How to Write a Lawyer Cover Letter (With Template)
Lawyers are professionals who work as legal advocates or advisors for their clients, who can include private individuals, businesses and government institutions. Their duties can include representing clients in court, handling contract negotiations and overseeing legal support staff. If you're interested in working as a lawyer or you're a lawyer seeking a new position, the ability to write a strong cover letter can improve your chances of getting an interview. In this article, we explore steps and tips for writing a lawyer cover letter and provide a template and sample letter that can help you to craft your own.
What is a lawyer cover letter?
A lawyer cover letter is a document that explains your qualifications to a hiring manager. It's typically paired with a resume and other application materials when applying for a job. Cover letters usually expand on details in a resume, like work history and skills, by providing supporting examples.
How to write a lawyer cover letter
Here are six steps you can follow to write a cover letter for a position as a lawyer:
1. Choose the right format
A well-formatted cover letter can appear more professional and be easier to read. Use a traditional font, like Times New Roman or Garamond, in a 10 to 12-point font size. You can also find cover letter templates online or as a standard feature in many word processing applications, which gives you a pre-formatted document to use instead of designing your own.
2. Introduce yourself
In the first paragraph of your cover letter, introduce yourself to the reader. You can start by providing your name or just stating the position for which you're applying. Explain how many years of experience you have in law or, if you're a current law student, your expected graduation date. You can also use this paragraph to explain your interest in the firm or organisation.
3. Mention your education
Although optional in a cover letter, mentioning any degrees you hold can help the hiring manager fully understand your qualifications. It can be an especially good idea if you're new to law and have limited work experience. If you have many years of experience working in law, then you might choose to skip describing your education and instead focus on your work history.
4. Detail your law experience
Providing information on your law experience is a great way to show a hiring manager why you're the right person for the position. Explain how many years of experience you have and mention one to three other firms or organisations you've worked with, including your job title and responsibilities. Focus on experience that matches the job description. For example, if the job description emphasises wanting a lawyer with extensive trial experience, you can write primarily about your experience in that area.
5. Describe your skills
By writing about your professional skills, you can show a hiring manager the value you can bring to the position. When describing your skills, use supporting examples to show how they've made you successful in the past and how they can benefit the firm or organisation offering the position. Here are some skills to consider including:
Written and verbal communication
Attention to detail
Related: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
6. Thank them for their time
In the last paragraph of your cover letter, thank the hiring manager for their time. This can show respect and leave a good final impression on the reader. For a more dynamic last paragraph, add a call to action where you encourage the hiring manager to contact you. Explain that they can reach you by phone, email or both, and express your interest in scheduling an in-person meeting.
Tips for writing an effective cover letter
Here are a few tips that can help you write a strong cover letter:
Research the organisation
Before writing your cover letter, it's a good idea to research the organisation offering the position. This can help you understand the organisation's culture and decide if it's the right fit for you. It can also give you information to include in your cover letter when explaining why you're interested in working with them. Consider browsing their website for information on their mission, values and current team or reading news articles, if available.
Related: Is a Cover Letter Necessary?
When writing about your qualifications or your interest in the job, it's a good idea to use specific details. Write about the exact nature of your law experience, such as having experience in court, working in personal injury litigation or representing corporate clients. You can also use details when explaining why you're applying for the position, which can show the hiring manager that you did your research. For example, you could write about wanting to work with the firm because of its excellent reputation or the kind of cases its lawyers frequently represent.
Hiring managers may read a lot of cover letters during a candidate search, and a strong, concise cover letter can distinguish you from other applicants. It's generally a good idea to restrict cover letters to one page. It can be challenging to fit a lot of information about yourself into one page, but it often makes your cover letter stronger by focusing on the most important details. When deciding what those important details are, read the job description to figure out which skills and qualifications it emphasises.
When writing your cover letter, think about the tone you want to use. It's a good idea for cover letters to always be professional, but some can also be casual, depending on the position. For a lawyer's cover letter, it's likely that a more formal, professional tone is appropriate. You can achieve this by using a traditional cover letter template, which focuses on facts rather than personal anecdotes.
Proofread and edit
Before submitting your application, it's important to proofread your cover letter for any potential mistakes and make edits as needed. A well-written cover letter with no typos or awkward wording can show a hiring manager you pay attention to detail and put effort into your application materials. When proofreading, try reading the cover letter out loud, as this can make it easier to spot mistakes. It's also a good idea to consider asking someone else to read it and provide an outside perspective.
Lawyer cover letter template
Here's a template that you can use when writing your cover letter:
[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City or locality]
Dear Hiring Manager,
[Introduce yourself with the job title you're applying for, the name of the law firm or company and how many years of experience you have in law-related work]. [Express your interest in the position and how it aligns with your career goals or interests].
[Provide your academic qualifications, including relevant certifications and registration]. [Detail your experience in legal work, highlighting that which matches the job description].
[Describe your skills, supporting them with examples or achievements]. [Use facts and data where possible]. [Explain why these skills make you a good fit for the position].
[Thank the reader for their time]. [Provide a call to action with your availability and preferred contact method]. [Restate your interest in the role].
Lawyer cover letter example
Here's an example you can use as a guide when writing your cover letter:
+61 3 9028 4017 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Sydney, Australia
May 15, 2022
Dear Ms. Reston,
I am writing to apply for the lawyer's position at Sword and Shield Law Firm. As a dedicated barrister and solicitor with six years of experience, I believe my knowledge and passion could benefit your firm.
I earned my law degree from Sydney Law in 2015 and have worked steadily in law ever since. Most recently, I spent three years as a lawyer at X and Y Law Firm, focusing on personal injury cases. I pride myself on having excellent negotiation skills, which has often led to settling cases out of court, sparing my clients the stress of a trial. That said, I also have experience in court, often as part of a legal team.
My clients have described me as personable, easy to talk to and trustworthy, and my colleagues describe me as tenacious and detail-oriented. These skills have helped me successfully navigate many cases and secure positive outcomes for my clients. They also help to build relationships with those clients, ensuring that they retain the services of the firm I work for or return in the future.
I appreciate your time and consideration. You can contact me by phone or email if you have questions about my qualifications. I am also available to schedule an in-person meeting to discuss my application. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this position with your team.
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