Law is one of the highly prestigious professions in today’s society. Law practitioners will often have to undergo a rigorous recruitment process from beginners to senior counsel whenever applying for a job. Therefore, as a law student, you should always look for the proper techniques and tools to edge your competition. A law student cover letter is one of the most efficient tools of making your case to the recruiter as a capable and suitable candidate. The cover letter highlights your most marketable qualities, qualifications, passion, and motivation to become a lawyer. This article will discuss why a law student cover letter is worth any aspiring lawyer’s time and how to create one professionally.
A law student cover letter is the first impression job applicants make to the recruiters. How well an applicant has presented information and their qualifications can give the recruiters an idea of who the applicant is. The first impression significantly convinces the reader to review the candidate’s resume. Submitting a well-written law student cover letter also signifies professionalism which is highly valued in legal practice.
The letter shows how you are suitable for the position and why you deserve to be selected, other than the fact that you are academically qualified in law. This presents the law student with an opportunity to distinguish themselves from other applicants and portrays their knowledge and experience in the legal sector.
Essential Details to be Included
The essential details that should be mentioned includes:
Highlight your achievements
In the first few sentences, you should highlight any significant accomplishments you’ve made as a law student. Your recipient should not waste time looking for this vital information.
Share what you know about the law firm
You stand a better chance of securing an opportunity in a law firm if you express sentiments that indicate you understand what the company does. For example, highlight any significant cases the firm has handled successfully. In your cover letter, you should inform the recruiting manager why you are a perfect match for the position.
Appreciate the hiring manager
As you come to the close of the letter, you should thank the hiring manager for taking the time to read the letter and for their consideration. Polite words can go a long way in helping you get hired.
Share contact details
Before closing the cover letter, it’s essential to ensure you’ve shared your contact details with the recipient. Ensure you’ve shared adequate information such as email and phone number; in case you’re not reachable via one, they can contact you via the other method.
Practices for Addressing Law Firms
To ensure your cover letter gets to the right person in the organization and maintains the required level of respect when referring to the recipient, below are several things you can implement.
Address the letter accordingly
The letter should be addressed to the right staff member in charge of recruitment in the law firm. More often than not, finding out the recipient’s name will require you to make some inquiries at the head desk or HR. Alternatively, review their website, and hopefully, staff members and their titles will be listed.
Be keen and use appropriate salutations
A law student cover letter is a formal document; therefore, salutations are a massive consideration for recipients. The salutation used should reflect the recipient’s rank, position, and gender. Do not make any assumptions. Consider researching further to determine what you are uncertain of. Traditionally professional salutations are Mr, Ms or Mrs followed by the recipient’s last name.
Always go through the document before submitting
You must verify whether you captured names and positions correctly. Do not assume that names are spelled how you spell them; similarly sounding names can have different spellings. Misspellings can be enough reason for the recipient to dismiss your letter and should therefore be avoided.
Format to Write Law student Cover Letter
A law student cover letter should give the hiring manager, senior partner, or director enough information to assess your competencies and suitability for the position. You can use the steps below to write a professional law student cover letter:
The header is the first item included in the cover letter. The header should entail your personal details, including your and recipient’s name and contact information such as the mailing address. The date and salutation should also be included. The letter should be professionally formatted (in business format).
This format is characterized by:
- One-inch margins aligned to the left on all sides.
- The line spacing should be single or 1.15 spacing.
- All the contents of the header should be aligned to the left.
- Use a professional/formal font such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman.
- Skip a line after the date, your contact details, the recipient’s contact information, salutation, each paragraph, and after the complimentary close.
- The letter should also be saved in PDF format. Avoid saving it as a word document as its format may be disarranged depending on which device the recipient will open it in.
After the salutation/greetings, provide the law student cover letter introduction. The introduction should include the following details:
State the position you are applying for
Make it clear from the get-go which position you are interested in, in the firm. This can be an associate job, internship, summer job, or part-time job. Recruiters always appreciate a direct approach as it signifies respect for their time.
State how you came to know about this job
The introduction also needs to mention how you found out about the job opening. If this was a referral, mention the person who referred you. Common avenues of job ads are company websites, newsletters, referrals, digital adverts on social media, etc.
The next section of the law student cover letter is the body. In this section, you can cite your academic credentials, professional experience, and any other qualifications. The following information should be captured in this section:
Give your educational background
Start by mentioning relevant educational background in law. This may involve citing certifications, coursework, research projects you’ve done in your field of study. Always review the job description and confirm that you qualify the educational requirements, as academic qualifications are typically the first criteria employers consider in legal practice. Also, avoid restating the resume; try to expound on qualifications outlined in the resume. Choose the most relevant qualifications to the domain the firm deals with.
Highlight your skills and experiences
Afterwards, provide any experience you have in law. If you have worked at the firm previously, mention this in the law student cover letter. Tie the experience and skills into a viable persuasive narrative. Avoid mentioning skills that you cannot substantiate. You must use real-life examples to demonstrate your experience and skills. Pick several solid and relevant skills instead of writing down everything you can do.
Examples of skills that employers will be looking for include negotiation, verbal communication skills, organization, interviewing skills, etc. If you are a first-year law student, employers will ordinarily not expect you to have extensive experience and skills. However, you should indicate any of your relevant skills to the potential employer. Also, reviewing the job description can help you determine which skills to include– that can be relevant in completing the job position’s duties and responsibilities.
Explain why you want to work here
Next, give an exhaustive but concise justification of why you are interested in the organization. Try referring to the firm’s vision-mission statements and core values. Mention how your interest in working in the law firm came about, maybe their core values align with yours, or they won a case that caught your attention. Show that the firm is a good fit for you as it aligns with what you want to achieve in your legal career. Include notable personality and enthusiasm for the position and the organization.
Justify how you would be a great asset to the company
The law student cover letter should also show what would make you an asset to the law firm in the long term. For example, you can mention how your skills can be helpful if they contribute to the organization’s vision and mission. Also, reiterate your suitability for the position.
To conclude the law student cover letter, mention any attached documents. This should then be followed by an appreciation message for reviewing your cover letter. Next, provide your phone number or email and let the recipient know you are available for an interview. Afterwards, sign off the law student cover letter using a formal complimentary close like “Respectfully Yours” and sign the document appropriately.
Law Student Cover Letter
The following cover letter template and samples will help you to include essential information in your letter:
[City, state, Zip code]
[City, state, Zip code]
I am a third-year law student at [name of institution]. I’m applying for [position] that was advertised on your website. I’m [one or two strong qualities], and I believe I’m adequately up to the task.
I’m an [mention skills], skills I’ve developed over the years from [examples of experience]. For example, during the summer of [year], I worked as [position] at [firm]. Under the guidance of a senior partner, I developed excellent legal research skills, which I aim to use at [name of organization]. In addition, coming from a greatly multi-lingual community, I’m fluent in [languages]. Therefore, I can step up as a translator, which can broaden your clientele to the respective communities.
I’ve completed [name topics] courses that have prepared me to undertake [name actions] as listed in the job description. I strongly believe in justice for all – a conviction that led to my interest in law. I value [list core values], which are pillars of your organization’s mission.
Because of my capability in [mention skills], I can also take up [activities]. So I believe I’d be a positive addition to your team.
Attached is a copy of my resume and undergraduate transcripts. I look forward to hearing from you. I’m available to interview for the position. Thank you for your time and consideration.
January 10th, 20xx
200 Main Street
Chicago, Il 60606
5555 555 001
Sub: Application for Clerkship
Dear Ms. Bethany Lopez,
I want to apply for your firm’s 20xx- 20xx term internship. I was referred to your organization by Mr. Larry Dawson, a professor at Chicago Law School. I firmly believe I’m the best candidate for the job based on my academic and professional qualifications.
I took up the opportunity as soon as possible because I’ve been an admirer of Crawford & Hill Associates since the highly publicized civil rights case: Peter Miles against the state back in 2018.
I believe I can contribute substantively to the work you do through my experience in litigation and legal research, which I gained from a summer job at BNC Law firm in 2020. In addition, I’m a well-organized individual, a skill I gained from 3 years of being the coordinator of the Debate Club. Finally, my computer skills include MS Office, web conferencing, and cloud filing. Therefore, I can play a vital role in your transition from analogue to digital filing systems as communicated through your monthly newsletter.
I’ve enclosed copies of my resume, law school, undergraduate transcripts, and a recommendation letter from Professor Larry Dawson.
My passion for law is a huge motivator in my career, and I would appreciate the opportunity of making Crawford & Hill Associates part of my journey. Also, I would like to interview for the position if deemed necessary.
October 1, 20XX
Ms. Jane Monroe
Human Resources Manager
Monroe and Associates, LLC
411 Appleway Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 80111
Dear Ms. Monroe,
I’m a current law student at Los Angles State University in my third year of study. I write to request for a summer internship in your law firm. In the past year, I was an intern at Yakob, LLC. My experience and career aspirations are in line with the requirements you had stipulated in the listing.
On-campus, I am the president of the Law student organization and also an active member of the Community Action Club dedicated to fighting gender violence in the local community. We have assisted many locals in overcoming issues related to gender violence and securing legal assistance where necessary.
My past engagements in these two organizations are a clear testimony of my passion for a fair and just society. I believe I will be a useful asset to your law firm. I appreciate what you do to ensure justice for gender violence victims, including the famous Mercy Kelly lawsuit of 2017.
I look forward to sharpening my skills as a future attorney at your firm. Please feel free to contact mevia (912) 434 7777 or email at albertjenk@ anglesuni.edu.
Thank you for your time.
Subject: Summer Holiday internship- Trevor Montey
Dear Ms. Williams
In reference to your posting for a legal intern at your firm, I, with this submit my application for consideration. I have a strong passion for family law and commitment to ensuring all clients get justice. I believe this internship will significantly help in shaping my career in this discipline.
In my past internship, I was actively involved in legal research, analyzing client information, preparing synopses for attorneys, and other support legal operations at Jack and Mark, LLC. This opportunity enabled me to have a solid foundation in legal strategies, communication skills, negotiation skills, resourcefulness, and time management. I believe the challenging environment at your firm will broaden my skill set.
I look forward to a chance to talk over the internship opportunity in detail. You can contact me via (223) 111-7777 or email monteytrevor@ mainstay.com
Do’s and Don’ts
You want to present yourself as a competent law student in the legal profession. The law student cover letter is an opportunity for any law student to showcase their ability to follow the basics of professionalism.
Below are several writing techniques worth considering during the writing process:
The essential points to consider include:
Keep it personal
Personalizing your letter is an effective way of standing out from the crowd. Show some uniqueness by mentioning additional experiences such as community service, connections you may have with members in the law firm, or specific details about the firm such as previous cases or current projects that signify you did your research. Sometimes, there will be applicants with similar academic qualifications and professional experience; highlighting individualism can make all the difference in ensuring you get selected.
Prioritize the positive skills
As much as a law student cover letter should be genuine, focus on the positives whether you are discussing experiences or skills. More so, you should prioritize positive skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Positive skills demonstrate that you will be a good addition to the team if selected and maintain your positive impression on the employer.
Get to the point
A law student cover letter should be objective. It should highlight only what is necessary. This means it does not have to be too long if the relevant information has been outlined. Long cover letters become less persuasive and uninteresting, which means they can easily get dismissed.
Set the right tone
Employers will always consider how you communicate and articulate your points. The letter should use a professional tone that matches that of the firm. This may call for some research on the firm and reviewing their publications and documents.
The law student cover letter should be a genuine representation of your qualifications and suitability for the position. This may require personal language and reference to experiences that would be specific to you. Do not oversell or exaggerate any skills and qualifications.
Always proofread your work and correct any grammatical, spelling errors, and typos accordingly. Error-free cover letters indicate a high level of professionalism. A quality that employers expect to be reflected in your application documents, especially in a legal career where you are expected to be observant and pay attention to details. Take your time to review the letter or ask another person to go through it. Writing the letter a few days earlier than the submission date also helps with leaving enough time for review and editing.
The cover letter scenarios to avoid include:
Do not repeat facts that the employer can lift from the resume. A cover letter is not a narrated resume. It should give the employer a more in-depth look into who the applicant is. Talk about developing your interest in law, unique experiences, and motivation in your career, not how many years or where you took your law degree.
Focusing on what you gain
Avoid focusing on what you intend to gain from the firm. Instead, discuss the potential benefits you can bring to the organization if offered the job. Focus on your value to the employer.
Setting informal tone
The use of an informal tone is a quick way of losing the employer’s interest. Don’t use an informal tone; find a way to restate informally constructed statements professionally.
Recycling the cover letter
Don’t reuse one law student’s cover letter for different jobs. Instead, always craft a new cover letter for each application. It may be time-consuming but worth it. Employers want original cover letters tailored for the specific job and organization.
Don’t overuse adverbs
Avoid overusing adverbs such as fully, quickly, fast, etc., when stating how actions occurred. They may seem unprofessional to the employer lowering the chances of your cover letter being read to the end.
Don’t be too generic
Do not be generic when making salutations or any other statements. Do not address the letter to “To Whom It May Concern.” If you don’t know the name of the recruiter, address it to the head of the department, for example, “hiring manager,” “senior partner,” or “director.”
Job applications in legal practice are typically competitive at every level. A law student cover letter is one tool that law students use as the focal point of their application to ensure they have a competitive edge over their counterparts. The law student cover letter is meant to give the employer insight into how qualified and suitable the law student is for the position they are applying for.
Also, the law cover letter is used to gauge your level of professionalism. Therefore, the letter is your chance to market or sell yourself as an asset to the organization. You should thus aim to write a solid law student cover letter by deliberately addressing the contents discussed in this article.