A legal assistant cover letter is a document you send to law firms or companies that need a legal assistant. It explains why they should hire you and what experience, qualifications, and skills you have to offer. Being your first introduction to the hiring manager/employer, you need to create a good impression by showing how you’re the most suitable contender for the position rather than simply stating. Your cover letter should align with the functions of a legal assistant, including compiling legal documents and managing general filing tasks of an office.
Additionally, a legal assistant cover letter fills the gaps in your resume and creates an opportunity to expound on your qualifications through experiences. Therefore, you should aim to market yourself through the document. It just might be your ticket to securing an interview. This article will highlight how to write a captivating legal assistant cover letter as a beginner or significantly experienced candidate.
A legal assistant cover letter is a formal document accompanying a resume and should thus be formatted as follows:
- First, the legal assistant’s cover letter should have a professional font style. This can be any conventional style, such as Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica. The font size should range between 10.5 and 12 points (11 or 12 being most preferred).
- Also, the letter’s contents should have a half or one-inch (preferred) margin on all sides. Additionally, the document should have a 1.15 spacing.
- You should leave spaces (one blank line) between the following sections of the cover letter – the date, employer’s details, salutation, each body paragraph, sign-off, your signature, and name.
- The total word count of the letter should come between 240-400 words and consequently no more than 1 page.
- While saving the document, you should name it appropriately – [job title, i.e., legal assistant] cover letter. [file format]. Cover letters can be saved as PDF or Word documents (.docx).
This type of formatting ensures your cover letter is professional and increases the visibility of your letter to applicant tracking systems, thus increasing the chances of your letter being reviewed.
Essential Skills of a Legal Assistant
Legal assistants help with administrative tasks in law firms, so they must be able to perform a wide range of general administrative tasks. These include creating, editing, and distributing documents. Legal Assistants also create documents such as court notices, summonses, subpoenas, and court orders. You can demonstrate your capability to perform these functions by highlighting your skills (technical and soft) in the legal assistant cover letter. Examples of such skills are discussed below.
The technical skills include:
- Legal terminology
- Litigation support such as creating presentations
- Skills in creating and editing documents, for example, through Microsoft Office
- Document management software
- Digital contract software
- Customer relationship management – (CRM) software
- Knowledge of legal software
- Project management software such as Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft project
- Accounting software such as tax software
- Information retrieval, for example, skills in Law Manager
Soft skills required for a legal assistant position include:
- Communication skills (written and verbal)
- Time management skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Organizational skills
- Critical thinking
- People skills
- Critical thinking
Writing a Legal Assistant Cover Letter
A legal assistant cover letter should be written exhibiting a high level of professionalism. The information you present in the cover letter should demonstrate your competency, experience, and qualifications. You can follow the guide below to complete the writing process.
The letter’s header should include your name, address, city, zip code, and the address of the employer, recipient’s name, and designation. A date should also be provided as a matter of record. The legal assistant cover letter should then be addressed to a person in charge of hiring or contact if you are unsure to avoid confusion on which employer you are referring to. This can be done by supplying a salutation or greetings. Formal greetings will be formatted as “Mr/Mrs/Ms [employer’s name]. However, writing “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Sir/Madam” is acceptable if you don’t know their name.
The header can be structured as shown below in the example:
123 Elementary Avenue
Tall City, ID 0376
May 20, 20xx
Adore & Shah Associates
53rd Green Bay street
San Fransisco, MI 3047
Dear Mr. Fletcher,
The introductory statement will introduce you and state why you write the letter. The following aspects in the introduction of the legal assistant cover letter should be covered:
Introduce yourself and the job you are applying for
Start the paragraph by introducing who you are and which rank you are applying for. HR and hiring managers come across multiple cover letters, and thus, providing such information makes their work less stressful. It also lowers the chances of your legal assistant cover letter being thrown away due to ambiguity.
Show your interest in the position by stating that you are thrilled to have been hired. Explain why you would like to work at their law firm or corporation.
State most signifying accomplishment
You should also include your most significant achievements or accomplishments that match the position you are seeking.
The introduction can be structured as follows:
I am [name] writing to express my interest in the legal assistant position with your firm. I worked at [company name] and worked closely with the attorneys to create legal documents and organize information. My experience in this position enabled me to understand the responsibilities of a legal assistant. I believe that these experiences indeed make me a good fit for this job, as you can see from my attached resume.
The letter’s main body should give a more detailed overview of your qualifications and suitability for the legal assistant position. It should justify why you are a suitable person for the job.
The main body discusses the following:
Explain why you are a perfect candidate
It would be best to start by providing why you are most qualified to take up the job. You can do so by discussing the benefits you bring to the organization, referring to your experience, and academic qualification, highlighting any relevant accomplishments, etc. There are no boundaries for how you can portray yourself as the best candidate. Also, provide tangible evidence such as numbers to show your contribution to the position. Again, the goal is to stand out from your peers.
Highlight your skills
The second paragraph of the main body talks about your education, skills, and ability to perform the tasks listed on the job posting. Avoid listing the skills but rather attach examples and experiences where you utilized the skills to perform your duties as a legal assistant or in any other situation. You should select the most relevant skills for the position and the law firm or organization.
Express why you want this job
Once again, it would be best if you let them know why it is that you want to work for this organization. This should not be a very long paragraph as it can be overwhelming. You can also present your goals, plans, and interest in the company and your career.
Call to action
The last part of the main body is the call to action. It is meant to let the employer know that you want to work with them after sending the legal assistant cover letter. You should also explain what you will be doing next to follow up or move forward. You can do it by asking for an interview or asking what you have to do next in your process of being hired as a legal assistant, and this will give the prospective employer an idea of what to expect and when.
I am familiar with the firm’s practices and policies. I have been assisting in preparing documents for all types of cases and preparing letters and contracts to be sent out to employees, clients, and vendors. I have had the opportunity to sit in on meetings with clients, giving me a better understanding of a client’s needs, what they should expect from legal representation, and how I can best manage their legal issues. As a result, I’m competent in CRP management software. I was directly engaged in preparing documents in over 1000 cases in less than 12 months of my first term as a legal assistant at Kumari associates.
I have strong organizational skills and am capable of MS office and Excel, which are essential in managing office files. This knowledge will benefit your law firm and me as I transition into this position.
I am interested in working with Carpenters & Caterers because I desire to develop and advance my career further. I have formerly been employed as an associate at a law firm in New York City, and I am excited to expand my knowledge and experience through this position.
If you have any inquiries or would like to arrange an interview at your convenience, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to talking about how I can contribute to your law firm and would be honoured to meet with you in person at your convenience.
Closing/ Sign Off
This is the last section of the legal assistant cover letter. It closes off your letter and can be considered a reminder of who you are. You should sign off with an appreciation message, complimentary close, and name followed by a signature (for physical letters).
You can close the letter as follows:
Thank you for being considerate, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Legal Assistant Cover Letter
Here’s sample letter you can use to write your letter:
1634 West Main St,
March 4, 20xx
Mr. Alexander Brown
Human Resource Department
ABC Law Firm & Corporate Services Ltd.
The Business Center, 8th floor.
Paul Ali Ave.
New York City, NY 10007.
Dear Mr/Ms. Brown
I’m writing this cover letter to express my interest in the Legal Assistant position with ABC Law Firm & Corporate Services Ltd, scheduled to open up at the end of March 20xx. I currently work as a legal assistant at the law firm of Peter & Sons, LLC, located in Anywhere, Pennsylvania. My greatest strengths or qualities are my organizational skills and attention to detail, which I use daily in my current position.
Besides these skills, I also have excellent written and verbal communication abilities due to my previous experience as a court reporter for the New York County Supreme Court. In addition, I worked as a legal secretary for Connor & Associates in Philadelphia for several years. My experience with my current employer has given me an essential understanding of the legal field and the responsibilities of a legal assistant. Moreover, I have demonstrated my abilities to fulfill these duties, as I have been acting as a legal assistant in this position since November 20xx. My experience as a court reporter and secretary gave me advanced knowledge of legal terminology and specific knowledge of the law, which would be helpful to ABC Law Firm & Corporate Services Ltd.
This knowledge and experience make me a good fit for this position, and I am confident that I can be an essential part of your team. Therefore, I am currently available to start immediately upon your hiring decision. Kindly feel free to make contact if you have any questions or would like to arrange an interview at your convenience.
Do’s and Don’ts
Your objective should be to craft a document that markets you to an employer. Here are some valuable points to consider when writing your legal assistant cover letter:
Emphasize attention to detail
The main point of a legal assistant is to take care of the legal documents, which require attention to detail. This quality should thus be demonstrated through your letter. Therefore, show efficiency, reliability, and attention to detail by writing a well-structured, comprehensive, and precise cover letter.
Cater your letter to the position you are applying for
There is no need to write a legal assistant cover letter similar to all other letters. Instead, tailor it for your target job vacancy, i.e., if you are applying for a corporate law firm, write a corporate legal assistant cover letter; if you are applying for private practice, then write an individual employment law assistant cover letter.
Research the company
Research the company and find out what the law firm or corporation is like, its reputation, and the issues it deals with. You must pay special attention to how the organization is run, its decisions, and what kinds of employees are employed there. This will help you write a cover letter for the legal assistant position that mentions these points effectively. Employers will always be impressed by your investigation skills if this is demonstrated in your letter, and it also displays your interest in the position.
You should proofread your legal assistant’s cover letter word by word and ensure that there are no grammatical errors as they can lead to confusion and could lead you to be dismissed right away. Thus, make sure your letter has no errors or mistakes in any way.
Don’t restate the resume
A cover letter informs the employer of your value other than what is already mentioned in the resume for the legal assistant position. Therefore, you are not required to reiterate all the paragraphs or information provided in your resume. You can, however, use it for reference as a part of your cover letter.
Don’t be generic
Your cover letter should be unique to the position you are applying for. If you are already sending the same cover letter to several different employers, it is time to change.
Do not focus on what the job can do for you
Focus on what you will add to the organization’s culture and growth. Don’t just state that the organization can provide you with a job. Employers are looking for assets, not liabilities, and you can only demonstrate your value by showing what you can offer.
Highlighting your red flags
While you should be highlighting your strengths, you should never highlight any weakness or flaw in your cover letter for the legal assistant position. Think twice before putting anything negative down in writing.
The legal assistant cover letter should be your main point of contact with your potential employer. It should clearly explain why you would be a good fit for the position and how you believe you can contribute to the growth of the business. Therefore, make sure that it is comprehensive and well-written. You should always follow the job application guidelines.
If the employer has requested that cover letters not be sent, you don’t have to send one. However, suppose the employer hasn’t stated anything about it. In that case, it’s always advisable to send the cover letter as it might be the document that sets you apart from your competitors.