The Cover Letter: Distinguishing Yourself in the Legal Field |

The Cover Letter: Distinguishing Yourself in the Legal Field


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The cover letter is one of the most important aspects of your job application. It's often the first impression you'll make on a potential employer, and it can be challenging to know what to include to stand out against all of the other applicants. Here are some tips to help you create an effective legal cover letter that distinguishes you from other applicants.


What Is a Cover Letter?

A lot of people might think that it's just one big, boring document. In reality, though - they're not. You see, when you send out your application in response to an advertisement or job posting on some site like craigslist (or any other website), there will often be more than one form required by employers before even starting the hiring process. So what we call "cover letters" become very important indeed. They let candidates know about their strengths and provide helpful experience while also letting recruiters know who exactly wants them to interview alongside potential hires.

A cover letter is a way for job seekers in any field to introduce themselves and let employers know why they would make good candidates. Sending one can help get your application seen by more people, especially if it has valuable information about professional skills or attributes that might not come across well when posted on an online resume alone.

This article will teach you how best practices go about writing effective ones - such as keeping them short and making sure there's a specific mention of relevant work experience just beneath the surface.

Tips For Effective Cover Letter

In this article, we'll be talking about how you can use a cover letter to get the attention of potential employers. This will increase your chances to land your dream legal job and help present them with more information on what they should know before deciding whether or given any consideration toward hiring an applicant.

It's also worth noting that many companies may use software designed to flag applications for specific keywords. If you don't include them in your cover letter, employers might not consider it when looking through their stacks of resumes. Some employers hire legal recruiters or a hiring partner to narrow down applicants. They help hiring managers create the proper job descriptions and ensure that there will be the right person for their legal jobs.

When you are looking for a particular law firm, the job search is one of the most important things. The process can be done by hiring an employment agency, or you may choose to do it on your own. Using a recruitment agency will help with the legal cover letter writing and then they send out your legal resume to their database of job postings. The goal is for recruiters to find all kinds of openings that match your skillset so you can get a leg up on the competition.

An effective legal cover letter should be personalized to each prospective employer and specific job opening you're applying for. In this way, it will stand out from others among hundreds of applicants at the top law firms in your city or state.

Here are some tips on how best to go about this. This article gives advice on writing a legal cover letter and provides tips for what should be included in the letter to make it effective. The following are the tips for an effective legal cover letter.

1. Use the cover letter to introduce yourself.

Introduce yourself by letting the reader know your name, why you are writing, and what job or company you're applying for. Then, mention your name in the upper left corner of a new page so that it's easy to find later when employers do a quick scan through their stacks of resumes.

Don't start the cover letter by stating, "My name is ____." This makes it seem like you're not confident in your own identity. Instead, say something along the lines of: "I am writing to apply for a position as a legal assistant at XYZ firm that I found on Craigslist," or "I am interested in applying for a legal assistant position with ABC firm." 

2. Address the letter to a specific person.

Address the letter to a specific person, not "Dear Hiring Manager", "Dear Ms" or "Dear Sir" A generic greeting like this shows a lack of effort and consideration. You need to research the hiring manager's name.

If you are not aware of the recipient's gender, it is wise not to include gender identifying language like removing Mr. or Ms. on the salutation.

The cover letter will give you a chance for an interview, so it needs to be good. Keep in mind that more than one person will probably read your application materials, so make sure everything matches up well enough to get you an interview. 

3. State why you are interested in the position and what sets you apart from other applicants.

This is your chance to tell employers why you are interested in the position and differentiate you from other applicants.

Make sure that this section of your cover letter contains specific information about how you can help achieve company goals, using examples if possible.

For an effective legal cover letter, there should be a strong focus on relevant experience or qualifications particular to the legal field. 

4. Keep it brief, but make sure you include all relevant information.

Keep your legal cover letter brief and to the point, but make sure you include all critical information.

This is not a time for rambling about why you think they might like working with you or how much experience you have in law school; it's also not about bragging about what an excellent candidate for this particular position you are.

Don't repeat your resume but do briefly list work experience relevant to the job you're applying for. This should be a paragraph or two at most, and it shouldn't go on forever either. 

5. Include any relevant skills, experience, or other qualities that make you a good fit for the position.

This is where it would be helpful to include your cover letter content in bullet point form just beneath the surface so employers can understand why they should give you an interview once they go through their stacks of resumes. You may use bullet points for this as well.

If there's one thing that you should know about when you write a cover letter, there are no set rules for what to include or how to format it. You have to find the option that works best for your unique situation and experiences as an applicant.

6. Make sure your cover letter is professional and free of typos or errors.

It's important to remember that your cover letter should be professional and free of typos or other errors.

Read through the document one last time before sending it off, making sure there are no typographical mistakes or grammatical errors in it.

After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. So, make yours count by using a professional tone and writing an effective cover letter that will help you distinguish yourself in the legal field.

7. Use formal language for any company-specific jargon in the job posting.

You can use formal language or company-specific jargon in your cover letter but be sure to review the wording, so it doesn't appear to be writing a legal document.

The key here is to find a balance between seeming too casual and being too stiff. That's why many job seekers choose not to write their cover letters because that balance can be challenging to find.

8. Close with a short paragraph summarizing what you hope to gain from working at this company and thanking them for their consideration.

Be sure to thank your employer for considering your application, even if you don't get the job in question. It's still good practice to be polite about everything. The closing paragraph should make a mark on the interview stage of your job application.

End your letter with a final sentence summarizing what you hope to gain from working at this company and thanking them for their time.

9. Sign off using "Sincerely," followed by your name and your contact information.

Always sign off your letter using "Sincerely," followed by your name and contact information. Other informal closing remarks like "Best Regards", "Cheers" or "Take care" are not advised. If you have a personal email address, include this as well so they can get in touch with you if necessary.


Keep in mind that most hiring managers will receive hundreds of applications for one job opening, so make yours stand out from the rest by putting some thought into it.

Being one of the many applicants for a position can be challenging, but you need to make sure that your cover letter stands out from the rest to get noticed and considered for an interview. It's always best to do some research on what this company does or where they are located so that you don't repeat information already on their website or social media pages.

What Not to Include Legal Cover Letters

The key to writing an engaging legal cover letter is staying away from these common mistakes. While it may seem like there are no bad ideas, remember that one could be more offensive than the next - so take some time before starting your draft.

By far, one of the most common mistakes that law firm applicants make is omitting an essential element or including too much irrelevant information in their cover letter. So, make sure you only include what's relevant, stay on point with how your skills will benefit them specifically, and always provide contact info, at least for future correspondence, so they can get back to you if needed.

The following are the things not to include when writing legal cover letters:

1. Don't use a template. Make sure to tailor it specifically to this job posting.

You should never use a template to get your resume. Tailoring it specifically for each job posting will make it more interesting and creative, which in turn increases the chance that you'll be called back for an interview. A generic cover letter will not put you in the running for an interview, let alone land your dream job.

Tailoring it specifically for each job posting will ensure that the content is tailored towards meeting those needs and not just one-size-fits-all advice from general templates.

You can decrease your chances of getting a job by sending out the same cover letter for every single position. You must tailor each one specifically to fit with what specific company needs. Otherwise, they might end up politely telling how unimpressed and frustrated their HR team has been after reading through all those recycled responses from four previous applicants who weren't qualified or experienced enough.

2. Don't summarize your qualifications in the opening paragraph.

You are more than just your qualifications, but don’t let that get in the way of a good story. It’s tempting to summarize everything about yourself at first because it’s common knowledge and can be off-putting if you’re trying to put someone else’s shoes on for them while they read through their cover letters. However, what makes this process easier? The ability to see where people stand without being blindsided by how well-rounded our potential employees may seem from afar.

In your cover letter, don’t summarize all the qualifications that you have. Instead, you can talk about one or two things in detail and then restate them at a higher level as though they were someone else’s words. This will show how knowledgeable and passionate their dream job candidate is without boring people with too many details right off the bat.

3. Don't include irrelevant information like hobbies and interests.

It's important not to overwhelm your potential employer with irrelevant information. For example, mentioning hobbies and interests in this section of the cover letter will only serve as a distraction from what really matters -- skills relevant to their business needs.

You don't need to include your interests in the cover letter. It might be tempting, but it's not necessary and could lead people down an uninteresting path if they read too much into what you write about yourself on there.

4. Avoid using clichés like "I am confident that I can offer you my best" or "It would be an honor to work with you."

A cliché is a tired, overused word. For example: Working hard and being reliable are not exactly traits we need so often at the moment when trying to get hired. The right way around here might be something more creative such as--my skills have made me successful thus far which means there's no doubt about what kind of results they'll bring again if given another chance on this project., which is an excellent way to avoid using clichés.

5. Use simple language instead of jargon when possible.

You should try to use simple language when possible on your cover letter. Avoid jargon and legalese as much as you can. It's not just a more professional approach but also makes all those reading your cover letter easier.

Avoid using overly formal language in your cover letter. Not everyone will be familiar with the words you use if they don't work in your area of law, so it's best to stick with something more general. Might sound stilted if you use jargon. Try to keep it simple so the employer will be able to understand what is being said and what is expected of them in the end.

6. Don't include too much information.

You should never repeat any information that is in your cover letter or resume. Not only will it make reading more difficult for the person responsible for receiving them, but also, they're wasting space with unneeded facts and figures. The primary purpose of a cover letter is to give an idea of what you could offer and why they should consider hiring you, so make sure that the first page focuses on those things only before delving into anything else like qualifications or contact information.

Avoid including irrelevant personal details like the name of a family member, childhood pet, or detailed public interest. While it's tempting to share these details, you can leave them off of your cover letter because they're not necessary for what the law firm is looking for.

7. Do not mention salary expectations in your cover letter unless specifically asked to do so by the hiring manager.

Do not mention salary expectations in your cover letter unless specifically asked to do so by the employer. This way, you can maintain control of what information is given during negotiations without preconceived notions about how much money an employer may be willing to offer as compensation for a position.

If you're asked to include salary expectations in your cover letter, then feel free to do just that. This is an area where it's completely fine to mention a number or range and why you'd be happy with this particular sum of money and how much professional experience you have at the moment. It can also help narrow down what kind of job you're looking for and whether the salary is suitable.

8. Use a professional email address, not an account with personal pictures and videos posted on it.

A professional email address is one of the most critical parts of your cover letter. It shows that you are serious about applying for this position, and it provides a sense of who we should contact if they need more information or assistance on an applicant's behalf.

You should avoid using an email address that is connected to social media or entertainment websites. It can look unprofessional if you're applying for a job and the email you are using is a personal one. In addition, you need to consider the format of your email address. If you end up using a poorly formatted email address, merely reading it will turn a distracted hiring manager to stop wasting time trying to read through your cover letter.

9. Keep it short and sweet.

A well-written cover letter can make or break your resume. Make sure to keep it short and sweet, as the reader’s attention span will often run out before they get through all that is needed for them to see if this person’s qualifications match what they are looking for specifically.

Keep your cover letter reasonably short and only include the essential elements. You want to give enough information so that employers can understand how you will be helpful for this position without adding anything excessive or unnecessary, which includes repeating content from other parts of your application materials. The last thing you want them doing is skimming through yours when there are so many other applicants to choose from.

10. Make sure you spell-check and proofread before sending off your cover letter.

It's always wise to remember that someone will read your cover letter, so make sure you take the time necessary for spelling and grammar mistakes to be caught. Even one of these can make or break your application, as employers are more likely to choose someone with better writing skills over someone who may fit the qualifications but doesn't seem like they will meet expectations once hired on for real.

You may use proofreading tools like Grammarly to help you along the way. Make sure to proofread your cover letter several times and always have a friend or colleague look over it before submitting an application with it attached.

How to Compose a Great Cover Letter

When you write a cover letter, you need to consider a few things such as: your prospective employer, the name of the hiring manager, the job description, the type of law firm, the job title you are applying for, the practice areas that you are interested in, your career goals, etc.

The vast majority typically search for cover letter examples online, but we do not want to end up with this kind of mistake. So instead, you must write a cover letter that will match the particular firm you are applying for.

The best sentence structure should be at least one or two paragraphs. Keep it at a minimum of a single page. Include only small details in the introductory paragraph. You may or may not use bullet points to capture the hiring manager's attention. The first paragraph of the body paragraph can include your personal details, interest, and anything that shows why you are the best candidate for the law firm. You may discuss your practice areas, your public interest, etc. The second paragraph of the body paragraph could include your past experience, professional achievements, and skill set. The final paragraph could consist of names of references, your availability to interview at the firm. The closing paragraph should be humble and professional. It would be best to thank the employer for their time in reviewing your application documents, express that you are looking forward to hearing from them soon, mention when they can expect to hear back from you, then state your details on how to reach you.

One page is enough to get to know you better. A follow up email may be sent to the hiring manager, letting them know that you appreciate their time and interest in your application.

What Makes A Legal Cover Letter Different?

Legal cover letters can be briefer than other types of cover letters, so don't write a novel. There are no complex rules for what should go into a legal cover letter; however, there are a few key points to consider.

A legal cover letter is different from a regular one in the following ways: It must be written with utmost care and attention. It will contain information about your qualifications which will help you get hired for this position. You also need to list any relevant work experience that could help prove why the hiring company should consider selecting them over other applicants.

It has to be professional and tailor-made for the company. So not only does it have better grammar than most people's submissions do - there are also some basic protections in place that will help you avoid getting rejected.

A legal cover letter is a type of document that's used in the law industry. It will have different formatting and text from regular letters. When sent as part of an application package, it can stand out to prospective employers seeking someone qualified for specific positions with their law firm or company.

See Also:

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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