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Cover Letter Advice & Samples

Cover letter advice and samples.

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  • 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.

Sample cover letter address block and salutation

  • Address the cover letter to an actual person.
  • Research websites or call employer to determine recipient’s name.
  • If you cannot find the name of a hiring contact, address your letter to the head of the unit, department, or office.
  • While this is the least-preferred option, you may address your letter to “Dear Hiring Committee” if you cannot locate the name of an actual person.
  • For firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For larger firms, contact information for recruiting directors 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”).

Paragraph One

Sample cover letter paragraph one

  • 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.

Paragraph Two

Sample cover letter paragraph two

  • 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.

Paragraph Three

Sample cover letter paragraph three

  • Describe skills you will contribute to support that mission/practice, work, and clients.
  • Provide evidence from your experiences and coursework.

Paragraph Four

Sample cover letter paragraph four

  • 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

Lawyer Cover Letter Example (w/ Templates & Tips for 2024)

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You've come a long way to reach your legal goals.

From your early dreams to helping justice thrive to making a career in the world of law, your journey has been amazing. 

But as you’re preparing for your next big professional step, there's a challenge: writing a great lawyer cover letter.

We don’t blame you; showing off your legal skills can be tough. 

That’s why, in this article, we'll help you create a cover letter that highlights your skills and gets you closer to your dream legal job.

Here’s what’ll cover: 

  • An Outstanding Lawyer Cover Letter Example
  • 5 Essential Steps to Crafting a Top-tier Legal Cover Letter
  • 3 Lawyer Cover Letter Tips

...and much more!

Lawyer Cover Letter Example

Lawyer Cover Letter Example

5 Steps for the Perfect Law Cover Letter

You've just had a glimpse of what a stellar cover letter looks like, and now you're well-equipped to craft your own . 

It's as simple as following a few straightforward steps to make it shine, starting with:

#1. Put Contact Information in the Header

Your cover letter should start with your contact information neatly placed in the header, just like on your resume. 

Here's what you should include:

  • Full Name: Your complete name should be at the top of the page.
  • Professional Title: Tailor your professional title to match the precise job you're seeking. Hiring managers juggle applications for several roles at the same time, so making the position you’re interested in clear can help make their lives easier.
  • Email Address: Opt for a professional and straightforward email address, like a combination of your first and last name. Those quirky high school email addresses won't cut it. (e.g., [email protected] is good, but [email protected] isn't)
  • Phone Number: Ensure the number you provide is accurate for easy contact. If you're applying for an international position, include the appropriate dial code.
  • Location: Typically, your city and state or country suffice. However, if you're pursuing a remote position or considering relocation, make that clear in your lawyer cover letter.
  • Relevant Links (Optional): You can include links to pertinent websites or social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn.

Next, it's time to include the hiring manager's details:

  • Company Name: Specify the name of the company you're applying to.
  • Hiring Manager's Name: If possible, identify the hiring manager for the department you're interested in. You can check the job listing, the company's website, or their LinkedIn page to find this information.
  • Hiring Manager's Title: If you discover the name of the hiring manager for the specific job listing and realize they're the head of the department, use that instead of "Hiring Manager."
  • Location: Mention the city, state, or country, particularly for globally operating companies. If you want to be more specific, you can add the company's exact street address.
  • Email Address (Optional): If available, include the hiring manager's email address.
  • Date of Writing (Optional): Consider adding the precise date when you composed your cover letter for a professional touch.

#2. Address the Hiring Manager

After jotting down all the necessary contact details, ensure you address your cover letter to its intended audience.

And, skip the old-fashioned "To Whom It May Concern" while you’re at it.

The way you address your cover letter can set a positive tone with the recruiter, especially if you give it some thought.

Start with a bit of digging around. Scour the job advertisement, law firm's website, or LinkedIn profile to pinpoint the person in charge of hiring for the position you're eyeing. A bit of effort can help you discover their name and email contact.

Next, greet them respectfully. Opt for Ms. or Mr., followed by their surname. If you're uncertain about their gender or marital status, simply use their complete name. For instance:

  • Dear Mr. Thompson,
  • Dear Jordan Thompson,

If you can’t find out their details, though, no worries! You can address your letter to the specific department or the law firm more broadly:

  • Dear Legal Department,
  • Dear Legal Hiring Committee,
  • Dear HR Selection Team,
  • Dear Lead Attorney,

#3. Write an Eye-Catching Opening Statement

Hiring managers often spend just seven seconds scanning an application to decide whether it’s worth their time and attention.

So, it's crucial to grab their attention fast with your lawyer cover letter.

Start your cover letter with your name and why you're interested in the legal job. Show your passion for law to make them want to know more about you.

Researching the law firm also helps. Knowing about their work and values lets you show what a great fit you’d be for the job. Not to mention, it proves you're really interested in this specific role, not just any role out there.

If you've got lots of legal experience, mention an important achievement , like a big case you've won, or special skills you have that are relevant to the position. But remember to keep your introduction short. Your aim is to get the hiring manager to read the rest of your cover letter.

Check out our other cover letter examples to write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph. 

#4. Use the Cover Letter Body for the Details

The main part of your legal cover letter lets you explain why you're the right fit for the job in more detail.

The trick here is to not merely repeat your lawyer resume. This is where you get to put your top legal skills and experiences into the spotlight. Your goal? To show the hiring manager you're the best choice among all the candidates. 

For starters, mention any big achievements in law and explain how you accomplished them or what skills it took you. Let the job ad guide you through for the best possible outcome. For example, if the role you’re gunning for is related to intellectual property law, focus on your knowledge of that instead of other law areas.

Additionally, show that you know about the firm's big cases or how they work. This proves you're really interested in working with them and that you fit their culture.

End by showing how passionate you are about the role. Say how you believe you can add value to their team with your legal skills and experience.

Also, make sure to avoid making any of these common cover letter mistakes to make sure your application is spotless. 

#5. Wrap It Up and Sign It

Ending your cover letter is like giving a strong closing in court.

Make sure your ending leaves the hiring manager convinced about your abilities and interested in calling you in for an interview. It should build trust in what you offer and remove any doubts that you may not be the right fit for the role.

Your cover letter’s ending is your time to summarize your top legal skills and why you're a great fit for their team. Alternatively, talk about your biggest achievements or the unique things you can bring to the table. 

After that, urge the hiring manager to take the next step by including a call to action. That could be a chat or an in-person meeting. This shows you're invested in the position and could help you get an interview.

Finally, when you sign off, stay professional. End with a simple sign-off and your full name. For example:

Should you wish for further clarification or insights regarding my legal qualifications, please reach out via the provided email or contact number. I eagerly anticipate the prospect of delving deeper into how I can contribute to your esteemed legal firm.

Yours sincerely,

If you feel "Yours sincerely" is rather commonplace, here are some alternative sign-offs tailored for the legal profession:

  • In utmost respect,
  • With appreciation,
  • Thank you for your due consideration,

lawyer cover letter structure

3 Essential Law Cover Letter Tips

You've mastered the cover letter fundamentals! Let's step it up and delve into some key cover letter tips specifically designed for lawyers to make your letter truly stand out:

#1. Match Your Resume

When applying for a legal position, consistency is your best friend.

Make sure your cover letter matches your resume visually as much as it matches it in content quality. This will help you come across as attentive to detail and well-organized.

Your name and contact details should sit tidily on the page. Also, keep your fonts and their sizes uniform throughout both documents. Remember to also adjust the margins and space between lines to keep your cover letter to a single page . 

Ready to make a great impression?

Or Use A Cover Letter Template Instead

Starting from scratch can be a drag. 

Take advantage of our cover letter templates for a swift fix. Together with our free resume templates , they can be the solution you’ve been looking for. 

Made hand-in-hand with global hiring pros, they hit all industry marks and just pop. Go on, match that resume with style!

lawyer cover letter examples

#2. Emphasize Your Achievements

Highlighting your achievements isn't just about a humble brag; it's about showcasing the tangible results of your dedication and expertise. 

When hiring managers sift through stacks of cover letters, they're not just looking for claims. They want evidence. They want to see that spark of exceptional talent and commitment. Achievements offer a snapshot of what you've accomplished and hint at what you're capable of achieving in the future.

Now, here's the tricky part. While your resume might list your achievements in bullet points, your cover letter should weave them into a compelling narrative. Think of it as telling a story, where your achievements serve as key plot points and demonstrate your ability to handle challenges and achieve results.

For instance, instead of just stating you led a high-profile case, delve a bit into the complexities of the case and how your innovative approach made a difference. Link these accomplishments directly to the requirements of the job you're applying for. This not only reinforces your capabilities but also illustrates your deep understanding of the role.

#3. Add Any Relevant Links

Including relevant links in your cover letter is like opening a door for hiring managers to step right into your professional world. While your resume provides a structured outline of your career journey, links offer a more dynamic glimpse into your accomplishments, be it published articles, notable cases, or a well-curated LinkedIn profile.

Imagine the hiring manager's perspective. They’re intrigued by your cover letter and think you might be a good fit. Now, instead of Googling you or hunting down that specific case you mentioned, they have instant access via a link you provided. It's immediate, efficient, and showcases your proactive nature.

Links also offer a chance for you to steer the narrative. By guiding hiring managers to specific pages or platforms, you're highlighting the parts of your career you're most proud of. It might be a detailed portfolio, showcasing your prowess in legal briefs, or perhaps glowing recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.

Key Takeaways

And that’s all there is to crafting a stellar lawyer cover letter! Hopefully, you’re on track to secure that ideal legal position in no time.

But before you send off your cover letter, here are some main points from our article:

  • Start your lawyer cover letter by detailing both your contact information and that of the hiring attorney or law firm's HR representative. Ensure your details are accurate so that they can reach out to you for a potential interview.
  • The opening paragraph of your lawyer's cover letter should capture the interest of the hiring party, compelling them to continue reading.
  • In the main section of your cover letter, emphasize your most notable achievements and skills that align with the legal role you're pursuing.
  • It's effective to include a persuasive call to action towards the conclusion of your law firm cover letter, prompting the hiring party to consider calling you or arranging an interview.
  • Maintain a consistent design between your cover letter and resume. If you're short on time, think about using one of our resume and cover letter templates for a cohesive appearance.

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Resume Worded   |  Career Strategy

14 entry-level attorney cover letters.

Approved by real hiring managers, these Entry-Level Attorney cover letters have been proven to get people hired in 2024. A hiring manager explains why.

Hiring Manager for Entry-Level Attorney Roles

Table of contents

  • Entry-Level Attorney
  • Corporate Attorney
  • Legal Research Assistant
  • Junior Associate Attorney
  • Corporate Associate Attorney
  • Corporate Associate
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Attorney
  • Junior Attorney
  • Alternative introductions for your cover letter
  • Entry-Level Attorney resume examples

Entry-Level Attorney Cover Letter Example

Why this cover letter works in 2024, highlighting relevant skills.

In this cover letter, the candidate showcases their legal research and writing skills, which are crucial for an Entry-Level Attorney. By mentioning a specific role where they developed these skills, the candidate demonstrates their experience and suitability for the position.

Showing Results and Impact

The candidate quantifies their success, specifying that their work led to the dismissal of charges in three cases. This not only highlights their achievements but also shows their potential impact at Smith & Jones.

Aligning Values with the Company

By mentioning their volunteer work, the candidate demonstrates a shared commitment to pro bono efforts, which is important to Smith & Jones. This alignment of values helps to create a strong connection between the candidate and the company.

Expressing Gratitude and Eagerness

Thanking the reader for considering their application and expressing eagerness to contribute to the company shows the candidate's enthusiasm for the role, making them more memorable and likable.

Showcasing Specific Skills and Experiences

It's one thing to say you've got skills, but detailing exactly how you applied them in real-life situations? That's a winner. You're not just telling me you can handle legal research or draft briefs, you're showing me where and how you've done it. And the fact you've managed that under pressure? That's exactly the kind of resilience I want on my team.

Connecting Personal Values to the Company's Culture

When you connect your personal values to the company's culture, you're not just saying you want the job, it feels like you really want to be part of us. It shows you understand what we stand for and you're ready to contribute to our mission. This isn't just about your career, it's personal to you, and that's exactly the kind of commitment I'm looking for.

Aligning Personal and Professional Ideals

What stands out here is the alignment of your professional goals with the firm's mission. You're not just saying, "I want to work for you," but rather, "I believe in what you represent, and I want to be a part of it." It shows you've done your homework, and it gives the impression you're already a part of the team.

Demonstrating Initiative and Community Impact

Here, you're showcasing your proactive nature and your dedication to using your legal skills for the betterment of the community. It's not all about what you've done, but how you've made a difference. This helps paint a complete picture of you as not just a skilled professional, but as someone deeply committed to social impact.

Expressing Genuine Enthusiasm

By expressing your excitement about specific firm projects, you're showing a deep understanding of the firm's work and a genuine enthusiasm for it. It's an effective way to demonstrate both your knowledge of the firm and your eagerness to contribute.

Appreciation and Forward-looking

Thanking the hiring team for considering your application is a nice touch. Also, you skillfully keep the door open for future discussions. This shows your appreciation for their time and your desire to continue the conversation.

Show enthusiasm for the firm's work in your attorney cover letter

Expressing excitement about the firm and its work shows you are not just looking for any job but are interested in what they specifically do. This helps make your application more personal.

Highlight your legal passion and background

Discussing your passion for specific legal areas along with your educational background demonstrates your readiness and interest in contributing to the firm's success.

Detail your practical legal experience

By mentioning your hands-on experience in previous internships, you provide evidence of your ability to apply what you've learned in real-world scenarios, which is valuable to hiring managers.

Value alignment with the firm's culture

Showcasing your appreciation for the firm’s culture and your desire to be part of a collaborative team can indicate that you will fit well within their work environment.

Connect your values with the firm

When you highlight how your personal values align with the firm's commitment to community and pro bono work, it suggests you are not just a good professional fit but also a good cultural match.

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Connect your passion to the entry-level attorney role

Linking your interest in law and business to the firm's expertise demonstrates a deep understanding of what the role entails and shows you're a good match.

Share your legal education experience

Describing your involvement in law school activities like journal editing and internships highlights your commitment to developing your legal skills and your potential to contribute from day one.

Showcase your advocacy skills

Mentioning your successful oral argument in court illustrates your ability to handle pressure and complex legal tasks, key qualities for a new attorney.

Emphasize your commitment to community service

Sharing your passion for pro bono work aligns with the firm's values and shows you're not just about business but also about making a positive impact.

Conclude with gratitude and openness

Ending your cover letter by thanking the hiring manager and expressing eagerness to discuss your application further shows professionalism and politeness, leaving a positive impression.

Show your passion for the legal profession

Expressing your excitement for the role and the firm's impact on society helps connect your personal values with the firm's mission, making your application more memorable.

Highlight academic achievements

Mentioning your top grades in relevant courses like Legal Research and Writing showcases your strong foundation in essential skills for an entry-level attorney.

Demonstrate practical experience

Discussing your participation in a Moot Court competition and advancing to the semi-finals proves your ability to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, a key trait for a successful attorney.

Connect personal values with firm values

Sharing your commitment to pro bono work and community service aligns your personal values with the firm’s ethos, indicating a good cultural fit.

End with a call to action

Politely inviting a discussion about your application shows initiative and eagerness to contribute to the firm's success.

Corporate Attorney Cover Letter Example

Highlighting your major contributions.

When you name drop a key project you've worked on and the impact you've had, it paints a picture of exactly what you're capable of. It's not just about having experience, it's about making a difference that counts. You're showing me that you're not just going to be a cog in the machine, but an active player who's ready to get stuck in and make things happen.

Understanding the Company’s Scope of Work

By showing that you understand the global scope of our work and are eager to be part of it, I can see that you're prepared for the complexities and challenges that come with the role. You're not just looking for any corporate law job, you're specifically interested in what we do here at Jones Day, and that definitely piques my interest in you.

Show your legal expertise right away

Start your cover letter by clearly stating your interest and your background in complex corporate law. This gives me a snapshot of your capabilities and interests, making it easier to see if you’re a good fit for our team.

Highlight your achievements in law

Mention a major achievement early on. For a corporate attorney, leading a significant due diligence process demonstrates your ability to manage big projects and work with teams. It’s proof of your practical skills in action.

Express enthusiasm for the firm’s work

Showing that you know and admire the firm’s work can make your application more personal. It tells us you’re not just looking for any job, but you’re interested in what we specifically do.

Include pro bono work to show character

Talking about your commitment to pro bono work reveals more about you than just your legal skills. It shows that you value giving back to the community, a trait that is highly respected in the legal industry.

End with a strong call to action

Closing your cover letter by inviting further discussion demonstrates confidence in your qualifications. It’s a polite way to say you’re eager for the next step in the hiring process.

Legal Research Assistant Cover Letter Example

Impressed by advanced research methodologies.

Your recognition of the firm's innovative approach to legal research shows that you value the same methodologies. It's a great way to tell the firm, "I see you, I value what you're doing, and I want to be a part of it."

Proving your Worth with Accomplishments

By mentioning a specific achievement and its positive impact, you're backing up your claims with solid evidence. This kind of detail gives the hiring team a clear understanding of what you're capable of, and it shows you're not afraid to innovate.

Showing Enthusiasm for a Specific Role

Your excitement about the prospect of bringing your innovative approach to the firm is palpable here. You're clearly enthusiastic about the role and the unique contributions you can make. This is another way to show the hiring team that you're not just looking for any job – you want this job.

Commitment to Contribute

By stating your eagerness to contribute to the firm's pioneering work, you're again aligning yourself with their mission and showing your excitement to be a part of their team. It's a powerful way to demonstrate your commitment and desire to make a positive impact.

Appreciation and Aspiration

Expressing gratitude for the hiring team's consideration is polite and professional. By looking forward to potentially contributing to the firm, you're also subtly reminding them of your value and your eagerness to engage in their work. It's a gracious way to end, leaving a positive lasting impression.

Junior Associate Attorney Cover Letter Example

Share your interest in technology law.

Mentioning your enthusiasm for technology and innovation directly connects your personal interests with the firm's focus, making your application more compelling.

Emphasize specialized legal education

Pointing out your focused studies in intellectual property and technology law demonstrates your expert knowledge in areas critical to the firm, highlighting your suitability for the role.

Showcase experience with innovative companies

Detailing your work with startups and innovative companies proves your ability to handle the unique challenges they face, aligning with the firm's client base.

Highlight communication skills in law

Stressing your capability to simplify complex legal concepts for clients indicates you possess essential skills that can enhance client satisfaction and trust.

Demonstrate eagerness to contribute

Expressing your excitement to bring your skills to the firm and support its mission shows you're proactive and genuinely interested in contributing to their goals.

Corporate Associate Attorney Cover Letter Example

Show your enthusiasm for the corporate associate attorney role.

Telling the hiring manager about your admiration for their firm and the desire to join them shows you're genuinely interested in the position and not just looking for any job.

Highlight your achievements in corporate law

Detailing a significant accomplishment, like closing a large financing round, proves you have the skills and experience necessary for the role. It's essential to show, not just tell, your potential value to the team.

Relate to the firm's focus areas

Expressing your alignment with the firm's special interests, like emerging companies, highlights your understanding of their work and how you can contribute to these specific areas.

Demonstrate your relevant skills for legal clients

Discussing your ability to offer practical advice and solve problems shows you're not just knowledgeable in law but also in applying it in ways that benefit clients directly.

Express your fit with the firm's culture

Conveying your excitement about joining their culture emphasizes the importance of not just the work you'll do but also the environment you'll do it in, showing you're a well-rounded candidate.

Corporate Associate Cover Letter Example

Show your passion for corporate law.

Sharing your enthusiasm for challenging legal issues shows you're not just looking for any job, but a place where you can thrive and contribute significantly.

Highlight practical law experience

Telling about your hands-on experience in corporate law, especially at a prestigious institution, demonstrates you're already familiar with the field, which is a huge plus.

Connect past experience to law skills

When you talk about your background in business before law school, it tells us you have a broader understanding of the industry, making you a more versatile candidate.

Express admiration for the firm's work

Your interest in the firm’s high-profile transactions shows you are eager to be part of impactful work and learn from the best.

Be eager to discuss your fit

An invitation to further discuss how you can contribute shows confidence in your ability to add value to the firm and eagerness for a personal connection.

Mergers and Acquisitions Attorney Cover Letter Example

Demonstrate your m&a enthusiasm.

A statement of confidence in your fit for the role, based on your experience and passion for M&A, makes a strong opening that captures attention.

Detail your leadership in important deals

Leading due diligence for a significant acquisition not only showcases your expertise but also your ability to manage complex, team-oriented tasks efficiently.

Showcase strategic advisory skills

Mentioning your advisory work in corporate governance highlights your strategic thinking and ability to offer practical, business-aligned advice, making you stand out as a well-rounded candidate.

Express excitement for the firm's reputation

Your eagerness to join because of the firm’s standing in the M&A sector shows you're motivated by the chance to work on meaningful, challenging projects.

Invite further discussion on your contribution

Requesting an opportunity to discuss how you can help the firm succeed demonstrates your proactive approach and readiness to make an immediate impact.

Junior Attorney Cover Letter Example

Link your passion to the firm's reputation.

Showing your interest in corporate law and admiration for the firm’s leadership in the field immediately establishes a connection between your career goals and the firm's expertise.

Emphasize specialized knowledge

Discussing your role as a research assistant and co-authoring a published paper highlights your deep understanding of corporate law, making you a valuable asset to the team.

Showcase hands-on experience

Detailing your experience in drafting merger agreements and conducting due diligence reveals your practical skills and readiness to handle complex transactions.

Reflect on firm culture

Commending the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion demonstrates your appreciation for a diverse workplace, suggesting you will thrive in and contribute positively to the firm’s environment.

Express eagerness to contribute

Ending your letter by thanking the recipient for their consideration and expressing your desire to discuss your potential contributions further shows professionalism and genuine interest in joining their team.

Alternative Introductions

If you're struggling to start your cover letter, here are 6 different variations that have worked for others, along with why they worked. Use them as inspiration for your introductory paragraph.

Cover Letters For Jobs Similar To Entry-Level Attorney Roles

  • Associate Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Compliance Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Contract Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Corporate Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Entry-Level Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Experienced Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Family Law Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Immigration Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Patent Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Real Estate Attorney Cover Letter Guide
  • Transactional Attorney Cover Letter Guide

Other Legal Cover Letters

  • Contract Specialist Cover Letter Guide
  • Lawyer Cover Letter Guide
  • Underwriter Cover Letter Guide

cover letter for law graduate

Thank you for the checklist! I realized I was making so many mistakes on my resume that I've now fixed. I'm much more confident in my resume now.

cover letter for law graduate


How to Write a Legal Cover Letter for Lawyers That Stands Out

The legal industry is competitive, making it crucial for lawyers to have a cover letter that makes them stand out. A cover letter is important to get right for job seekers. It’s an introduction to your prospective employers and your opportunity to make a great first impression. 

Here are our tips for writing a cover letter that will get your resume read and prompt the call for the interview.

Why a Strong Cover Letter for a Lawyer Matters

When employers have a mountain of applications to narrow, a cover letter could mean the difference between being in the “interview” pile or getting an automated rejection response — or no response at all.

Additionally, you’ll need to tailor your cover letter to each job description for automated screening software , which scans for specific keywords and phrases before a human even sees your application package. Understanding and leveraging these technologies can prevent your application from being filtered out before a hiring manager even has a chance to glance at your qualifications.

After you pass the automated screening, the hiring manager will usually read your cover letter before they look at anything else.

People in an interview

What Is a Good Cover Letter for a Law Firm?

No matter the industry, cover letters should always be tailored to the prospective employer. In this case, the cover letter is an opportunity to match your skills, connections, and passion to the law firm’s needs.

Your cover letter should be:

  • Personalized: Customize your cover letter to the tone of the firm and the skills you have that are listed in the job description.
  • Brief: Keep it short and simple. Your cover letter should only be one page, if not less, and hit on all the points that make you an attractive candidate. Avoid the urge to just summarize your resume and overwhelm the reader.
  • Positive: This is an opportunity to highlight how your past educational and professional experiences give you a unique edge over the other candidates, and why you’re the best fit for the position.
  • Professional: Writing professionally is essential for lawyers. Keep your cover letter professional to showcase that you have this necessary skill set.

How to Address a Cover Letter to a Law Firm

Addressing the cover letter correctly is a must to set the right tone for the reader. It doesn’t say much for your attention to detail if you don’t get the basics right.

Do your research and address the cover letter to the specific person in charge of hiring, such as the hiring manager or partner. If you’re not sure, look on the firm’s website, check LinkedIn, or contact human resources to find out. This will make a much better impression than “to whom this may concern.”

For the salutation, make sure to show respect for the reader to reinforce your attention to detail. For example, if you know the preferred gender prefix for the recipient, you may use “Ms.” or “Mr.” or “Mx.” If you’re not sure, don’t assume! Just write the person’s full first and last name, being careful of correct spelling.

Cover Letter Introduction

The cover letter’s opening paragraph must capture the attention of the reader. Introduce who you are and why you’re a good fit for the firm. Mention your current position, such as a new law school graduate or an associate at a firm.

If you have mutual acquaintances or referrals, mention them right away. Then, discuss the specific reasons you’re a good fit for the firm.

Cover Letter Body

The body of the cover letter is where the bulk of your summary will go. In just a paragraph or two, give an overview of your education and experience to show why you want to work for the firm and why you’re an ideal fit.

For example, discuss the reasons you want to work for this firm specifically. Maybe it has a great reputation or you admire a lawyer who works there. Maybe the practice areas align with your desired career path.

When you’re connecting yourself to the role, use some key attributes that the firm is looking for that you possess. These may include academic or research specializations, community service history, past legal positions, publications, or awards. 

This is also a great place to speak about your familiarity with legal technology. With more than 65% of law firms citing they use law practice management software , it’s worth highlighting your experience in the cover letter. 

Pro Tip : Set yourself apart by getting a certification in law practice management software. PracticePanther is trusted by tens of thousands of lawyers and offers a comprehensive certification program . The program is free and you can work at your pace.

Again, don’t just summarize your resume. The hiring team can look at your resume independently. This is your opportunity to capture attention by putting your resume and experience into context and connecting it to the specific position.

Cover Letter Conclusion

The concluding paragraph is where you wrap everything up and make a positive impression. Make sure to say thank you for their consideration and outline your next steps. You don’t have to wait endlessly for an answer to your application — be clear about how and when you intend to follow up. Make sure you keep your word!

Finally, make sure your cover letter has relevant contact details, including your phone number, email, and address. These may be included in the header in a conventional letter format, but if not, put them at the bottom of the letter where they’re readily available for the hiring manager.

Person typing on keyboard

Tips for Lawyers to Make a Cover Letter Stand Out

The legal industry keeps evolving. Candidates need to set themselves apart to get hired, no matter the circumstances. Here are some tips:

1. Keep it human: Many of the candidates you’ll be up against have similar education and experience, so simply highlighting these aspects won’t help you stand out. The cover letter is where you can showcase how you are different and what you have to offer that other candidates may not.

2. Stay succinct: You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with a long and drawn-out cover letter. Keep it short and to the point — you want to be memorable. Challenge yourself to stay under a page to see how well you can summarize your unique value.

3. Set the tone: It’s vital that you are professional in your cover letter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean formal. If the firm you’re applying to takes a more casual or personable tone, it’s best to mimic that in your cover letter. If the firm is large and prestigious, it may be best to speak formally. The firm websites should give you some insight.

4. Always proofread: The worst thing you could do in your cover letter is have typos and grammatical errors. There’s a lot of competition, not to mention that lawyers and legal professionals need to have command of the English language for their job responsibilities. Proofread, and if possible, enlist someone’s help to catch any errors, awkward phrasing, or ambiguities. You can also use grammar review websites, like Grammarly, to catch any additional errors.

Legal Cover Letter Samples

Drawing a blank on what to say? Here’s some inspiration from sample cover letters for lawyers with different educational backgrounds and experiences.

  • Law student cover letter
  • Graduate with previous experience cover letter
  • Experienced IP attorney cover letter

Let these samples inspire you to construct a compelling cover letter that gets you into the “interview” pile.

Final Thoughts

Being a job seeker in a competitive market is challenging, but taking the time and care to draft a well-written and personalized cover letter is the best way to get yourself noticed and get the interview. 

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Taylor Dahlem

Taylor Dahlem is the Senior Product Marketing Specialist at PracticePanther, the all-in-one law practice management software company. He is on a mission to deliver technology solutions that provide the most value to legal professionals daily through exciting and impactful go-to-market campaigns.

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Legal Cover Letter Samples & Examples That Worked in 2024

Julia Gergelova — Resume Writer

Writing a compelling legal cover letter is your ticket to landing an interview in the legal field. Whether you're an experienced attorney or an aspiring paralegal, understanding how to build an attention-grabbing cover letter is just as important as your resume . 

Judge Cover Letter Sample

In this guide, we'll deep-dive into practical tips, share some compelling examples, and teach you the art of creating a standout legal cover letter!

Keep reading and find out more about:

  • Formatting your cover letter
  • Building an effective legal cover letter header
  • Crafting an eye-catching cover letter headline
  • Writing a strong legal cover letter introduction
  • Highlighting your skills and accomplishments
  • Writing a compelling conclusion
  • Avoiding common mistakes in a legal cover letter
  • Average salary and job outlook for legal professionals
  • Job seeking resources for legal professionals

1. How to properly format your legal cover letter

Correct formatting is vital when it comes to leaving a strong first impression. Here's how you can refine your legal cover letter, ensuring it's smooth to read and easy to navigate:

  • Choose a clear layout: Stick to traditional cover letter format. Start with your contact information, the date, the employer's contact details, a formal greeting, the body of the letter, closing, and your signature.
  • Use professional font: Use simple, professional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should ideally be 11 or 12 points.
  • Margins and spacing matter: Aim for 1" margin on all sides of your document. Single or 1.15 spacing between lines ensures readability.
  • Get straight to the point: Legal professionals appreciate conciseness. Immediately introduce the purpose of writing the letter in the first paragraph. 
  • Organize your content: Use bullet points or short paragraphs to discuss key accomplishments or qualifications. This will help guide the reader's eye to the most important information.
  • Close with confidence: Summarize why you're the right candidate and express appreciation for consideration in the concluding paragraph. 

Create your cover letter fast with artificial intelligence.

2. how to write a header for your legal cover letter.

The header of your cover letter plays the role of introducing your personal and professional details. It should be crisply formatted, containing accurate, necessary information. 

The contents of the header should include:

  • Your full name
  • Your phone number
  • Your professional email address
  • The current date
  • The hiring manager's name and title
  • The law firm's name and address

Understand better with the following examples:

Incorrect legal cover letter header example

Lawyer Tom Phone: 123456789 Email: [email protected]

To: Pearson Specter Litt

Why isn't this correct? This example doesn't reflect the standard professional legal cover letter header. Here's why:

  • The name should be the full name without any titles.
  • The phone number isn't correctly formatted. It is standard to include area code in brackets followed by the rest of the number.
  • The email address isn't professional. Stick to a combination of your name/initials, avoiding nicknames. 
  • The current date and your personal address are missing, both of which are customary inclusions.
  • The hiring manager's name, title, and firm's full address are missing, which are fundamental to a strong, professional header.

Correct legal cover letter header example

Thomas Brennan (123) 456-7890 [email protected] March 3, 2023

To: Mr. Jonathan Adams Hiring Manager Pearson Specter Litt 456 Barrister Blvd, New York, NY 10012

What makes this correct?

  • The full name is used and it's professional. 
  • The phone number is correctly formatted.
  • The email address is professional and easily identifiable. 
  • The date is specific and current. 
  • The hiring manager is respectfully addressed. 
  • Law firm's complete address is mentioned.

By following these tips, you ensure your header is professional, making it easier for the hiring manager to contact you.

3. How to craft an eye-catching legal cover letter headline

Your cover letter's headline is essentially your first impression, making it key in capturing the hiring manager's attention . A powerful headline is concise, targeted, and indicates the value you bring to the role.

Incorrect legal cover letter headline examples

  • Looking for Legal Position
  • Law Graduate Seeking Job

Why are they weak?

  • They're vague and generic. 
  • The headlines don't convey any specific value or differentiate the candidate from others. 

Strong legal cover letter headline examples

  • Results-Oriented Attorney with 10+ Years in Corporate Law
  • Harvard Law Grad Specializing in Environmental Legislation

What makes them strong?

  • They're specific and tell the hiring manager immediately what the candidate offers.
  • They use targeted language that portrays a strong, professional image.
  • They highlight impressive achievements or unique specialization areas. 

Remember that your headline works similar to a captivating tagline representing your professional identity. Invest thought into crafting it. Showcase your unique strengths and features boldly.

Find out your resume score!

Resume Analytics

4. How to personalize the greeting on your legal cover letter

Addressing your cover letter properly is a crucial step that shouldn't be overlooked. It shows respect, professionalism, and that you've done your homework. 

Customizing the greeting specifically for the hiring manager takes your game up a notch. Ideally, you can find their name on the job posting or on the company's website . If not, LinkedIn and the firm’s official website are other good places to look for it.

Personalized cover letter greeting examples

  • Dear Mr. Adams,
  • Dear Mr. Michael Adams,
  • Dear Hiring Manager Micheal Adams,

When the hiring manager's name is unknown , it's best to use a generalized professional greeting. Avoid using "To whom it may concern," as it's overly formal and outdated. Here's how to better address your cover letter:

Generalized professional greeting examples

  • Dear Hiring Manager, — This is a safe and universally acceptable option. It's appropriate for any circumstances.
  • Hello Legal Team, or Dear [Lawfirm's Name] Team, — These are great options when you want to address the whole team. It signifies that you see yourself fitting in with the group.
  • Dear [Lawfirm's Name] Recruiter, — Use this option if you know that your cover letter will be read by a recruiter or if the job posting was shared by a recruiter.

Remember, every detail counts. Tailoring your greeting demonstrates initiative and respect, and these small touches could give you a competitive edge over other candidates.

5. How to craft a strong introduction for your legal cover letter

The introduction of your cover letter sets the tone for the rest of the document. It should capture interest, radiate enthusiasm, and briefly highlight professional achievements or academic acumen. 

Include why you're applying for the specific position, and if applicable, leverage a mutual connection to further enhance your credibility.

Incorrect legal cover letter introduction

I came across your job posting and thought I should apply, given my background in law.

Why is this not effective?

  • It lacks enthusiasm and appears insincere.
  • It fails to share any relevant experiences or qualifications.
  • It doesn't articulate why you're interested in the role.

Correct introduction for an experienced attorney

As an accomplished attorney with over 12 years of experience in corporate law, and a track record of securing favorable outcomes in over 85% of my cases, I am excited by the opportunity to bring my skills and expertise to ABC Law Firm's legal team.

What makes this good?

  • It shows the candidate's experience upfront.
  • It reveals a specific achievement that stands out.
  • It expresses interest in the job posting.

Just out of law school and ready to conquer the legal world? Now, let's see how a hard-hitting introduction for a recent law graduate should look like:

Correct introduction for a recent law graduate

With a Juris Doctor degree from XYZ University and an internship experience at a reputable law firm, I am keen to apply for the Associate Attorney position at ABC Law Firm. My academic achievements and hands-on experience in handling various legal cases make me a strong candidate for this role.

What sets this apart?

  • It highlights relevant academic achievement and professional experience.
  • It expresses an eagerness for the specific job role.
  • It forwards the prospect's suitability for the role.

In crafting your cover letter's opening, be bold and specific. Highlight the best parts of your career or educational background and make them intrigued to keep reading.

legal cover letter opening examples

6. How to highlight your skills and accomplishments in a legal cover letter

The body of your cover letter is essentially your stage, it's where you impress the audience with your star qualities. In a neat and structured format, it should showcase your top skills , key achievements , and explain how these align with the requirements of the job role. 

To effectively spotlight your legal skills and achievements:

  • Use bullet points or short paragraphs for clarity and brevity.
  • Quantify your achievements if possible. Legal professionals appreciate hard data. 
  • Tailor your skills to match those requested in the job description.

Top legal skills that you might highlight in a legal cover letter

  • Detail-oriented
  • Strong research skills
  • Excellent communicator
  • High moral integrity
  • Proficient in legal software 

These are just a few examples of the key skills you might want to highlight when applying for a legal role. Remember, it’s not just about listing your skills, but demonstrating how they have made a tangible impact in your career or studies.

Cover letter body paragraph example for experienced legal professionals

My successes in the legal field have been thanks to my combination of skills and experience. For example:

  • I saved my previous firm a substantial $2M through effective negotiation strategies.
  • I implemented new legal software, reducing the research time by 30%, increasing productivity within the team.
  • My rigorous attention to details was upheld in over 250 cases, where I found critical information that swayed the case in our favor.

If you're just starting your legal career , focus on transferable skills , academic achievements , or relevant internships . Perhaps you led a successful group project in your law course, or you have honed your researching abilities during your internship. Make these the highlight of your letter.

Cover letter body paragraph example for fresh graduates

Despite my lack of professional experience, my training and academia have equipped me with a robust skill set:

  • My detail-oriented approach was recognized during my internship at XYZ law firm where I examined a complex 200-page contractual document and unearthed crucial irregularities.
  • As a graduate, I managed a successful law project that involved research into data privacy, displaying my ability to handle intricate details and understand complex legal terminologies.

Remember, writing a cover letter is about promoting yourself without sounding boastful. The goal is to show the reader why you're the best fit for the job. So shine a large spotlight on your skills, qualifications, and experiences that align with the requirements of the job.

Estate Manager Cover Letter Example

7. How to write a strong legal cover letter conclusion

The conclusion of your legal cover letter is equally as important as the introduction. This is your closing argument and final chance to emphasize your interest in the position, and how you can be an asset to the company. 

Your conclusion should include:

  • A reiteration of your interest in the role
  • When and how you can best be reached, and an expectation of hearing from them
  • A commitment to follow-up within a certain time frame
  • A formal sign-off

Here's an example of an effective conclusion for a legal cover letter

I am genuinely excited about the prospect of bringing my unique blend of skills and experience to your esteemed legal team. I am confident that my expertise in corporate law will be beneficial to XYZ Law Firm. I can be reached at any time via phone or email, and I am looking forward to your feedback by the end of this month, at the latest. In case I have not heard from you by then, I will take the initiative to follow up to ensure my application has been received. Thank you for taking time to consider my application.

[Your Name]

Remember, a persuasive conclusion leaves a lasting good impression, and that's exactly what you're aiming for. Wrap it up professionally, confidently, and courteously.

cover letter conclusion tips

8. How to avoid common mistakes in a legal cover letter

Despite your best intentions, easy-to-make mistakes can creep into your legal cover letter, potentially jeopardizing your chances of landing the job. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid :

  • Lack of specificity: Saying you're a "hard-working legal professional" is good, but not enough. Highlight specific skills and experiences related to the job.
  • Typos and Grammar Errors: These can cast doubt on your attention to detail. Always proofread your cover letter, if possible, have someone else review it too.
  • Being too lengthy: Employers don't have time for prolonged narratives. Stick to a single page, highlighting your key skills and experiences. Scrutinize each sentence — if it doesn't clearly add value, consider revising or removing it.
  • Repeating your resume: Your cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume. It's an opportunity to present your skills and experiences in a narrative format that connects them to the needs of the job.
  • Addressing it to the wrong person: Failing to address the correct person can send your application straight to the trash. Always double-check the recipient’s name and title. If it isn't mentioned in the job ad, consider calling the company to ask or do an online research.

By circumventing these common errors, you enhance the potential of your application, making it more compelling and professional.

9. Average salary and outlook for lawyers

Choosing a career in law comes with impressive financial prospects. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the average yearly salary for lawyers as of May 2022 was a handsome $135,740 . This salary can of course vary depending on your specialization, location, and level of experience.

But it's not just about the money — the job outlook for lawyers is also promising. Employment of lawyers is set to grow 8 percent from 2022 to 2032 . This growth rate surpasses the average for all other occupations, making the legal field a viable and attractive career path.

Digging deeper, the data reveals an anticipated average of 39,100 openings for lawyers each year over the next decade.

With its attractive salary and robust employment outlook, pursuing a career as a lawyer could lead to a bright and prosperous future.

lawyers salary and job outlook

10. Job seeking resources for legal professionals

Navigating the job market can be challenging, and having the right resources at your disposal can make a significant difference. Whether you're a student considering a career in law or an experienced lawyer seeking a new opportunity, the following resources can be invaluable: 

  • Legal job boards: Websites like Lawjobs.com or Indeed.com compile countless job listings in the legal field, making it easy to find opportunities that align with your interests and qualifications.
  • Networking: Connect with other legal professionals on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Moreover, consider joining legal associations and attending industry conferences to meet peers and mentors in the legal profession.
  • Continued education: To advance in the legal field, consider acquiring additional certifications or attending workshops and seminars. Websites like Coursera or Lawline offer a range of online courses and seminars.
  • Legal blogs/news: Keeping up-to-date with the latest industry trends and topics is crucial. Sites like Law.com or the ABA Journal provide updated news, articles, and insights on the legal landscape. 
  • Mentorship: Reach out to experienced lawyers who can share their experiences and give you insights into the profession.
  • Career counseling: Many universities and colleges offer career counseling services for their students and alumni. These can help with resume and cover letter writing, interview practice, and job search strategies.
  • Social media engagement: Harness the power of social media. X , for example, is a dynamic platform to engage with legal influencers, partake in industry discussions and stay abreast with the latest industry updates. Following relevant hashtags like #LawJobs or #LegalCareer can open up a treasure trove of information and potential job leads.

Stepping into your legal career or seeking the next big opportunity can be a daunting task. However, using these resources can guide you on the right path, equipping you with the tools and knowledge needed to excel in your legal profession. All it takes is a little direction and a hefty dose of determination. Good luck!

Legal Cover Letter FAQ

Your tone should be professional and confident. Though you're writing a formal legal document, avoid overly complex legal jargon. It's essential to show your personality and passion for the role.

In your cover letter, make it clear why you're interested in the job and willing to relocate. However, focus primarily on your qualifications and why you're the best choice for the role.

If you have significant employment gaps , it may be wise to address them briefly in your cover letter. Be straightforward, focusing on the positive outcomes like any skills or knowledge learned during the gap.

It's always best to customize your cover letter for each job application. Using the same cover letter for different job applications might come across as lazy and could potentially cost you the job.

Only include references if the job advertisement specifically asks for them. Otherwise, wait until the interview. When choosing, find professional contacts who can attest to your skills and qualifications.

Julia Gergelova — Resume Writer

Julia Gergelova

Julia is a professional writer, translator and graphic designer. She holds degrees in translation and interpretation, and has international work experience from a number of different countries in Europe as well as China and Panama. Julia formerly taught academic writing and as a graphic designer contributed to outlets such as  The Business of Business . She has a passion for lifelong learning and good coffee.


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Law student cover letter: what you need to know + samples.

cover letter for law graduate

Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 4/12/24

Need to write a law student cover letter? We’ve got you covered! Below, we discuss the dos and don’ts of writing a cover letter for law school. 

A cover letter is often an overlooked aspect of any application, but it is the first thing potential employers read. If your cover letter doesn’t impress the reader, your entire application risks being passed over. 

If you are unsure of how to write a strong cover letter, look no further. We’ll outline key tips, review examples of cover letters, and answer some frequently asked questions. Let’s get started!

What Is a Law Student Cover Letter? 

A law student cover letter is a document a law student submits with their resume to potential employers for internships or employment opportunities within their field of study.

It serves as a personalized introduction and persuasive pitch to potential employers. This letter connects the applicant's qualifications and experiences listed in their resume to the specific position they're applying for, highlighting their suitability for the role. 

It concludes with a call to action, expressing interest in an interview. Moreover, a cover letter is a tool for law students to demonstrate their qualifications and enthusiasm, aiming to secure an interview and the desired role.

Why Do You Need a Cover Letter as a Law Student?

Cover letters are a key part of any job application, whether you are in law school or not. It is important to include a cover letter unless specified otherwise, especially if you’re applying to multiple law schools . They allow you to demonstrate professionalism and show off your communication and writing skills. 

Cover letters are important for law students; they allow you to discuss important qualifications and experiences that aren’t always included within your resume, such as extracurricular activities . Here’s the information you should include in your cover letter: 

  • Research experience and activities 
  • Coursework 
  • Other valuable skills 

A cover letter for law students is a great opportunity to share your accomplishments and skills outside of your work experience. 

What to Include in Your Law Student Cover Letter

cover letter for law graduate

Your cover letter is the first thing an employer will read, so be positive and enthusiastic! While your resume outlines your relevant work experience and education, it doesn’t show off your personality. 

A cover letter can be a great opportunity to humanize yourself to the employer and make them want you to be a part of their team. 

Berkeley Law outlines the precise content you should include in your cover letter : 

  • First Paragraph : Introduce yourself and why you are interested in applying for the position. 
  • Body Paragraphs : This is where you show off all your work experience, research, achievements, qualifications, and other skills that are related to the position you are applying to. Be persuasive but not too showy. Remember to be honest and genuine. 
  • Final Paragraph : To conclude, thank the employer for taking the time to read and consider your application, and leave contact information for a prospective interview. Remain positive and confident that you will get an interview!

While these are just suggestions to help you get started and structure your cover letter, you should try to follow this format as closely as you can. 

What NOT to Include in Your Law Student Cover Letter

cover letter for law graduate

It is tempting to highlight all of your experiences, but that is not the purpose of a cover letter. Cover letters should be concise and to the point. You should only mention experiences that are relevant to the position you are applying for. 

When deciding which experiences to include, focus on those that you have completed recently. You only have a few short paragraphs to sell yourself to employers, so be sure to avoid accomplishments from over three years ago. 

You also want to avoid being negative, doubtful, or coming across as insecure in your cover letter. 

Formatting Tips for Law Students Cover Letter

Understanding the structure of a cover letter for a law student is essential to creating an impressive and effective application for legal internships or job opportunities. Here are some easy to follow tips to help you format your cover letter. 

1. Include a Header

Prior to writing the main sections of your cover letter, review and update your personal information. Make it easily accessible by positioning your contact details in the header section at the top of the letter. 

This includes your full name, email address, phone number, city, state, and date. This ensures the hiring manager can quickly locate your information for interview scheduling.

2. Address the Hiring Manager

Begin your letter with a professional and personalized greeting by addressing the hiring manager by name, incorporating their appropriate title (e.g., Mr. or Ms.). If you don't have their name, conduct online research, as law firms often provide employee information on their websites. 

In cases where you can't find a name, you can use the standard "Dear Hiring Manager" as your greeting.

3. Page Format and Length

When crafting your cover letter, remember to keep it concise, fitting all content onto a single page. Structure it with an introductory paragraph, followed by one to three skill-highlighting paragraphs, and wrap it up with a concluding paragraph. This format ensures that your message is clear and impactful while respecting the reader's time.

4. Margins and Alignment 

Ensure you follow the standard margins , typically one inch on all sides. If you opt for smaller margins, such as around 0.7 inches, make sure to maintain consistency across all sides of the page. 

Additionally, align all paragraphs to the left for a clean and conventional presentation, although some choose to use an indentation for the first line of each paragraph, although this is less common in modern formatting.

5. Use a Suitable Sign-Off

Conclude your cover letter with a professional and balanced tone. It shows your professionalism, which law firms often value in candidates. Consider sign-offs like "Regards," "Sincerely," or "Best Regards." Allow some space after this closing for your name.

Law Student Cover Letter Example

We have some sample legal cover letters from law students below to give you an idea of tone, style, and length. 

Here is an example of a strong cover letter for a first-year law student at Yale University: 

Dear [Employer’s Name]: 
I am a first-year student at Yale Law School seeking a position with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle for Summer 20XX. I am a native New Yorker and hope to work in New York City this coming summer. 
I am interested in your firm because of its international law practice generally and, more particularly, because of your firm’s presence in France and numerous French clients. Your Paris office’s focus in the areas of international commercial arbitration, as well as corporate, banking, and finance work, aligns with my long-term interests in a practice serving international corporations. Having lived and studied in Paris for one year during college and having served as a teaching assistant for French language and literature courses, I am fluent in French and knowledgeable about French culture. My undergraduate majors in International Relations and in Economics provided me with an understanding of many of the complex issues facing businesses with the increase in globalization. I plan to further my understanding of these issues as a member of the Yale Journal of International Law. 
To your firm I will bring proven legal research, writing, and analytical skills that will support your firm and its clients. During my undergraduate education, I served as a member of the University Judiciary Committee, and as a student judge I heard cases, interpreted university codes, and wrote rulings summarizing the Committee’s conclusions. I also drafted a thesis in which I drew from archived primary sources and first-person interviews to write a fifty-page document over the course of a year. Here at Yale, through our first-year writing course this fall, I have streamlined my skills and adapted them to the legal environment. Next semester, I will enroll in YLS’s Advanced Legal Writing course to deepen my understanding and experience. 
Attached please find my resume. If you would like me to provide you with additional materials, I would be more than happy to do so. I am confident that my background and skills will enable me to make a positive contribution to your clients. Thank you for considering my candidacy. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 
Sincerely, [Your Name]

This is a successful cover letter because the individual outlines specific academic skills and experience that make them a qualified candidate. Remember, being specific is key to writing a strong cover letter. 

Employers want to read about a couple of examples rather than a general (and usually vague) overview of all your qualifications and experiences. 

For first year law students, you can highlight where you completed your undergrad and your major, as you will have most likely just completed this degree. You can also include why you are interested in pursuing a law career. 

For those who are in their second year of law school, here is another excellent sample legal cover letter :

I am a second-year student at Yale Law School seeking employment with the Food Research and Action Center for the summer. If funding is not available for summer interns, Yale could fund my summer employment. 
FRAC’s mandate to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States is compelling to me. I understand that through a combination of research, advocacy, program monitoring, training, collaboration, and public-information campaigns you seek to address the root causes of hunger. As a former nurse who has worked on issues of nutrition and health policy, I am very interested in the work of the Center in the areas of health law and nutrition in maternal and child health. I would greatly value the opportunity to work with and learn from your attorneys, policy analysts, and advocates. 
I have practical work experience in these fields that would be of service to you and your clients. My work as an assistant ombudsperson at a major hospital helped me to understand the importance of nutrition for health and the need for advocacy on behalf of those who cannot effectively advocate for themselves. My experience with the National Health Law program exposed me to the legislative and policy side of health law and the value of legal training in public service. After my first year of law school, I was able to combine my nursing degree and health care experience with my new legal research and writing skills at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. This experience has strengthened my interest in grassroots organizing and advocacy of nutrition issues for low income Americans.
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you or someone in your office about a position as a summer intern at the Center. I will call your office in the next few weeks to see whether it might be possible to arrange an interview and look forward to speaking with you then. 
I have enclosed my resume, law school transcript, a writing sample, and a reference list. Should you require additional application materials, please let me know, and I will forward them to you immediately. 
Thank you for your consideration. 

Like the first example, this cover letter works so well because it clearly outlines and describes the specific experience of the candidate. 

As a second year law student, the individual speaks about how their experience relates to the areas of law the student is interested in pursuing, demonstrating that the position the candidate is applying for will help them achieve their career goals.    

These examples are a good starting point to structure your own letter off of, but remember to make your cover letter your own.

Cover Letter Template for a Law Student 

Here is a cover letter template for law students provided by the University of Notre Dame. 

Your City, State Zip

Your Phone Number 

Your Email Address

Name of Contact Person 

Title of Contact Person 

Employer Name 

Address City, State Zip     

Dear Mr. (Ms.) last name of contact person:   

First Paragraph: Tell why you are writing – name the position for which you are applying. If you have a personal referral or connection, mention it here. Identify your career goals and indicate why you are interested in working for this employer. If you have ties to or have lived in the area, mention it. Specify your interests in the type of work the employer does. Describe what is particularly appealing to you about the employer.    

Second Paragraph: Show how your background qualifies you for the position. Point out the experience and coursework you have that relate to the employer's field or type of work. Focus on what skills or experiences you would bring to the employer. Emphasize pertinent items on your resume and supplement it with other details. Tie experience to tangible, transferable skills. Convince the employer that you would be an asset.   

Third Paragraph: Restate your interest in working for the employer. Have an appropriate closing to pave the way for an interview. Indicate your willingness to interview personally by stating when you will be in the area or by offering to make yourself available at the employer's convenience. Thank the employer for his/her consideration.   


(leave 4 blank lines for signature)     

Your full typed name 

There are many law school application mistakes to avoid . If you’re having trouble writing your cover letter, this help template will aid you in writing a stellar one! 

FAQs: Law Student Cover Letter

Still have questions about writing a cover letter for law school? We answer some of your frequently asked questions below. 

1. How Do I Write a Cover Letter for a Law Student?

Before you begin writing any cover letter, familiarize yourself with the job posting, the company/organization you are applying to, and use words and phrases found in the job posting. 

This will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the specific job, and will also show off your attention to detail (a skill employers always look for). After you have written the cover letter, proofread and edit for grammar and spelling errors before you submit your application. 

2. What Should Be Included in a Cover Letter for Law?

Your cover letter should include: 

  • Your Address and Contact Information 
  • Your Full Name and Location 
  • The Date of Your Application 
  • A Brief Introduction to Yourself 
  • Concise Outline of Professional and Academic Experience 
  • Highlights of Why You Are Qualified for the Position 
  • A Professional and Polite Closing 

Highlight the school you’re attending, as law firms may prefer students from certain colleges. 

Take your time when writing your cover letter; it takes quite a bit of work to craft an impactful one. However, a strong cover letter will maximize your chances of getting the job or internship you want, so it will be well worth it. 

3. How Long Should a Law School Cover Letter Be?

A cover letter should only be one page long and broken up into a few short paragraphs for ease of reading. Make sure that you follow typical business correspondence formatting. 

4. How Do You Address a Law School Cover Letter?

Normally, people have addressed cover letters with Mr. or Mrs. [Last name] . However, this may not always be appropriate because you do not know how the individual would like to be addressed. 

Nowadays, people typically address employers with a simple Dear [First and last name] . This is still a personal and respectful way to address someone, and avoids assuming someone’s gender identity and offending them. 

Yale Law School suggests addressing your cover letter to a specific individual rather than a vague ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam.’

5. ​​Can I Use The Same Cover Letter For Multiple Law Schools?

Yes, you can use the same cover letter for multiple law schools . However, you may only reuse parts of it. It’s important that you personalize every cover letter you write and tailor it to the school you’re sending it to. 

6. Do I Need Multiple Cover Letters?

Yes, you need multiple cover letters. You’ll need to personalize each cover letter you write. However, you can reuse parts of your cover letter that are generic. 

Final Thoughts

Writing a cover letter is not as easy as many people may think. You need to pay close attention to detail, flex your communication and writing skills, and professionally brag about your accomplishments and capabilities in a way that compliments your resume. 

If you would like help with your resume, we also have tips on building a great resume to go along with your cover letter. Good luck!

cover letter for law graduate

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Law Student Cover Letter Samples

Law Student Cover Letter Samples

If you’re studying law and looking to review some law student cover letter samples, then this blog is for you! Whether you’re applying to an internship, or hoping to obtain employment in your field, you’ll need a specific cover letter detailing your qualities and skills as a law student. A law student cover letter differs from a law school letter of recommendation , as you’ll write it yourself and you’ll only need it once you’re already admitted into your program. A well written cover letter can help you acquire great learning opportunities!

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 11 min read

Law student cover letters are extremely important for students of law to know how to write and have on-hand, regardless of what year of study you’re currently in. A cover letter serves as your chance to show off your skills and to make sure that the motivation behind your career choice and your suitability for the role; this is especially important for things like summer job opportunities related to your program and internships. This blog will walk you through everything you need to know about writing a law student cover letter—from what information it should contain, how it should be formatted, and a few samples of law student cover letters so you’ll know how to prepare your letter with ease!

What is a Law Student Cover Letter?

You are now a law student! After completing dozens of application components, such as your law school personal statement, law school resume , and other law school optional essays , you have finally made it! But, if you think that you are done planning and working on application materials, you are wrong! Now that you’re a law student, you must work to gain relevant experience and knowledge by participating in internships, articling, and other law-related job opportunities. To succeed in your applications, you will need a stellar law student cover letter.

A law student cover letter is a document that you write to accompany your resume, which you send along with your application for various internships or employment opportunities that are related to your area of study. In your case, this is law, but it may be a specific sector of law that you have a special interest in, such as family law or environmental law. A cover letter is used to connect the dots between your experiences listed on your resume by providing your potential employer with a short, organized narrative that details why you’re an ideal candidate for the role.

As a law student, it's important for you to create effective marketing materials that stand out from the crowd of applicants. A well-written cover letter will help employers remember who sent them the application—and put it at the top of their pile when they're shortlisting candidates for an interview!

Simply put: you’ll want to stand out to potential employers, and having a well written cover letter can enhance your application!

Need help with your cover letter? Reach out to a law school advisor:

Without a cover letter, your application may only consist of a resume, and/or any other documentation that is required. Most, if not all, jobs recommend a cover letter. The same can be said for internships. Whether paid or unpaid, internship positions are often in high demand, and many law students will likely apply for the same position. Many students may have similar academic paths and accomplishments, so, having a stellar cover letter gives you an opportunity to stand out (in just a few short paragraphs) and works to enhance the valuable information and experiences on your resume.

You should prepare a law-specific cover letter when you want to apply for any professional role related to law. Commonly, law student cover letters are required/recommended to go along with internship applications.

Even if you’re not currently seeking an internship or employment, you may also want to have an established cover letter if you’re interested in alumni networking as a law student, or learning about opportunities without the immediate intent of applying to them.

Your cover letter is a professional extension of you, and should almost act as a narrative that encompasses your abilities as a law student as they relate to the role you’re hoping to obtain.

Every law student cover letter you create and submit should be completely unique. This doesn’t mean that your latest cover letter cannot follow the same format as another you’ve written, or include the same background information about your skills. Rather, you should ensure each cover letter is tailored to the specific company and position you’re applying for. Each role has different requirements and expectations, so it’s important you take the time to share why you feel you’d be a good fit for a specific role, and not submit the same, generalized cover letters to every role you apply for while you’re in law school.

If you're a law student, cover letters are an important part of your job search while you’re still in school, and can really come in handy if you’re planning on pursuing an internship, whether one is a mandatory component of your program or not.

Even if internships are required by your institution, it does not mean you’ll be automatically awarded an internship. You may need to apply yourself in order to stand out and be considered above other candidates for your desired position at the company you wish to intern with; especially if it’s competitive.

Cover letters give you the chance to explain why you would be a good fit for a position and show that you're serious about getting the job. Resumes are brief and often point-form, highlighting a few academic accomplishments and credentials, along with employment history and workplace skills. But sometimes, a job title and a brief description of your duties isn’t sufficient enough to look like the best candidate in the application pool!

The first thing most hiring managers look at when they get an application is the cover letter; this is true across many fields, but especially in law. It gives them a sense of who you are as a professional, and shows them whether or not you may be an ideal fit for their company. Each company has its own culture and set of values; they’re looking for specific talent and skills to add to their team, and the only way they’ll know if you have these is by reading your detailed cover letter.

If yours doesn't stand out from the rest, you may not hear from your dream company!

What Information Should I Include in my Law Student Cover Letter?

Your law student cover letter should include the following:

  • Your name, address and phone number.
  • The date of your application. If you are applying for multiple positions at once, it’s helpful to make sure that your cover letter goes with each job posting.
  • A short summary of your career history so far (including any relevant work experience). This could be a paragraph or two long, but shouldn't take up more than half the page.
  • Brief descriptions of the internship or role you are applying for and what makes you qualified for it. You should emphasize the knowledge and skills you possess, and experiences you’ve had, in order to demonstrate why you think you’re a perfect candidate.
  • A concise summary about why you want to work in law, and why you want to work for this employer in particular. You can include the steps you’ve taken towards achieving this goal so far—this would include some information about your years spent at university as well as activities outside of class, such as extracurriculars related specifically to legal studies or volunteer opportunities.

What Information Should I Refrain from Putting in my Cover Letter?

Yes, there is definitely information that should not be included in any cover letter, but especially a law student cover letter.

First, you should refrain from including overly personal information. This means you should not provide details about your personal life, irrelevant points about hobbies or interests unrelated to law, and any information about your age, race, gender, political opinion, or preferences, unless this was a requirement for the role! For example, some internship and job postings may be looking for students under 30 years of age, somebody who is bilingual, somebody who identities as female, or even a person with a specific area of interest that is relevant to the position.

When formatting your law student cover letter, consider the following:

Remember, no matter what position you\u2019re applying for, or what your experience is, your cover letter is to serve as an informative, concise piece\u2014a narrative\u2014explaining your professional qualifications! Your resume is the place to list your accomplishments and extensive history (usually in point-form of brief sentences), however, your cover letter should highlight skills and points that are specific to the role you\u2019re hoping to obtain. "}]">

November 1, 2020

Mr. John Smith

XYZ District Attorney’s Office

123 Anywhere Street

Newtown, NY

Dear Mr. Smith,

I am a second-year student at ZYX Law School and I’m elated to be writing to you in response to your posting for a spring intern at your downtown office. I have been a passionate advocate for many social justice movements in the downtown core, and feel working at the XYZ District Attorney’s Office would be an invaluable experience. I am also confident that I have several established skills that would make me a great addition to your office over the course of the fourth month position.

I attended ABC University for my undergraduate degree and received my honors degree in Justice, Political Policy and Law in 2017, with a minor focus in Labor Studies. Prior to beginning my current program, I accepted a part-time position as a youth program coordinator at Newtown’s Indigenous community center. I thoroughly enjoy drafting and organizing programs that will benefit the young minds in this city, and throughout my academic and professional endeavors, I’ve grown to be the passionate, dedicated law student I am today.

I am passionate about social justice and empowerment which is why a role interning at your office not only piqued my interest as somebody eager to learn more about district law, but somebody who is so excited about working in this city. I also firmly believe I am capable of demonstrating the intensive research skills and organizational abilities required for this role, as I exceeded in political research and research analytics during my undergraduate degree, specifically with my fourth-year thesis, where I presented my case on the relation of Generational Trauma, Systemic Racism and Social Welfare Crises. Last summer, I completed an internship at CDF Law Firm as a research assistant and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I successfully compiled and drafted several documents during my two months at CDF, and, I learned how to best organize my findings in an approachable and concise manner.

Overall, I feel an internship at XYZ District Attorney’s Office would be phenomenal opportunity. I feel in this position, I’d be able to successfully enhance my skills as a law professional, and learn new research and leadership skills that will be imperative to my growth and will contribute to my journey toward one day becoming a District Attorney myself. I have a lot to learn, but I know I have a lot of value and skill to offer.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to review my cover letter. I look forward to connecting with you. I can be reached at (102)-304-1234, or by email, [email protected] .

Sample Law Student Cover Letter 2

ABC County Municipal Government Center

1999 Anytown Ave - 18

Anycity, NY

March 10, 2018

To Whom it may Concern,

I am a third year ABC Law student determined to pursue a career as a public defender, which is why I am excited to be formally applying for your internship at ABC Country Municipal Government Centre. I have an extensive background studying criminal law and public defence, both in my post secondary courses and internships, and volunteer endeavors. I feel my combination of experience and dedication to becoming a law professional allow me to demonstrate the skills necessary for this role, including knowledge of the criminal justice system, municipal law, and defence, as well as impeccable analytical and critical thinking abilities.

Last summer, I worked for the Public Defender Service for the District of CBA as a part-time intern. There, I helped my designated attorney prepare for trial and conducted extensive research on cases specific to juveniles, as well as other crimes that impacted the community, like vandalism. I helped prepare court documents and by the end of my contract, I was preparing documents entirely on my own; they were then granted approval upon review and used in court. I also witnessed and participated in defence interviews as an observer and got a first-hand look at what it takes to not only question to convicted, but to see the big picture and understand, from a professional standpoint, what their true intent is/was. I always strive to hear everybody and ask the appropriate questions to ensure I have a thorough understanding of every case.

I have completed eight criminal law courses, with honors, in my current program, and exceeded in criminal law during my undergraduate career, too. Currently, I volunteer as a journalist for the law “paper”, that is a student-run and funded blog, at ABC University. I enjoy volunteering my time to not only to inform the law community of pertinent issues and stories in our community, but to ensure I have polished and pristine research and writing skills. I believe the only way to learn and improve, is by doing.

My training during workshops and mock trials has helped me to develop the strong oral advocacy skills critical in the courtroom, which I am looking to put to use, alongside my research, writing, and analytical skills, at an internship at your office. My academic career and professional goals, make me a strong candidate for this position. I would appreciate the chance to discuss my qualifications with you.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

As a law student, you’ll benefit tremendously from knowing how to draft a quality, concise law student cover letter for all of your future internships and employment opportunities. It’s essential that you mention relevant details and highlight your assets in your law student cover letter, as it’s your only opportunity to offer a narrative to support your resume/application, and speak to your own character and potential!

Be sure to review our samples above, and review the recommended structure so that you can format your law student cover letter well and attach it to all of your applications! Remember, for each job you apply for, you should create a custom cover letter.

A cover letter is a one-page document that you include with your resume when applying for jobs, internships and other positions. The cover letter’s purpose is to introduce yourself and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. It should also highlight why you would be an asset to the company or law firm in question.

A law student cover letter is different from a cover letter you’d send along to support your application for a job outside of law. As a law student, you’ll require a cover letter when you apply for internship opportunities, or for positions related to the field of law.

Yes, and no. While having a template and outline for your law student cover letter is generally a good idea, you should customize all of your cover letters so that they are tailored to each individual role you are applying for. Be sure to state the company’s name, and personalize what you say so it stands out to specific employers!

Mentioning specific skills you have that align with their ideal candidate (refer to job description),and supplying a brief, supportive narrative can strongly support your resume. Remember, your resume acts as an organized list to detail your experience, whereas a cover letter gives you the chance to speak to your character, experiences, and skills, and convince the employer that you’re right for the role!

Refrain from providing extensive information about past experiences (educational, employment or personal) that are not relevant to the position of which you’re applying! You only have one page, so be sure to only add details that matter and relate to law!

No, when you have not yet entered your law program, you are not yet a law student! You can use cover letters for any job you apply for, however, they should be tailored specifically to your program.

It’s important to remember that a law student cover letter is vastly different than a law school letter of recommendation. Your letter of recommendation supports your application to law school, and is written by a recommender. Your law student cover letter will be written by you, once you’re already admitted into your law program.

You need one cover letter for each job/internship you apply for, unless you are given instructions that state otherwise. Your cover letter should be no more than one page, and should be broken up into 3-5 short paragraphs to make it readable and professional.

BeMo Academic Consulting can help you! We offer academic support for students studying in a variety of fields, including law, and we’d be happy to help you write your law student cover letter.

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cover letter for law graduate

Law graduate cover letter

This free sample cover letter for a law graduate has an accompanying law graduate sample resume  and law graduate sample job ad to help you put together a winning job application.

James Smith 34 Miller Street Mountains VIC 3333 Tel: 03 8888 5555 Mobile: 0555 555 555 Email: [email protected]

[date] Ms Annabel Jones HR Manager Legal Matters Associates Level 100 Borrowing Place 1 Samly Street Melbourne VIC 3000

Dear Ms Jones

Re: Graduate Program, Legal Matters Associates

Please accept this letter, and the accompanying resume and academic transcript as application for the graduate program advertised on your website.

I graduated in 2007 with a Commerce/Law degree from the University of Mountainville and have legal experience gained working as a volunteer and as a summer clerk.

I recently completed a summer clerkship in the property and corporate division of The Lawyers Firm. In each division, I assisted senior associates and junior lawyers in the running of files for major private sector and government clients. This experience developed my research, drafting and analytical skills, as well as my knowledge of relevant property and contract law. It gave me the opportunity to work autonomously on smaller matters and as part of a team on more complex files. During the three months of my clerkship, I was able to foster successful working relationships with colleagues and the firm's clients.

My practical legal skills have also developed as a result of my work as a volunteer at the Matthew Legal Centre. Working one evening each week since March 2004, I interview clients, draft legal documents, manage multiple files and prepare briefs for counsel. In addition to increasing my understanding of the legal problems that affect ordinary people, in the areas of consumer credit, tenancy and criminal law, my experience at the centre developed my attention to detail and understanding of a client's problem before attempting to provide a legal opinion and strategy for resolution.

I have excellent oral and written communication skills. I was captain of the successful mooting team at university, have contributed articles to university newspapers and presented workshops to clients on understanding their legal rights at the Matthew Legal Centre. I was President of the university law society in 2006, Community Ambassador for the Kids off the Street Project in 2005 and I was awarded the University Medal for achieving the highest result for the subject Real Property Law for 2006.

I am interested in a legal career at Legal Matters Associates because of the firm's reputation for providing high quality legal advice, its diverse blue chip client base and its commitment to service. I would love to be part of an innovative and growing firm that values initiative and hard work.

My resume and an official transcript of my academic results are enclosed. I look forward to being able to discuss the graduate lawyer program further at an interview.

Yours sincerely

[sign here]

James Smith

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Cover letters for law graduates


September 15, 2020 8:51 am Published by Salt Fuessel

Your cover letter is one of the first opportunities to leave a positive impression on a potential employer.Therefore it’s important that you present yourself and your skills in the best possible way. This blog will give you tips on how a great cover letter can help you gain employment at a law firm.

The importance of a well-crafted and brief cover letter cannot be overstated, no matter which field you work in and the kind of job you’re applying for. While a CV can list your university degrees, awards, work experience and skills, a cover letter needs to give a future employer enough information that highlights your abilities but without swamping them with words – leave it to the CV to go into detail. 

If your cover letter is too short, they won’t know enough about how you fit the advertised role; if it’s too long, you risk losing their interest before they open your CV. The first two paragraphs should grab the recruiter’s attention, and the entire cover letter should be no longer than around one A4 page.

The structure of the cover letter will be slightly different if you are attaching it as a separate document versus writing it in the body of an email. If it’s a document, your contact details are included in the upper-right corner, followed by the date about a salutation/greeting on the left. For both types, it is best to address the recruiter directly by name.

Next, set out what attracts you most about working for this employer, such as recent projects they have completed. You can then start listing a few brief reasons as to why you would be the best fit for this role and an asset for the company. Remember: do not include too much information that can be gleaned from your CV, but instead illustrate in a few sentences why your mix of education, experience and skills make you the best candidate.

Sometimes it can be beneficial to use headings in your cover letter, as this helps the recruiter easily navigate your letter, while also showing that you have tailored it to the specific role.

Your cover letter should be professional and polite, avoiding informal or colloquial language, as well as humour (don’t try to win over your recruiter with jokes). It is also important that you keep the language simple and clear; plain English language is best. You want to show a potential employer that you have an excellent grasp of pragmatics and that you can tailor your communication to a specific audience. Your cover letter is the ideal place for this. However, you also don’t want to come across as too formal, but simply show the recruiter that you have expert language skills, particularly in regards to persuasion.

The first rule of cover letters is to address all the key selection criteria stipulated in the job advertisement or position description. If you have experience in several different areas of law, you should also ensure you list the skills and experience which are most relevant to the specific role. You should state clearly why you want the position, and it’s a good idea to avoid statements which might indicate that you only see this role as a stepping stone to something else. If you are a graduate or have limited experience in the law field, you can focus more on your education, awards, accreditations. and any previous law-related work, and indicate that you are eager to expand your skills and experience. It’s important to remember that non-legal work experience is also valuable. So don’t be shy about including transferable skills developed through retail or office jobs, as many of these will still be relevant in the legal profession.

Winning your first law job may seem like a daunting process but it is something that each prospective lawyer must go through, so if you can make your cover letter look as good as possible, you’ll have a much greater chance of success. You can also check out our other blog on how to format your resume as a law graduate .

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Writing a law CV and cover letter

Jaymes carr.

First impressions are lasting and this is especially true when it comes to CVs and cover letters for law jobs . After all, the content of your application is only half the game – as a law graduate, it will also be expected that you can write clearly and persuasively. Moreover, recruiters are often time-poor professionals who want to separate the wheat from the chaff quickly, before reaching out to candidates who distinguish themselves with their academic credentials, work experience or diverse interests. So, to help you put your best foot forward, we’ve assembled some tips on how to create a killer cover letter and resume

Creating a Standout Cover Letter

The basics .

A cover letter is like a sales pitch, and what you’re trying to sell is your own suitability for a target job. Successful cover letters:

  • Highlight the important parts of your resume 
  • Provide a sample of your written communication skills
  • Show how your skills, education and experience are relevant to the position for which you’re applying 
  • Address any specific selection criteria in the job advertisement
  • Draw attention to your achievements 
  • Use appropriate formatting and a professional and confident tone of voice 
  • Encourage prospective employers to read further into your resume or CV
  • Demonstrate one’s command of the rules of grammar and style.

Why invest time in writing a good cover letter? 

Cover letters can be time-consuming, and that’s largely due to the importance of writing a new one for each application. Nothing turns off a prospective employer quite like the sense that they’re reading a template letter. It’s vitally important that your submission – or, at the very least, the bulk of it – is specific to the employer in question. It’s a chance to convince them that you want to work in their industry, for their specific organisation and in the job role they advertised. For example, why do you want to use your law degree in a community legal centre? What, to you, is the appeal of pursuing a public career instead of a private, commercial one? 

The contents

A cover letter should include the following: 

  • Your personal/contact details 
  • A salutation/greeting 
  • How you heard about the job/employer 
  • What attracts you to the job or employer (you can mention some of their recent projects or significant staff members)
  • Why you believe you would be an asset to the team 
  • How you will follow up 
  • A closing/signature.

The trick is to have a clear idea as to what the company does and what the job entails, then draw out evidence of your own relevant skills, interests and experience. Here, the more specific you can be, the better. For example, instead of simply writing that you’ve ‘interned at a leading law firm’, you could say, ‘As an intern, I helped to draft supporting documents for a case that was ultimately settled in favour of the firm’s client.’ 

Structure and tone

Your cover letter should have a clear structure with an introduction that leads into a summary of your relevant skills and experiences. This should be followed by a closing statement that reiterates your interest in the job, thanks the employer for their time and includes a ‘soft pitch’. For example, you might write something like: 

‘I look forward to speaking with you further about how I can make a positive contribution to your team’.

Throughout the letter, your tone should be polite and professional. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should tie yourself in knots trying to sound overly formal. Simply avoid colloquial language wherever possible, and focus on providing evidence of why you should be hired (as opposed to simply claiming to be ‘excellent’ or ‘talented’). 

Finally, keep your cover letter succinct. It should be no longer than one A4 page and should have your details clearly written as part of a letterhead. 

Get to the top of the pile: writing a successful CV

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a written overview of your experience and other qualifications for a job opportunity. Creating a good CV generally takes more time than writing a cover letter. However, once complete, a CV can be submitted to each new employer with only minor adjustments.

A CV should concisely outline your relevant educational history, work experience, professional accomplishments and qualifications. It may also include details of referees (if requested). A successful CV: 

  • Can be read easily and uses a clear font in a reasonable size with logical headings and well structured bullet points
  • Uses a skills-focused or chronological format 
  • Emphasises skills or job experiences that are particularly relevant to the job description. 

Why invest time in writing a good CV? 

The role of a CV is to provide recruiters and prospective employers with an easily scannable summary of your achievements so they can decide whether or not to progress your application by offering you an interview. 

As a law graduate, you’ll often find that your educational pedigree is similar to other applicants, many of whom will have completed near-identical degrees at equivalent institutions. Consequently, it’s worth taking the time to figure out what differentiates you from the crowd before emphasising this in your CV. 

For example, you might bill yourself as a lawyer with strong communication skills and highlight that you volunteered for a community law centre. Or perhaps you speak another language, love coding or have a specific five-year goal that the role you’re applying for will help you achieve. Giving your CV a novel ‘twist’ is a surefire way to make sure it doesn’t get lost in all the noise. 

The contents 

A law CV should include the following: 

  • Your contact details, including your phone number, address and email 
  • Your residency status 
  • A career overview, with an emphasis on industry positions or transferable skills gained through other jobs you’ve held 
  • A summary of your education and training
  • A list of any professional accreditations or other qualifications you have (for example, a certificate of proficiency in a different language)
  • Details of your referees (or an explicit offer to provide them).

Your educational history from your university years should include your predicted or actual degree grades, information on group projects and your dissertation, any units relevant to the job, and relevant academic awards. Employers don’t need to know the specifics of units that don’t relate to them.

Work experience 

You should prioritise any legal work experience you have, and highlight specific accomplishments that are relevant to the position for which you’re applying. Of course as a graduate, your experience in law may be limited, if you have any at all. 

Fortunately, many employers look very favourably on achievements and experiences outside of the law. Examples worth mentioning include fundraising, voluntary work, independent overseas travel, sporting achievements or leading roles in university clubs or societies. You needn’t go into too much detail – a summary of your achievements and any relevant transferable skills (leadership, teamwork or problem-solving skills) will suffice. 

The most common CV format is the reverse-chronological approach, which presents your most recent work experience and educational accomplishments first, before moving backwards. If you follow this approach, make sure the chronology is clear and there are no large gaps that could confuse or worry employers. For example, if you took a year off to go travelling between jobs, you might even include that as a CV entry.

As with your cover letter, your tone should be polite and professional, and your entries as specific and detailed as possible. Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • Describe achievements – don’t just list job titles. Instead of saying you were an intern at Arup, mention specifically what you accomplished, learned or contributed.
  • Emphasise more recent jobs and achievements.
  • Be honest. You should expect your CV will be read critically and important points will be cross-checked with referees or industry databases. 
  • Keep paragraphs to three or four lines and space them well. This helps the reader pick out the main facts and assimilate a number of points quickly. 
  • Use bullet points wherever they add clarity and visual style. When writing bullet points, use direct action words such as ‘designed’, ‘built’ and ‘organised’. This has the effect of assigning credit to you for your achievements and enhances the CV’s overall credibility.
  • Prioritise relevance but also leave room for things that make you seem interesting or well rounded. For example, there’s no reason not to include a cooking qualification as a point of interest, and you needn’t claim it will be integral to your success in law.

Sample cover letters

Sample cover letter #1, applying for an internship.










I am a [first/second/third]-year student at [insert academic institution] and I’m writing to apply for [name of position advertised] position with [name of organisation]. I have a strong [insert average mark], which I achieved while [include example of extracurricular activity or personal challenge]. Completing a placement at [insert organisation] would allow me to continue my commitment to [insert an issue relevant to the organisation and for which you are genuinely passionate]. I feel confident that I will make a positive contribution to your office while strengthening the skills I’ll need for a career in [insert relevant area of law].

[NB: We will assume from this point that the author is applying for a clerkship at a commercial law firm.]

As a student at [insert academic institution], I wrote an honours thesis on the need to reform our approach to financial market manipulation, focusing on the legal implications of the way ‘manipulation’ is defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). My master’s thesis focused on regulatory responses to the financial crisis in Singapore and Indonesia, allowing me to better understand how other countries handle these complex issues.

I was drawn to [organisation’s name] because it is my career goal to work in financial regulation. As a market leader in banking and finance, [organisations name] has [insert example of its involvement in this area, such as a major case or client]. These matters resonated with me because [insert why these matters resonated with you]. 

This semester, I participated in the semi-final of the Ashurst Commercial Law Moot, which allowed me to demonstrate my oral argument skills and exposed me to the work lawyers can do to promote responsible market regulation. Additionally, joining the Business Law Review has kept me updated on the legal issues facing commercial law practitioners. I’m particularly passionate about the effects of commercial law reform on smaller businesses. Working in the outreach division of [insert firm] would allow me to gain experience advocating for the specific client populations I hope to assist in my career.

Because of my familiarity with the issues facing smaller businesses and Australia’s market regulation policies, as well as my background in commerce, I would be very happy to work on cases dealing with transactions in remote communities or regional areas. I’d also be delighted at the opportunity to work in any of the other areas on which your office focuses, including mergers and acquisitions for larger organisations.

I have enclosed a resume highlighting my education and work experience. I hope to have the opportunity to interview with you about a summer position, and I will call your office in a few weeks to see if I may schedule a time to speak with you. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

[insert name]

Sample cover letter #2

Applying for a graduate position.

RE: Application for [Position] at [Organisation] 

Dear [Mr/Ms last name of contact person],

I am writing to apply for the graduate program at [organisation name]. I am currently in my penultimate year of an [insert degree and university], having previously completed my undergraduate major in [insert subject]. I have a strong distinction average, which I have achieved while maintaining multiple extracurricular commitments, including being elected by my peers in 2019 to the role of [position] in the [student society/leadership organisation], and working part time.

I am applying to [organisation name] because of its position as the leading law firm in the Asia Pacific Region, and the first and only global legal practice headquartered in Asia. This is reflected in [organisation name]’s success in consistently winning the [award], as well as its prominent role in [litigation/deal/matter].

My interest in commercial litigation was born of my experience participating in both the 2018 and 2019 [moot competition]. Later in 2019 , I conducted research as a summer legal intern in the litigation department at Mallesons, where I also assisted the lead counsel in a pro bono community outreach case. During this time I learnt [provide examples].

In addition to my summer positions, I have taken every opportunity possible to prepare myself for a career in commercial litigation. Through my work on the Commercial Law Journal, I have refined my research and writing skills. My training during an on-campus litigation workshop has helped me to develop the strong legal reasoning skills so critical to litigation, and I am now putting them to use by volunteering at a community legal centre.

I am the ideal candidate for [organisation name] because my achievements and experience exemplify the characteristics it seeks in its lawyers. My role as a [position] at [organisation name] provided me with legal experience in working in-house for a commercial client, allowing me to strengthen my stakeholder management. Furthermore, my attainment of a High Distinction in Advanced Commercial Law reflects my commitment to excellence in this area of practice.

I believe that my legal research and writing skills, my litigation experience and my dedication to [organisation name]’s mission will enable me to make a positive contribution at your firm. Please find enclosed my resumé and a copy of my academic transcript. I will send an email in a few weeks to follow up on my application.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

For our comprehensive and updated guide on how the craft the perfect graduate CV,  check out our latest article here .

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