How to write an eye-catching attorney cover letter
Attorneys serve a critical role in our judicial system by working directly with clients in both civil and criminal cases. As the job of an attorney can be highly varied and demanding, to earn a position as an attorney you need a well-written cover letter that showcases your best professional attributes.
In this guide, we will teach you how to write an eye-catching cover letter as an attorney and what key details you should include. Keep reading to learn all about:
- How to craft a visually appealing cover letter header & headline
- Why you need to tailor the content of your cover letter as an attorney
- What to say in your attorney cover letter introduction
- Ways to highlight your skills & accomplishments to impress employers
- How to conclude your attorney cover letter persuasively
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1. How to craft a visually appealing attorney cover letter header & headline
Starting at the very top of your attorney cover letter, the first element to create is a cover letter header. This header not only provides the employer with all of your identifying and contact information but also helps to give the letter visual appeal and structure.
In your header, you should include:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information
- The name & department of the law firm or organization you are applying to
- The address of the law firm or legal organization
Here is an example of a well-formatted header on an attorney’s cover letter
John Doe, Attorney
(123) 456-7890 | email@example.com | linkedin.com/in/john-doe
To: Central Pheonix Law Associates
1234 Street Address
Phoenix, AZ 85001
Directly after your header comes your cover letter headline, a brief title statement used for introducing the main ideas of your cover letter and hooking the attention of the employer.
To write a strong headline as an attorney, make sure to include:
- A keyword or phrase related to the job (attorney, law, legal, etc.)
- An attention-grabbing number or trigger word (3 skills, 4-step approach, etc.)
- A complimentary adjective or verb (best, benefit, etc.)
- A promise statement that indicates to the employer the letter is specifically for them
Here is an example of a well-written attorney headline, followed by a brief breakdown of its main parts
My 3 Major Successes as an Attorney & How I Can Achieve Them at Your Law Firm
Trigger Word/Number: 3 Successes
Adjective/Verb: Major, Achieve
Promise: Your Law Firm
2. How to successfully tailor the content of your attorney cover letter
While it can be tempting to write a generic cover letter that you can use again and again for different job applications, this type of generalized approach is not the most impressive to employers.
To truly hook an employer’s attention and write a memorable cover letter, you need to tailor the content of your letter for the exact job you are applying to. This will require you to perform thorough research on the company before applying, searching for information you can reference in your letter such as:
- The organization’s area of legal specialization
- Well-known clients or associations of the organization
- Who at the organization is responsible for hiring and reviewing applications
Using this last piece of info, you can create a personalized greeting that addresses this specific person by name. In doing so, you showcase that you have taken the time to tailor the letter and ensure their interest is piqued right from the beginning.
Here are 3 examples of personalized cover letter greetings
- Dear Head Attorney Mack Henson,
- Dear Mr. Mack Henson,
- Dear Hiring Manager Jane Smith,
3. What to say in your attorney cover letter introduction
Now that you have the beginning elements in place, you can finally begin writing the actual body text of your cover letter — starting with your introduction.
To craft a powerful introduction that keeps the employer interested and wanting to know more, you will need to include:
- A brief overview of your professional history and specialized expertise
- A statement on why you are enthusiastic about applying to this company
- A mutual acquaintance (when possible) — naming a mutual acquaintance helps you make an immediate positive impression on employers by providing a trusted professional reference.
Here is an example to help demonstrate how to write an attorney cover letter introduction
Dear Head Attorney Mack Henson,
I am a defense attorney with more than 8 years of experience working in criminal justice and defense, specifically in cases involving drug possession and distribution. As a dedicated social advocate, I was impressed by your firm’s commitment to ensuring each client receives a fair and balanced trial. My former graduate professor, Dr. Grant Percy, works closely with your law firm on university-related cases and strongly recommended I consider applying for this opening.
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4. How to highlight your skills & accomplishments to impress employers
After you have introduced yourself effectively in your introduction, your next major step is to provide concise yet detailed descriptions of your most relevant skills and accomplishments as an attorney.
As you describe these qualifications, make sure to write details that are:
- Specific: Avoid vagueness at all times when writing a cover letter as an attorney. Any skills or accomplishments you include should have a description that specifies why this qualification is important and how you can apply them in this new position.
- Contextual: When describing skills especially, make sure you include the proper context needed to make the information highly valuable to employers. For instance, don’t just say you have great collaboration skills; instead, describe an instance in which you had to use these skills and how they benefited both you and your professional associates.
- Quantifiable: Whenever possible, include information that has quantifiable numbers or data. This will help to show an employer exactly what you have to offer and the real-life, proven value you can bring to their company.
Here are 6 examples of attorney skills to describe in a cover letter
- Collecting and presenting evidence
- Developing legal arguments
- Practicing total client confidentiality
- Knowledge of court conduct and proceedings
- Providing legal counseling to clients
- Writing contracts, legal drafts, and other legal documents
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in an attorney cover letter
As a prosecuting attorney at [Former Employer], I worked with local law enforcement to help shut down and prosecute 3 separate drug smuggling operations, leading to the removal of more than $3 million worth of illegal contraband from the streets.
5. How to conclude your attorney cover letter persuasively
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of your cover letter!
To end on a strong note, you should aim to write a persuasive conclusion that encourages the employer to get in contact with you in a timely manner.
This conclusion should include:
- An enthusiastic sentence saying you are looking forward to hearing from them
- When and how you can best be contacted
- When and how you intend to follow up
- A formal sign-off
Here is an example of a persuasive closing statement from an attorney’s cover letter
I am thrilled to be considered for this position and look forward to getting to know your legal team better. To best reach me to schedule a meeting or interview, call me at (123) 456-7890 any weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. As I am eager to speak with you directly, I will follow up via email next Tuesday if I have not yet heard back.