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Legal Job Resume Cover Letter Sample

Sample Cover Letter for Legal Job Seekers

A good lawyer cover letter is your foot in the door when you're applying for a job with a law firm. It's an invitation to the reader -- the hiring manager or maybe the senior partner -- to move on to your resume. It's your opportunity to convince him that he simply has to meet you and learn more about you.

But too much creativity can be a drawback -- you'll want to exude professionalism and tempered enthusiasm.

Here's a sample legal cover letter to guide you.

Get the Caption Right

Include your full name -- be sure to use the one under which you've been admitted to the bar if you're a lawyer. Give your street address, not a P.O. box, including your city, state and zip code. Include your phone number with a notation as to whether it's a cellphone or landline. Give your email address -- many employers prefer to reach out by email first.

Enter the date below this information, then address who you're sending the letter to the name and address of the law firm and, below that, an "ATTN:" line with the name of the individual within the firm who will read your letter.

The Body of Your Lawyer Cover Letter

Dear [Insert name of hiring manager or partner]:

State the position for which you are applying and explain how you learned of the job opening in your opening paragraph. This is also a good place to mention the name of anyone who referred you or a mutual acquaintance.

Try to craft your opening in a compelling manner that will encourage the reader to read on. Toot your own horn a little. Example: “As an award-winning paralegal with 20 years of personal injury experience, I am writing in response to the position of litigation paralegal advertised in the Main Street Legal Journal.”

Now it's time to explain your skills. Use the next paragraph or two to detail your education and experience. Keep in mind that this is all mentioned in your resume as well -- your letter should be a brief summary of what the reader will learn if he looks at your resume next.

Match your skills to the requirements of the position and highlight any relevant awards and accomplishments. Explain how your background, skills, experience and past achievements make you the perfect candidate for the job. Support your statements with evidence whenever possible. Don't merely assert that you're a skilled writer.

Mention that you won the two legal writing competitions and have published over 100 articles. Don't just say that you contributed to a company’s bottom line. Note that you implemented new software that saved the legal department over a million dollars. Break up dense text with bullets and use short paragraphs to promote readability. Endless lines of text can be off-putting.

Make Sure Your Reader Reads On

Use your closing paragraph to thank the firm for considering your application, then request a meeting or interview. Indicate how and when you will follow up on your cover letter and mention the best way to reach you.

If your physical address isn't your mailing address but you want to receive notification of a potential interview by snail mail, this would be a good place to direct the reader to your P.O. box.

All this effort is for naught if your reader doesn't look at your resume and any other documents you've included. Sign off with "Respectfully yours" or something equally formal, place your signature above your name, then add the all-important "Enclosure(s)" line. List everything you're including with the letter, in order.

Alec Beares
36 George St
Newtown NSW 3333
M: 0400 000 000
E: a.beares@email.com


Andrew Ling
R Turner and Associates

Dear Mr Ling,

RE: Commercial lawyer position

I am writing to apply for the lawyer position as advertised on the Lawyers Weekly website.

I am a lawyer in my second year of practice, having been admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 13 March 2011. I have two years’ experience in the industrial and employment department of Goldman & King, where I developed my evidence-gathering, case-drafting and analytical skills, as well as my knowledge of relevant industrial relations law. This experience has given me the opportunity to work both autonomously on personal injury claims and as part of a collaborative legal team for class actions, from which I have learned a great deal. 

Prior to this I developed a wide range of interpersonal skills through my work as a volunteer paralegal at the Central Community Legal Centre. My work there involved interviewing clients, conducting research and analysis of their claims, drafting legal documents, preparing briefs for counsel, acting as an advocate for clients, providing appropriate referrals and managing a busy caseload with multiple portfolios across new and longstanding clients. One of my strengths is my ability to gain trust and conduct effective settlement negotiations between employers and employees. I communicate easily and confidently with people of all backgrounds, and in all kinds of situations. Building positive relationships both with clients and my associates gives me great satisfaction and I am proud of the integrity with which I operate both individually and as part of a team. I am passionate about industrial relations issues and would look forward to the opportunity to build up a base of long-term clients with an established firm such as R Turner and Associates. 

I believe that the combination of my legal experience and professional approach would make me an ideal candidate for this role. Thank you for your consideration of my application and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[Sign here]

Alec Beares

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