How to build a compelling lawyer cover letter

Lawyers are an essential member of any functioning legal system, helping to provide their clients with the legal support needed to win a case. To land a position as a lawyer, you need to write a compelling cover letter that convinces employers you are the best fit for the job.

In this guide, we will teach you 5 crucial steps for writing a cover letter as a lawyer. Keep reading to learn all about how to:

  • Create a well-formatted header & headline as a lawyer
  • Tailor your lawyer cover letter for the exact job you are applying to
  • Craft an excellent introduction that hooks employers’ attention
  • Demonstrate your value by describing your skills & accomplishments
  • Conclude your lawyer cover letter with an effective closing statement

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1. Create a well-formatted header & headline as a lawyer

To begin your lawyer cover letter, the first key step to take is to create a well-formatted header and headline. These elements give your letter more visual structure and flow.

First up is your cover letter header, which should include:

  • Your name and professional title
  • Your professional contact information
  • The name of the law firm or organization you are applying to
  • The address of the law firm or organization

Here is an example of a well-formatted lawyer header

Joe King, Business Lawyer
(123) 456-7890 | joeking@email.com | linkedin.com/in/joe-king

To: Pollock Corporate Offices
Legal Department
1234 Street Address
Boston, MA 02108

Directly after your header is your cover letter headline, which should include:

  • A keyword or keyphrase related to the job
  • An eye-catching number or trigger word
  • An appropriate adjective and/or verb
  • A promise to the employer that this letter is written exclusively for them

Here is an example of a well-written lawyer headline, followed by a quick breakdown of its primary components

My 3-Step Approach as a Corporate Lawyer & How It Will Positively Impact Your Business

Trigger Word/Number: 3-Step Approach
Keyword: Corporate Lawyer
Adjective/Verb: Positively Impact
Promise: Your Business

2. Tailor your lawyer cover letter for the exact job you are applying to

Whenever you write a cover letter as a lawyer, it is crucial to tailor that letter for the exact job or position you are applying for.

By tailoring your cover letter, you can help your letter to stand out from your competing applicants’ letters. The tailoring process involves thoroughly researching the company before applying, looking for specific and relevant information that can be referenced throughout your letter.

Additionally, while researching the employer, take note of which staff member is most likely to review applications. You can use this information to include a personalized greeting that addresses that specific person by name.

Here are 3 examples of personalized cover letter greetings

  • Dear Firm Manager John Doe,
  • Dear Mr. John Doe,
  • Dear Legal Manager Jane Smith,

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3. Craft an impactful lawyer cover letter introduction

A cover letter introduction is one of the most powerful elements of the document, as it not only helps to hook an employer’s attention but can often be the defining factor in whether or not an employer continues reading.

To write an excellent introduction that grabs an employer’s attention, make sure to include:

  • A brief overview of your professional history and specializations
  • A statement on why you are enthusiastic about applying to this company
  • A mutual acquaintance (when possible)

Pro Tip: Mutual acquaintances help you to get a foot in the door immediately by providing a trustworthy professional reference. To gain a mutual acquaintance, try connecting with relevant employees of the companies you are most interested in on LinkedIn.

Here is an example of a great introduction from a lawyer’s cover letter

Dear Mr. John Doe,

I am a business lawyer with more than 6 years of specialized experience working with small businesses to protect against tax exploitation. As your firm is also focused on supporting the small business industry, I believe my joining your team would be nothing short of a match made in heaven. My longtime colleague, Ms. Jane Smith, is one of your legal managers and has agreed to serve as a professional reference who can advocate for my skills and qualifications.

4. Showcase your best skills & accomplishments as a lawyer

Your skills and accomplishments have a vital role to play in your cover letter.

Unlike a resume, a cover letter gives you ample space to fully describe and contextualize your skills and accomplishments. As such, you must always strive to describe these qualifications in a way that is highly specific and quantifiable to give the employer the best overview of your professional prowess.

Here are 6 examples of lawyer skills to describe in a cover letter

  • Providing thorough consultations to clients
  • Coordinating communications with legal counsel
  • Drafting and presenting legal documents
  • Collecting and analyzing evidence
  • Interpreting laws and regulations
  • Performing legal research

Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a lawyer’s cover letter

As a constitutional lawyer at [Former Employer], I worked with members of minority communities to bring greater equity and financial fairness to their workplaces. Of the firm’s 200 annual cases, I handled roughly 110 of these directly, with an average win rate of 90%.

5. Conclude your lawyer cover letter with an effective closing statement

The fifth and final step to writing your lawyer cover letter is to finish with an effective closing statement.

Your goal when writing your conclusion should be to encourage the employer to get in contact with you, including key details such as:

  • An enthusiastic sentence saying you are looking forward to hearing from them
  • An additional sentence stating when and how you can best be contacted
  • Information on when and how you plan to follow up
  • A formal sign-off

Here is an example of an effective closing statement from a lawyer’s cover letter

I am eager to get to know your team and apply my expertise for the benefit of your firm and clientele. To best reach me to schedule a meeting, call me at (123) 456-7890 any weekday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I hope to hear from you soon and plan to follow up next Wednesday morning if I have not yet heard back.

Until Then,

[Applicant Name]

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.

Published on Aug. 9, 2022

Julia is a professional writer, translator and graphic designer. She holds degrees in translation and interpretation, and has international work experience from a number of different countries in Europe as well as China and Panama. Julia formerly taught academic writing and as a graphic designer contributed to outlets such as The Business of Business. She has a passion for lifelong learning and good coffee.

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