To enter the legal profession you need a tenacious attitude and superb understanding of the law. These are things you can prove in an interview. To get to that point, you’ll need a great resume and cover letter. If you’ve got the skills you need, check out our professional resume templates.
Now, let’s focus on your cover letter! Keep reading for some actionable tips and a great legal cover letter sample.
Know The Goals of a Successful Legal Cover Letter
As you write your cover letter, keep the following questions in mind. If the answers aren’t in your cover letter, it’s time to make some changes:
- Does it tell the employer who you are, and why you are contacting them?
- Have you shown that you have great writing skills?
- Do you prove that you are a good match for the company or legal office?
- Have you demonstrated that you understand what the company does, including its overall mission?
- Did you showcase skills and experience that are most relevant to the position?
- Finally, have you provided contact information, and indicated your availability?
Treat the above as a bit of a checklist.
You Should Definitely Drop a Name or Two
In some fields, name-dropping can be a bit gauche. In the law field, that isn’t true. As long as you have a legitimate connection to someone of influence, feel free to use their name in your cover letter.
What’s a legitimate connection? Clerking under a notable judge, or interning with a prominent lawyer are examples of this. Having a LinkedIn-only connection with someone is not. If the person you mention would recognize your name or face immediately, it’s okay to reference them in your letter.
Guide The Reader to Your Resume
Include a line or two in your cover letter to encourage the hiring manager to open and read your resume. After all, that’s where the real sauce is.
For example, if you discuss some important qualifications, mention that there’s more detail to be found in your resume. Of course, you should also close your cover letter by stating that your resume is attached for review.
Treat No Errors as Minor
In the legal field, a small mistake or omission can lead to a denied motion, even a case being thrown out of court. These things aren’t taken lightly. So be sure to allocate enough time to edit and polish your cover letter. You must be certain that yours doesn’t contain misspellings or other mistakes. Otherwise, it will appear as if you don’t pay enough attention to detail. Review your cover letter by hand, use a grammar checking tool, and have a friend look it over as well.
Think of your cover letter as a presentation of evidence that you are offering to a legal professional. Anything you state as fact should be backed by evidence or corroboration. Use specifics to communicate what you want clearly.
For example, rather than stating that you are an ‘experienced legal professional’, try this instead.
‘I am a paralegal with four years of experience conducting legal research, writing briefs, and assessing client need in the areas of intellectual property law and corporate litigation.’
This quantifies exactly what you mean when you say experienced, and it details your areas of expertise.
Legal Cover Letter Sample (Word version)
Legal Cover Letter Example (text version)
My name is Kelly Begley. I am writing this letter to express my interest in working as a paralegal in your office. I learned of this opening through a mutual associate of ours, Hon. William James. He suggested I submit my resume and has kindly written a letter of recommendation for me. That is attached. I believe my experience and dedication to assuring the just application of law aligns perfectly with the objectives of the Branch Law Offices.
I have worked as a paralegal for more than ten years. My areas of focus have been criminal defense, civil rights litigation, and family law. My experience includes taking depositions, conducting case research, composing briefings and letters, and writing correspondence on behalf of attorneys. I am proud to say that I do have trial experience, something that is increasingly rare among professionals in my field. Please refer to my resume for further examples of my experience.
Before composing this letter, I spent a significant amount of time researching Branch Law Offices. I was particularly moved by the work your firm does in the immigrant communities in Baltimore and the surrounding cities. I’d love to join your team, and use my expertise to make positive changes as well.
I’d love to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss working for your firm. Please be on the lookout for a follow-up email or text so that we can get together.
Final Tip: Respect The Employer’s Time
Don’t leave the ball in their court. Be proactive and show that you understand they are likely busy. Offer to follow up yourself, then give a clear timeline for doing so. Doing so can win you some points with a prospective employer!