How to Write a Lawyer Cover Letter (With Example)

Learn how to write an effective lawyer cover letter that highlights your skills and experiences. This guide offers essential tips and an example to help you make a strong first impression on potential employers.

A cover letter is a key part of a lawyer's job application. It's the first thing employers see, so it needs to make a good impression. A well-written cover letter can help you get noticed and land an interview for your dream legal job.

Writing a cover letter for a lawyer position is different from other jobs. You need to show your legal knowledge, writing skills, and ability to argue a case. It's your chance to tell your story and explain why you're the right fit for the job.

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of writing a strong cover letter for a lawyer position. We'll cover what to include, how to structure your letter, and common mistakes to avoid. We'll also provide a sample cover letter to help you get started.

Remember, your cover letter should be short and to the point. Aim for about one page, or 3-4 paragraphs. This is enough space to highlight your best qualities and experiences without overwhelming the reader.

A good lawyer cover letter should grab the employer's attention and make them want to read your resume. It should show that you understand the job requirements and have the skills to excel in the role. By following our tips and using our example as a guide, you'll be able to create a cover letter that helps you stand out from other applicants.

Lawyer Cover Letter Example

Beatrice Elliott
(477) 890-0574
Amanda Burke
Hiring Manager
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Dear Amanda Burke,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Lawyer position at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. As a dedicated legal professional with a passion for excellence, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your esteemed firm's reputation for providing exceptional legal services.

Throughout my career, I have honed my skills in various areas of law, including corporate law, litigation, and regulatory compliance. My experience has equipped me with a keen analytical mind, strong research abilities, and excellent written and oral communication skills. I am particularly drawn to Skadden's global presence and its commitment to handling complex, high-stakes matters for clients across industries.

In my previous roles, I have successfully:

  1. Managed a diverse caseload, consistently meeting tight deadlines while maintaining the highest standards of legal work.
  2. Collaborated effectively with cross-functional teams, including paralegals, expert witnesses, and senior partners, to develop winning legal strategies.
  3. Drafted and reviewed numerous legal documents, including contracts, briefs, and memoranda, ensuring accuracy and clarity in all communications.
  4. Stayed abreast of evolving legal landscapes, particularly in areas relevant to Skadden's practice areas such as mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and international arbitration.

I am impressed by Skadden's commitment to pro bono work and would be eager to contribute to these efforts, aligning with my personal belief in using legal expertise to make a positive impact on society.

My adaptability, strong work ethic, and commitment to client service make me an ideal candidate for your team. I am confident that my skills and enthusiasm would be valuable assets to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my background, skills, and aspirations align with your firm's needs. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Beatrice Elliott

How to Write & Format a Cover Letter Header

The header of your lawyer cover letter sets the tone for your application and provides essential contact information. A professional and well-formatted header ensures your letter makes a strong first impression and allows potential employers to easily reach out to you.

Key Elements of a Cover Letter Header

  1. Your full name
  2. Professional title (e.g., "Attorney at Law")
  3. Phone number
  4. Email address
  5. LinkedIn profile (optional)
  6. City and state of residence

Formatting Tips

  • Use a clear, professional font
  • Align the header to the left or center
  • Include a space between your header and the date

Date and Recipient's Information

After your header, include the current date followed by the recipient's details:

  1. Hiring manager's name and title
  2. Law firm or company name
  3. Address

By crafting a polished and informative header, you demonstrate attention to detail and professionalism, two qualities highly valued in the legal profession. This small but crucial element of your cover letter can help set you apart from other applicants and make a memorable impression on potential employers.

Beatrice Elliott
(477) 890-0574
Amanda Burke
Hiring Manager
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Greeting Your Potential Employer

After crafting a professional header for your lawyer cover letter, the next crucial element is the greeting. This section sets the tone for your letter and demonstrates your attention to detail and professionalism.

Research the Recipient

Always make an effort to address your cover letter to a specific person. Research the law firm or organization to find the name of the hiring manager or the person responsible for reviewing applications. This personal touch shows initiative and genuine interest in the position.

Use a Formal Salutation

When addressing your cover letter, opt for a formal salutation such as "Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]:" or "Dear [Full Name]:". If you're unsure about the recipient's gender or preferred title, using their full name is a safe choice.

When the Recipient is Unknown

If you've exhausted all options and still can't find a specific name, use a general greeting such as "Dear Hiring Manager:" or "Dear Legal Recruitment Team:". Avoid outdated or overly generic greetings like "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam".

Tailor the Greeting

If you're applying to a more conservative law firm, stick with formal greetings. For smaller or more casual firms, you might consider a slightly less formal approach, such as "Hello [Name]," but err on the side of formality if unsure.

Double-Check for Accuracy

Before sending your cover letter, double-check the spelling of the recipient's name and their correct title. A mistake here could create a negative first impression and potentially harm your chances of securing an interview.

Introducing Yourself in a Cover Letter

The introduction of your lawyer cover letter sets the tone for your application and provides a crucial opportunity to capture the reader's attention. This section should be concise yet impactful, highlighting your strongest qualifications and expressing your enthusiasm for the position.

Craft a Strong Opening Statement

Begin with a compelling statement that immediately conveys your value as a candidate. Mention the specific position you're applying for and how you learned about it. If you were referred by someone within the firm, include their name here.

Highlight Your Key Qualifications

Briefly summarize your most relevant qualifications, such as your legal education, bar admissions, or notable achievements. Focus on aspects that directly relate to the job requirements and the firm's practice areas.

Express Your Interest

Demonstrate your knowledge of the firm and explain why you're particularly interested in working there. This shows that you've done your research and are genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Tailor Your Introduction

Customize your introduction for each application by mentioning specific aspects of the firm or position that appeal to you. This personalization helps to establish a connection and shows your commitment to the role.

Keep It Concise

Remember that the introduction is just the beginning of your cover letter. Keep it brief and engaging, aiming to entice the reader to continue to the body of your letter where you'll expand on your qualifications.

Strong Example

Dear Hiring Manager,

As a seasoned litigation attorney with over 8 years of experience in corporate law and a proven track record of successfully negotiating multi-million dollar settlements, I am thrilled to apply for the Senior Associate position at Johnson & Williams LLP. Your firm's reputation for handling complex commercial disputes and commitment to client advocacy aligns perfectly with my professional expertise and passion for the law.

Why is this a strong example?

This introduction is strong for several reasons. First, it immediately highlights the applicant's relevant experience and expertise, specifically mentioning '8 years of experience in corporate law' and success in 'negotiating multi-million dollar settlements.' This demonstrates the candidate's qualifications right from the start. Second, it shows the applicant has researched the firm by mentioning its reputation and focus areas, which indicates genuine interest and preparation. The introduction also connects the applicant's skills to the firm's needs, showing how they would be a good fit. Finally, the tone is confident and enthusiastic without being overly casual, which is appropriate for a legal profession. Overall, this introduction quickly captures attention and encourages the reader to continue reviewing the application.

Weak Example

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to apply for the position of lawyer at your firm. I graduated from law school last year and I am eager to start my career in law. I believe I would be a good fit for your company because I am hardworking and passionate about the law.

Why is this a weak example?

This introduction is weak for several reasons. First, it uses a generic salutation instead of addressing a specific person, which shows a lack of research and personalization. Second, it fails to grab the reader's attention or demonstrate any unique value proposition. The language is vague and cliché, using phrases like 'hardworking' and 'passionate' without providing any concrete examples or achievements. Additionally, it doesn't specify which area of law the applicant is interested in or how their skills align with the firm's needs. The introduction also lacks any mention of the specific firm or why the applicant is interested in working there. Overall, it fails to make a strong first impression and doesn't differentiate the applicant from other candidates.

Writing the Body of Your Cover Letter

The body of your lawyer cover letter is where you can really showcase your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. This section should expand on your most relevant experiences, skills, and achievements that make you an ideal candidate for the law firm or legal organization.

Highlight Relevant Experience

Focus on your most impressive and pertinent legal experiences. Discuss specific cases you've worked on, areas of law you've specialized in, or notable achievements in your legal career. Be sure to tailor this information to the specific requirements of the job you're applying for.

Demonstrate Your Skills

Emphasize the key skills that make you an exceptional lawyer. These might include your research abilities, analytical thinking, negotiation skills, or courtroom experience. Use concrete examples to illustrate how you've applied these skills in real-world situations.

Show Your Knowledge of the Firm

Demonstrate that you've done your research on the firm or organization. Mention specific aspects of their work that interest you or align with your own experience and goals. This shows genuine interest and helps you stand out from other applicants.

Express Your Enthusiasm

Convey your passion for the law and your excitement about the opportunity to join their team. Explain why you're particularly interested in this position and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

Connect Your Background to the Job

Draw clear connections between your background and the requirements of the position. Show how your unique combination of skills and experiences makes you the ideal candidate to meet the firm's needs and contribute to their success.

Strong Example

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Associate Attorney position at Smith & Johnson Law Firm. With my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and three years of experience at a top-tier corporate law firm, I am confident in my ability to contribute significantly to your team.

During my time at Davis & Clark LLP, I have honed my skills in contract negotiation, regulatory compliance, and corporate litigation. I successfully managed a caseload of over 50 high-stakes commercial disputes, achieving favorable outcomes for 90% of our clients. My experience in drafting and reviewing complex legal documents, coupled with my ability to distill intricate legal concepts for diverse audiences, aligns perfectly with the requirements outlined in your job posting.

I am particularly drawn to Smith & Johnson's reputation for innovative legal solutions and commitment to client service. Your recent work on the landmark case of Tech Innovations v. Global Systems showcases the firm's forward-thinking approach, which resonates with my own professional philosophy. I am eager to bring my analytical skills, attention to detail, and passion for the law to contribute to your firm's continued success.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my experiences and skills can benefit Smith & Johnson Law Firm.

Why is this a strong example?

This is a strong example of a cover letter body for a lawyer position because it effectively addresses several key elements. First, it clearly states the applicant's qualifications, including their education from a prestigious law school and relevant work experience. The letter then provides specific examples of the candidate's achievements, such as managing a large caseload and achieving a high success rate for clients. This demonstrates the applicant's competence and track record. The content also shows that the candidate has researched the firm by mentioning a specific case, which indicates genuine interest and initiative. Finally, the letter connects the applicant's skills and experiences directly to the needs of the firm, showing how they can add value. The tone is professional yet enthusiastic, striking a good balance for a legal position.

Weak Example

I am writing to apply for the Lawyer position at your firm. I graduated from law school last year and I think I would be a good fit for your company. I have always wanted to be a lawyer and I am excited to start my career. I am a hard worker and I learn quickly. I am good at research and writing, which I think are important skills for a lawyer. I hope you will consider me for this position.

Why is this a weak example?

This is a weak example of a Cover Letter Body for a Lawyer position for several reasons. First, it lacks specificity and fails to highlight any unique qualifications or experiences. The content is generic and could apply to almost any entry-level position. Second, it doesn't demonstrate knowledge of the firm or the specific role, missing an opportunity to show genuine interest and fit. Third, the language is informal and lacks the professional tone expected in legal correspondence. Finally, it fails to provide concrete examples of skills or achievements that would make the candidate stand out. A strong cover letter should showcase relevant legal experience, specific accomplishments, and a clear understanding of how the candidate's skills align with the firm's needs.

How to Close Your Cover Letter

The closing of your lawyer cover letter is your final opportunity to make a lasting impression and prompt action from the reader. This section should confidently wrap up your letter while expressing your interest in the position and gratitude for the reader's time.

Reiterate Your Interest

Briefly restate your enthusiasm for the role and the firm. This reinforces your motivation and dedication.

Call to Action

Express your desire for an interview or further discussion about the position. Be proactive but respectful in your approach.

Thank the Reader

Always express gratitude for the reader's time and consideration. This demonstrates professionalism and courtesy.

Professional Sign-Off

Use a formal closing such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards," followed by your full name. If submitting a hard copy, leave space for your handwritten signature above your typed name.

Contact Information

Include your phone number and email address for easy follow-up, even if this information is on your resume.

By crafting a strong closing, you leave the hiring manager with a positive final impression and clear next steps, increasing your chances of securing an interview.

Strong Example

Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to [Law Firm Name]'s exceptional reputation in corporate law and look forward to discussing how my experience and passion for legal excellence align with your firm's goals. I am available at your convenience for an interview and can be reached at [phone number] or [email address]. I appreciate your time and consideration, and I look forward to the possibility of joining your esteemed team.

Why is this a strong example?

This is a strong cover letter closing for several reasons. First, it expresses gratitude for the reader's consideration, showing professionalism and courtesy. It then demonstrates enthusiasm for the specific firm and role, mentioning the firm's reputation in corporate law. This shows that the candidate has done their research and is genuinely interested in the position. The closing also confidently suggests an interview, providing multiple contact methods, which makes it easy for the employer to reach out. Finally, it reiterates appreciation for the reader's time and expresses a forward-looking statement about joining the team, ending on a positive and ambitious note. The language is formal yet engaging, which is appropriate for a legal profession.

Weak Example

Thanks for your time. I hope to hear from you soon about this job. I really need it!

Sincerely, John Doe

Why is this a weak example?

This is a weak cover letter closing for several reasons. First, it lacks professionalism and appears desperate with phrases like 'I really need it!' This desperation can be off-putting to potential employers. Second, it fails to reiterate interest in the specific position or firm, missing an opportunity to leave a strong final impression. Third, the closing lacks confidence and doesn't call for any action from the employer. Finally, the tone is too casual for a legal profession application, which typically requires a more formal approach. A strong closing should reaffirm the applicant's qualifications, express enthusiasm for the position, and politely request an interview or further discussion.

Cover Letter FAQs for Lawyer


What is the ideal format and length for a lawyer cover letter?


A lawyer cover letter should typically be one page long, consisting of 3-4 concise paragraphs. Use a professional business letter format with your contact information at the top, followed by the date and the recipient's details. The body should include an opening paragraph, 1-2 paragraphs highlighting your qualifications, and a closing paragraph. Use a formal closing and leave space for your signature.


What key elements should I include in my lawyer cover letter?


Your lawyer cover letter should include: 1) A strong opening statement that grabs attention, 2) Specific examples of your legal skills and experiences, 3) Relevant educational background and bar admissions, 4) Knowledge of the firm or organization you're applying to, 5) How your skills align with the job requirements, and 6) A clear call-to-action requesting an interview or further discussion.


How can I make my lawyer cover letter stand out from other applicants?


To make your cover letter stand out, tailor it specifically to the job and firm you're applying to. Highlight unique experiences or skills that set you apart, such as specialized legal knowledge, notable case wins, or relevant publications. Use strong, active language and quantify your achievements where possible. Show your personality while maintaining a professional tone, and demonstrate your research into the firm's values and recent work.


Should I mention my law school grades or class rank in my cover letter?


Generally, it's best to mention law school grades or class rank only if they are exceptional or specifically requested. If you graduated with honors or were in the top 10% of your class, you might briefly mention this. Otherwise, focus on your practical skills, internships, clinics, and any relevant work experience. Your academic transcript will provide detailed grade information if required.


How should I address salary expectations in a lawyer cover letter?


It's generally not advisable to discuss salary expectations in your cover letter unless specifically requested by the employer. If the job posting asks for salary requirements, you can briefly address it in the final paragraph. Provide a range based on your research of typical salaries for similar positions in that location and your experience level. Alternatively, state that you're open to discussing compensation during the interview process.