
A covering letter is a golden opportunity to explain your motivations for becoming a lawyer and for applying to that specific firm. ‘My advice is to use the cover letter to introduce yourself and to explain why you are applying to that firm,' says Janine Arnold, trainee recruitment manager at Slaughter and May . ‘Be sure to include any additional information that you feel is relevant to your application.’
If you’re uploading a covering letter as part of a larger application form you should avoid repeating examples you’ve used to answer questions on the form. Give as broad a picture of your skills and experience as possible and only repeat something if you think it is particularly significant to that law firm. Your covering letter is an introduction to get the recruiter’s attention – a sample of your potential, if you like – not your overall application.
‘A well-written, succinct, persuasive covering letter crafted by an aspiring trainee solicitor who has really thought about the firm stands out,’ says Nichola Rowe, director of legal human resources at Cleary Gottlieb . ‘Ask yourself: what sets this firm apart from other law firms and how do my individual skills and experiences marry with that firm?’.
How to write a law cover letter tip #2: how long should it be?
A covering letter should be a maximum of one page, with a font size of 11 or 12. Slaughter and May ’s Janine Arnold agrees: ‘A lengthy covering letter is not necessary; aim for it to be no longer than one side of A4.' Remember that some firms will give a word count for the covering letter they want you to write as part of your application. It's important to stick to that word count. It shows that you can write succinctly and follow instructions.
Get the insights and skills you need to shape your career journey with Pathways. We’ll show you exactly what goes into a convincing cover letter, so you can give yourself the best chance of getting to the next stage of the application process.
How to write a law cover letter tip #3: the format law firms like
The best law cover letter examples have a clear structure, such as:
1. The introduction to your cover letter
Introduce yourself, explain what stage you are at in your degree course (including the university you’re attending), state that you are applying for a training contract and where you read about the law firm. This should only be a sentence or two.
2. A paragraph on why you want to work at that law firm
The second paragraph should cover why you want to be a solicitor and why you want to work for that law firm in particular. Highlight any experiences you’ve had that have convinced you that you want to be a solicitor, such as vacation schemes, open days or insight days. You can even mention mini-pupillages – it will impress graduate recruiters if you’ve put the effort into comparing the two sides of the legal profession, as long as you have good reasons for picking a career as a solicitor (this could come up at interview).
Make it clear why you want to work in the particular area of law that the firm focuses on. For example, if it’s a commercial firm you’ll want to draw on any work experience you’ve had at other commercial firms. Show off your research about the firm by explaining your interest in their main legal practice areas – don’t just say ‘I am interested in shipping law’, for example, but provide evidence of that interest.
You might also want to mention the firm’s training structure. Some firms will have compulsory seats, in which case you’ll need to show an interest in those areas. If you’ve chosen a firm that doesn’t have compulsory seats, or has no seat structure at all (such as Jones Day for example), then you could explain why this appeals to you above a more defined training contract structure.
3. A paragraph highlighting why you're a good fit for the law firm
Next, you need to pitch yourself to the recruiter. Make it clear that you are suited to a career as a solicitor: highlight achievements that show you have the competencies the firm has asked for. If the firm hasn’t specified exactly what it's looking for, see our article here on the skills most legal recruiters want from applicants. Don’t just say ‘I have good communication skills’ – you need to mention an achievement that hinged on your use of those skills.
4. The ending to your law covering letter
Close by referring the recruiter to your CV or application and stating your availability for interview(s) or assessment centre(s).
How to write a law cover letter tip #4: explain any extenuating circumstances
'Covering letters should also explain any mitigating circumstances relating to exam results and to address any questions that you may reasonably expect to arise from your application, such as any gaps in your CV,’ explains Janine.
How to write a law cover letter tip #5: proofread your cover letter before you hit ‘send’
Once you’ve put your covering letter together, don’t be tempted to rush it off. Ask friends, family and your university careers adviser to check it. ‘There is no good excuse for spelling errors, especially when you’re applying for a job that requires scrupulous attention to detail,’ points out a legal recruitment adviser at Ince & Co . ‘The number of applications we receive that contain errors is surprising. Your application is all we’ve got to go on, so you owe it to yourself to ensure it’s not let down by something so easily avoidable.’
Remember that law firms will be judging your ability to communicate professionally with clients on the professionalism of your covering letter – you’re making a pitch, just like you would do as a practising lawyer.
Legal recruiters at major law firms read through hundreds, if not thousands, of applications from aspiring trainee solicitors each year and will only spend a minute or so reading your covering letter. Some recruiters say that they make their decision paragraph by paragraph – if you haven't impressed upon them that you would be a good fit for their firm halfway through the cover letter, they might not even read the rest. Your covering letter creates a powerful first impression, so make it easy for the recruiter to see that you have strong potential as a solicitor by following the tips above.
In other news: Massive changes to the way solicitors qualify are on the horizon. Do you know how they will affect you? Find out here .
targetjobs editorial advice
This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.
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legal careers guide
6. legal cvs and covering letters.
Despite the widespread use of application forms, the CV is still a vital tool in the recruitment process. This Step guides you through the process of constructing a legal CV and writing a successful covering letter.
Updated Resource Book coming soon
Writing Legal CVs and Covering Letters
The curriculum vitae (CV) is the traditional method of application and is widely used throughout the legal profession. You will still need a CV, even if you are applying to organisations that use application forms, for two main reasons.
- The information on your CV forms the basis of many of the answers you will need to give on application forms
- Having an up-to-date law CV is useful when applying for work experience or to give information to a useful contact.
Before you start drafting
Think about the type of organisation or specific organisation you are applying to. What are they likely to be looking for in a candidate? See your work from Step 1 and 4.
Know what skills and experience you have to offer a prospective employer. See your work from Step 2.
Know what you want to use the CV for. Is it to apply for work experience or a speculative application? See your work from Step 2 and 3.
Tips for a good law CV
- Target your legal CV – you need to adapt your CV to each individual recruiter so that they are able to see how you could fit in with their organisation.
- Length – keep it to no more than two sides of A4 paper.
- Make it easy to read – create a clear structure, leave enough white space and make use of formatting like headings.
- Look professional – use plain white paper, a size 11 standard font like Arial or Calibri, and avoid photos and exclamation marks.
- Correct spelling and grammar is essential – don’t rely on spellcheck; proofread several times to make sure your CV is error free.
- Be honest whilst ensuring you are making the most of what you have to offer.
- Focus on your cover letter as much as your CV.
Legal CV structure and layout
There is no single correct way to lay out a law CV and you will have to try different structures to see which one works best for you.
A traditional structure contains the following information:
Include your name and contact details such as address, email address and phone number as a heading. You don’t need to put the words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ on your CV.
Education and training
Arrange your education in reverse chronological order, with your most recent example displayed first. Include the name of the institution, subjects, dates and your grades. Detail any professional legal qualification you have such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) . Don’t forget to mention the areas of law that you studied and state your dissertation title if relevant.
Employment and work experience
Depending on how much experience you have, you might want to separate out and highlight any legal, commercial or voluntary experience. Describe your key tasks and responsibilities, mentioning the positive results of your actions. Apply your law work experience to demonstrate your passion and part-time or voluntary work to show your transferable skills such as teamwork and communication.
A brief mention of other relevant skills you have such as the languages you speak, a proficiency in software packages or technical skills such as programming languages.
Mention things you do outside of work and the classroom such as sports and clubs. Experiences such as membership in the Law Society or starting a new club at the University will help you stand out.
Stating ‘references available on request’ will usually suffice.
Legal Covering letter tips
- Aim for a professional and personable tone
- Fonts and formatting – maximum of one side of white A4 paper, with the same font as your legal CV. Proofread carefully to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Find out who you are addressing – find out the name of the recipient if possible and sign off ‘Yours sincerely’. Try to avoid using Dear Sir or Madam, but if you do remember to use ‘Yours faithfully’ instead.
- Signing off – be polite, say thank you and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Legal Covering letter structure and layout
The purpose of your application.
Talk about the opportunity you are applying for and where you saw it.
Why are you applying to them?
Explain why you are interested in their organisation.
Why should they pick you?
Explain what you have to offer that is relevant to them and the opportunity. This could be your performance on your degree, recent work experience with a similar organisation or experience in their area of practice.
Activity – CV Makeover
In this activity, you can practise applying your knowledge of CV writing as you try to improve the legal CV of a fictitious student named Georgina Berry.
Download CV Makeover Activity ➔
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m making speculative applications. who do i address the covering letter to.
Call the firm you’re targeting, explain that you’d like to send your CV in as a speculative application and ask who to best address the letter to.
If you’re unable to get a specific name, use “Dear Sir/Madam” and you’ll need to sign off as “Yours faithfully”.
I spoke to someone at a law fair recently. Should I mention this in my cover letter?
Definitely mention that you spoke to a representative from the organisation, and give the name of the event. This is evidence to back up your interest in the organisation and shows that you have done your research.
It is a useful tip to write down the name of whoever you speak to as soon as possible. Usually exhibitors wear name badges but if not, politely ask if you can take their name at the end of your discussion.
I have a substantial previous career. Is it important to fit it all on 2 sides of A4?
It is important to keep to the two page limit, so you will need to work out a way of cutting down the content without losing your key selling points.
If you’ve accepted your place or are currently studying with us, seek advice from our careers advisers.
Next step: 7
Go to step 7 in the Student Employability Programme.
Find out how to make the best start to your career through our Employability and Careers Service.