If you are looking for a legal position in a firm, it is very important that your cover letter stands out. First impressions are lasting, and your cover letter is your first introduction to your potential employer. It is therefore expected that you put your best foot forward. You should be able to sell your own suitability for your target legal job through your cover letter.
Your cover letter should depict a clear structure with an introduction that leads to a summary of your relevant legal skills and experiences suitable for the job, followed by closing remarks that reiterates your interest in the job.
What to Include in a Legal Cover Letter
Your cover letter should be built on four main paragraphs:
The opening paragraph
This paragraph usually explains the position you are applying for and how you came to know about the job. This could be through a social media platform, a newspaper advert among other sources. Getting the opening paragraph right will increase your chances of getting the job. Do not bore the recruiter on the first paragraph. This can actually make him or her toss away your letter without further considerations. Be brief and concise with your information.
It explains to the job recruiter who you are. This is the most important part of a cover letter as it also indicates your qualifications, skills and experiences. Try as much as possible to be straight forward and to indicate the skills and experiences that can be backed by your resume if required. Enlighten the recruiter on how these qualities can benefit the firm with practical evidence from the resume.
Usually tells why you are specifically attracted to the legal organization or firm. If possible cite recent cases of interest;
‘ I have been following on your project dabbed “justice for all” and the recent legal outcomes from the project have shown me that this is the right platform for me to develop my legal career and become a better person in the society.’
This is a good way of making the job recruiter develop interest in your skills and knowledge and they are therefore likely to invite you for an interview.
This paragraph requires that you mention that you have enclosed any necessary attachment or document as per the job advertisement. Most job ads usually require your C.V or Resume, photocopies of your documents and other attachments. Also indicate that you look forward to hearing from the firm and explain any other issues they might have asked such as salary expectations and so on.
Example of a Legal Cover Letter
Alex Andram(123) 327 345
February 8, 2019
Dear sir/ Madam,
Following the advertisement made in your website, I hereby apply for a position of a legal assistant.
I graduated from Kinsley University School of Law in 2012 with a first-class honor and later from Kinsley Law School in 2015. I have three years’ experience working as a legal assistant with two different law firms and a private advocate as indicated in my resume. I also have special skills in legal psychology, having undergone the training. I am an honest and hardworking person that would add desired value to your organization.
I have followed through your recent legal projects and would highly appreciate a chance to work with your group of highly skilled and experienced legal professionals.
I have attached my resume as instructed and am looking forward to hearing from you. I am open to any questions and would be available for an interview at any time. Thank you in advance.
Things to avoid when writing a legal cover letter
Failure to write a cover letter
One of the mistakes that most people do is failing to include a cover letter when sending their CV. Instead of uploading a cover letter, other applicants may include statements like ‘resume attached’ or worse still, add nothing at all. If you are looking for the job, your cover letter is what entices the employer to read through your resume and other attached documents. For the legal position, it is the cover letter that measures your writing skills. If you do not attach a cover letter, it may indicate to your potential employer that you are not interested in the job enough to take time and summaries your details or you do not have enough skills to qualify for the job.
Failure to follow instructions
The second mistake to avoid when writing a legal cover letter is failing to follow instructions. If for instance the job positing clearly explains that you include some additional documents and your expected salary, it is important to follow this instruction. Sadly enough, most applicants fail to do this. Well, failure to adhere to such instructions may not make a good first impression. It may also portray you as a careless person, or you are not very much interested in the position. You will only stand a higher chance of getting the job if you ensure that all the employer’s instructions are followed.
Generic cover letter
You also should avoid writing a generic cover letter. You should ensure to write the skills you have that qualify you for the job and avoid any irrelevant information. Writing a cover letter in the legal field for instance, requires you to be very precise.
A weak opening
Lastly, avoid writing a cover letter with a weak opening. A weak opening, in the legal field for instance can be something like;
‘I went through your job positing on Craigslist and I have the skills required to offer litigation paralegal services’.
Rather, you should come up with something like;
‘I have worked as a litigation paralegal for a period of five years and have handled all the litigation phrases, helped in more than 10 trials and assisted the legal team recover at least 20 million in settlements.
The latter clearly explains the relevant skills that make you the best candidate for the post, and it will encourage the hiring employee to want to know more about you.
A good cover letter indicates your interest in the job while putting forth your qualifications open to the potential employer. It reflects the job advert and discusses how the application meets each and every requirement outlined in the posting. This means that you should be able to indicate the availability of each and every requirement that is listed. This is the best way to ensure that your cover letter is impeccable.