How to craft a professional law clerk cover letter
Law clerks provide critical support to all types of legal professionals, from conducting legal research and drafting legal documents to ensuring all procedural requirements are met. To land your dream job as a law clerk, you need to write a cover letter that impresses employers.
In this guide, we will teach you the 5 key steps to writing a great cover letter as a law clerk. Keep reading to learn all about how to:
- Give your law clerk cover letter an appealing header & headline
- Research the employer to craft a tailored law clerk cover letter
- Write an eye-catching introduction as a law clerk
- Highlight your top skills & accomplishments as a law clerk
- Finish your law clerk cover letter with a strong closing statement
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1. Give your law clerk cover letter an appealing header & headline
Anytime you write a cover letter, the first essential step is to create a header and headline.
These elements give your cover letter structure, as well as help give your letter visual flow and appeal. As such, you should take your time crafting your header and headline to make sure they create an excellent first impression on employers.
Your cover letter header comes first and should include:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information (email address, phone number, etc.)
- The name of the company you are applying to
- The address of the company you are applying to
Here is an example of a well-formatted law clerk header
Mary Smith, Law Clerk
123) 456-7890 | mary firstname.lastname@example.org | linkedin.com/in/mary-smith
To: Davidson & Davidson Law Associates
1234 Street Address
Seattle, WA 98101
Following your header is your cover letter headline, which is a brief yet compelling title statement that should include:
- A relevant keyword or keyphrase
- An attention-grabbing number and/or trigger word
- A strong verb and/or adjective
- A promise statement that ensures the letter is written for a specific employer
Here is an example of a well-written headline from a law clerk’s cover letter followed by a quick breakdown of its components
My Top 3 Skills as a Law Clerk & How I Will Apply Them for the Benefit of Your Firm
Trigger Word/Number: 3 Skills
Keyword: Law Clerk
Adjective/Verb: Top, Apply, Benefit
Promise: Your Firm
2. Research the employer to craft a tailored law clerk cover letter
To make your cover letter stand out from the competition’s, it is crucial to create a highly tailored letter that addresses the specific interests and desires of the employer.
For you to tailor your letter in this way, you must research the employer thoroughly before applying. In your research, look for key details such as what specialized area of law the employer works in or what the employer’s mission statement and values are.
Additionally, search for who at the company is in charge of hiring. Using this information, you can create a personalized greeting that addresses this specific person by name — immediately indicating the level of research you have performed.
Here are 3 examples of personalized cover letter greetings
- Dear Office Manager Mason Fillmore,
- Dear Manager Mason Fillmore,
- Dear Mr. Mason Fillmore,
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3. Write an eye-catching law clerk cover letter introduction
Next up is your introductory paragraph.
In this introduction, your main goal is to keep the employer interested enough that they choose to continue reading. To accomplish this, make sure to include:
- A brief overview of your professional history and specialized experience
- A statement on your enthusiasm towards the company
- A mutual acquaintance (when possible)
Pro Tip: Mutual acquaintances build rapport by offering a trusted professional reference right off the bat. If you need help gaining a mutual acquaintance, try connecting with relevant professionals on LinkedIn and begin expanding your professional network.
Here is an example of an effective introduction on a law clerk cover letter
Dear Office Manager Mason Fillmore,
I am a law clerk with 4+ years working in state-level courthouse settings providing legal support and assistance to civil court judges and attorneys. This opening at your company is the perfect opportunity for me to grow my career while also gaining exposure to federal court proceedings. Judge Judy Brown, my mentor and long-time associate, highly recommended me for this position and plans to send a formal letter of recommendation by Monday afternoon.
4. Highlight your top skills & accomplishments as a law clerk
With the employer’s attention captivated, the rest of your cover letter will be dedicated to diving into the details of your best skills and accomplishments.
When describing a skill or accomplishment, it is essential to ensure the information you include is as relevant, contextual, and quantifiable as possible. Employers want to see a level of specificity that makes it abundantly clear why you are a great fit for the position — thus, you should avoid vagueness at all costs.
Here are 6 great examples of law clerk skills to describe in a cover letter
- Drafting and proofreading legal documents
- Preparing official memos
- Conducting legal research
- Excellent knowledge of court proceedings
- Citation verification
- Exceptional communication with counsel
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a law clerk cover letter
As a law clerk at [Former Employer], I worked closely with the firm’s legal counsel, assisting with internal and external communications. To help improve communication clarity and speed, I implemented a new contact and messaging system that decreased miscommunication rates by more than 30%.
5. Finish your law clerk cover letter with a strong closing statement
The very last step to writing a great law clerk cover letter is to write a strong closing statement that encourages the employer to get in contact with you. 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 plan to follow up
- A formal sign-off
Here is an example of a strong and persuasive closing statement from a law clerk’s cover letter
I am thrilled to be considered for this role and hope to hear from you very soon. The best way to reach me is at (123) 456-7890 Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. I greatly look forward to speaking with you and plan to follow up next Monday if I have not heard back.
If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two.