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Attorney Cover Letter Samples & Writing Guide

Attorney Cover Letter Samples & Writing Guide

Your procedure and preparation skills are courtroom-ready, and you’re a billing dynamo. But your client management is legendary. Prove it with a job-getting attorney cover letter.

Your attorney cover letter has to make your case like Gloria Allred. If it just goes through the motions, bye-bye Kirkland & Ellis-level job. The problem? You never took a class in cover letter writing. You could come off like Saul Goodman with missteps that put your job search into jeopardy.

 

Deep breath. You’ve got a Certified Professional Resume Writer and career expert on your team. I’ll show you how to write a non-generic cover letter that makes them take their bifocals off to get a better look at you. Mouth open and all. Hint—it’s all in your understanding of the job.

 

This guide will show you:

  • A cover letter sample for attorney jobs better than 9 out of 10 others.
  • How to write a cover letter for attorneys that lands 10x more interviews.
  • Why the right evidence from your past can get you hired.

 

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

 

attorney resume and cover letter set

Attorney Cover Letter for a Resume—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.

 

Thinking about other roles too? See:

 

This attorney cover letter template works like a binding contract:

 

Attorney Cover Letter Sample

 

Your Name

Attorney

Mailing Address

Phone Number

Email Address

 

Date

 

Hiring Manager Name

Title

Firm Name

Mailing Address

 

Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

 

I’m applying to the open Attorney position at [Firm Name] for two reasons. First, I’ve spoken with two of your current employees. After talking to them, I’m astounded by and attracted to your corporate culture. Second, the legal skills and achievements in my resume fit exactly what you outlined in your job description.

 

Currently, I’m an Attorney at Litman, Day, & Phair. The Senior Partner, Donald Walsh, commented recently that my skills in trial preparation, settlement, and especially client management are exemplary. Here are a few achievements as evidence:

  • Trial Preparation: Prepared 37 case files for settlement, trial, and appeal.
  • Settlement: Performed over 100 mediations with a 93% settlement rate.
  • Client Management: Worked with 20+ clients per week, guiding and making recommendations to curb negative behaviors, with 95% satisfaction rate.

 

[Hiring Manager Name], I look forward to speaking with you about how my litigation and client advocacy skills can help with [Firm Name]’s opportunities and challenges for the upcoming year and decade.

 

Best regards,

 

[Your Name], Attorney

[Phone Number]

[Email]

 

A cover letter for attorney jobs like that could get you hired at Jones Day.

 

Writing an entry-level attorney cover letter? Do the same thing, but fill your bullet points with legal school accomplishments.

Send your cover letter with a Skadden-worthy resume. See our guide: Attorney Resume: Sample & Complete Guide

Now, here’s how to write attorney cover letters that work:

 

1. Use the Best Attorney Cover Letter Template

 

You can’t get hired with an attorney cover letter that looks like legal boilerplate. Attorneys write reams of contracts, reports, and correspondences. So—show off your Dentons-style written communication skills with a crisp cover letter layout. Start with the 3-paragraph format to stay clear and readable.

 

Use this template.

 

Sample Attorney Cover Letter—Checklist

 

  • your contact info
  • the firm’s info
  • Dear [Partner or Hiring Manager Name],
  • first paragraph: a compelling introduction
  • second paragraph: how your key skills fit the job
  • third paragraph: your offer
  • best regards and name and title

 

Make your cover letter heading look just like your resume heading. You can add your LinkedIn address, but you don’t need a physical address if it’s far from the firm.

What about line spacing and a handwritten signature? See our guide: Cover Letter Format: A Complete How-To Guide

2. Start Your Attorney Cover Letter Right

 

Let me guess—you don’t read junk mail. Neither does the managing partner. Her eyes will slide off your attorney cover letter unless you make it personal. But how can you do that? By using her name in your introduction. Then make it clear why you’re interested in the firm or the job.

 

See these cover letter examples for attorneys:

 

Attorney Cover Letter Examples [First Paragraph]

 

Right Example

Jim Sanz, Esq.

Attorney

1873 Quiet Valley Lane

Los Angeles, CA 90017

310-502-4608

jimqsanz@gmail.com

 

3/5/20

 

Alice Cummings

Managing Partner

Cummings, Prior & Prior

2348 Sunny Day Driv

Los Angeles, CA 90017

 

Dear Ms. Cummings,

 

I’m applying to the open Attorney position at Cummings, Prior & Prior for two reasons. First, I’ve spoken with two of your current employees—Jane Carrol and Bill Ahmad. Based on their input, I’m astounded by and attracted to your corporate culture. Second, the legal skills and achievements in my resume fit exactly what you outlined in your job description.

 

Case closed.

 

Why does that cover letter for attorney positions win?

 

Because it:

 

  1. Proves you’ve done due diligence on the firm.
  2. Teases that you’ve got the client-wrangling skills to do the job.

 

But this attorney cover letter example gets dismissed:

 

Wrong Example

Dear sir or madam,

 

I’m an attorney skilled in litigation, trial preparation, and legal procedure. I’m a strong client advocate with a knack for achieving settlements in mediations. I specialize in carrying cases from the concept and research phase through trial and appeal.

 

I’m sorry, what?

 

That won’t connect with anyone. Including your best friend.

 

But—how to start a cover letter for an entry-level attorney?

 

Entry-Level Attorney Cover Letter Sample

 

In new attorney cover letters—

 

Begin with legal and research achievements from:

  • Non-attorney jobs
  • Your law degree
  • School projects
  • Pro bono work or freelance work
  • Groups you belong to
  • Volunteering for the bar association or other causes

 

Or start your cover letter for attorney jobs with:

  • Something impressive the firm recently achieved
  • A referral from an attorney or other employee
  • Your passion for legal work

 

See these attorney cover letter examples with no experience:

 

  • As a legal assistant at Locklin & Gates, performing all the research that led to a successful appeal was gratifying.
  • My passion for law started at a young age. Today...
  • I read the article in the ABA Journal about your recent class action settlement. That drew me to your firm because...
  • Miles Stephens suggested I apply. He says my grasp of legal procedure...
  • Graduating with a 3.9 GPA from Whittier was nice. But what I really want to do...
  • My weekly column on trial law in the school paper...
  • Presenting five successful arguments in Moot Court was...

 

Unassailable.

 

Those first sentences for cover letters for attorneys all beat, “I just graduated law school...”

Pro Tip: If you’re writing a lateral attorney cover letter, show how your past successes fit this new line of legal work. It’s called a career change cover letter.

3. Target Your Attorney Cover Letter Middle to the Job

 

You’ve got them listening. Now make them excited for your resume with a targeted middle paragraph for your cover letter for attorney jobs. Build a solid argument for why you fit the firm. You’ll need to do a little research first on their needs. Then use your resume to make your case.

 

Add:

 

  1. Where you are in your career.
  2. Your grasp of the lawyer job requirements.
  3. Proof you can litigate like Alan Dershowitz.

Let’s say you’re applying to a job that wants skills in trial prep, settlement, and client management.

 

See these attorney cover letter examples:

 

Attorney Cover Letter Examples [Middle]

 

Right Example

Currently, I’m an Attorney at Litman, Day, & Phair. The Senior Partner, Donald Walsh, commented recently that my skills in trial preparation, settlement, and especially client management are exemplary. Here are a few achievements as evidence:

  • Trial Preparation: Prepared 37 case files for settlement, trial, and appeal.
  • Settlement: Performed over 100 mediations with a 93% settlement rate.
  • Client Management: Worked with 20+ clients per week, guiding and making recommendations to curb negative behaviors, with 95% satisfaction rate.

 

Outstanding.

 

That shows your legal skills fit perfectly.

 

But—

 

The next of our associate attorney cover letter examples gets a mistrial:

 

Wrong Example

I’m skilled in trial preparation, litigation, client management, and research. I’m a high-level team player who excels at maximizing billable hours and minimizing unbilled work. I’m also a meticulous researcher who believes preparation is the key to success. I have a long history of settling a high number of cases out of court to the satisfaction of all.

 

It all sounds like what the partners want to hear—but where’s the proof? You have to show us why we should believe you. That comes from accomplishments.

Just over half a page is the best length. See our guide: How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? Sample & Guide

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

 

4. End Your Attorney Cover Letter Strong

 

Awkward endings don’t impress. Bring something to the table at the end of your attorney cover letter. To get more interview requests, offer an engaging conversation about the firm’s needs. Get specific by outlining what you’d like to discuss with them and how you’d like to help.

 

See these examples:

 

Cover Letter Examples for Attorney [Ending]

 

Right Example

Ms. Cummings, I look forward to speaking with you about how my litigation and client advocacy skills can help with Cummings, Prior & Prior’s opportunities and challenges for the upcoming year and decade.

 

Best regards,

 

Jim Sanz, Attorney

310-502-4608

jimqsanz@gmail.com

 

That’s in the Leslie Abramson zone.

 

It adds:

 

  1. More legal skills
  2. A promise of an engaging interview discussion

 

But the next of our attorney cover letter samples gets thrown out:

 

Wrong Example

Thank you for your time. My resume is enclosed.

 

You can use the hiring manager’s first name to address a cover letter. If you use the last name, add Mr. or Ms. Don’t use Miss or Mrs.

Make your ending personal to get more calls. See our guide: How to End a Cover Letter [+Examples]

Key Takeaway

 

Here’s how to write an attorney cover letter:

  • Use the right attorney cover letter format. Add your Baker-McKenzie-level skills.
  • Start your cover letter with a showstopping fact.
  • Tell them why you want the job. (Not just “I need money.”) Also, show you understand it.
  • Promise something to end your cover letter for attorney jobs.

 

Not sure how to start your attorney job cover letter? Want to write a cover letter for attorneys that makes the phone ring? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply!

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Tom Gerencer, CPRW
Tom Gerencer, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), is a career expert who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
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