Cover Letter Advice
The cover letter is a sample of your written work and should be brief (preferably one page), persuasive, well-reasoned, and grammatically perfect.
A good cover letter:
- Tells the employer who you are (e.g., a first-year student at YLS) and what you are seeking (e.g., a summer intern position);
- Shows that you know about the particular employer and the kind of work the employer does (i.e., civil or criminal work, direct client service, "impact" cases, antitrust litigation);
- Demonstrates your writing skills;
- Demonstrates your commitment to the work of that particular employer and converys that you have something to contribute;
- Shows that you and that employer are a good "fit;" and
- Tells the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.
Determine to whom you should address the cover letter. If you are applying to law firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For NALP member firms, use the NALP Directory to obtain contact information. (NALP also provides a useful mail merge feature for generating multiple letters). For other employers, you can refer to their websites, or contact the office to determine to whom your materials should be directed.
Although there are many ways to write a cover letter, the following format has worked well for students in the past.
- In the first paragraph of your cover letter, explain why you are sending your resume to the employer: “I am a first-year student at Yale Law School and am seeking a position with your organization for the summer 20xx.” If you are applying to public interest employers and are eligible for SPIF funding, you can mention that here.
- Use the second paragraph to explain your interest in the employer, including your interest in the employer’s geographic location, reputation, specialty area, or public service.
- In the third paragraph, stress why this employer should hire you. Elaborate on the qualifications that you possess that will make you an exceptional summer intern or attorney.
- The final paragraph should thank the employer for taking the time to review your application and tell them how to reach you. You may wish to state that you will contact the employer in a couple of weeks to follow-up and then actually do so. This is especially true with public interest employers who are often understaffed and will appreciate your extra effort.
Additional CDO Resources
Legal Intern Cover Letter
Legal Interns are law students who want to pursue the practice of law and gain hands-on knowledge. Areas these professionals handle include case management, secretarial work, and research. Examples of Legal Intern duties are: looking for precedents, checking facts for cases, drafting memos, reading about current events, doing paperwork, attending client meetings, taking part to client interviews, handling the correspondence, maintaining filing systems, answering phone calls, and completing other tasks as assigned by attorneys.
Typical cover letter samples for Legal Intern usually focus on the following job skills and qualifications:
- Knowledge of law procedures and terminology
- Being able to follow instructions
- An interest for learning new things
- Attention to details and accuracy
- Research skills
- Time management
- Computer competences
- Stamina and perseverance
- Telephone etiquette
- Communication and interpersonal abilities
The Legal Intern cover letter example below presents relevant skills and experience in the field.
For help with your resume, check out our extensive Legal Intern Resume Samples.
Dear Ms. Williams:
Upon review of your posting for a Legal Intern, I felt compelled to submit my resume for your consideration. With my comprehensive knowledge of legal principles coupled with a fervent commitment to providing exceptional client service, I would significantly benefit your team in this internship role.
From conducting in-depth legal research and preparing case files to analyzing client information and preparing synopses for supervising attorneys, my versatile background has prepared me to excel in a role supporting legal operations. With a solid foundation in the fundamentals of legal strategies, my excellent communication talents, my resourcefulness, and my time management capabilities position me ready to thrive in this challenging field and to broaden my skill set within your firm.
Highlights of my qualifications include the following:
- Pursuing a law degree from Jacksonville University (expected in 2018).
- Possess overarching knowledge of core legal principles while honing my skills in legal research, case management, discovery requests, client interviews, and document preparation.
- Observing and participating in mock client meetings, trials, mediations, and outreach efforts.
- Capable of effectively communicating with district attorneys, judges, police officials, and clients to establish collaborative working relationships.
- Able to leverage superior organizational, analytical, and interpersonal skills to greatly contribute to legal projects and complex cases.
With my previous academic-based experience in the legal field, coupled with my enthusiasm and dedication to achieving success, I believe I could swiftly surpass your expectations for this role. I look forward to discussing the position in further detail. Thank you for your consideration.
Jeffrey M. Peters