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You need a Ginsburg-worthy judicial clerkship cover letter. Why? Your resume will show your law degree, but—the judge won’t read it if she doesn’t think you fit. Your cover letter has to prove you can research, draft memoranda, proofread, and assemble documents. Don’t worry. There’s a clear path below.
This guide will show you a judicial clerkship cover letter example and best practices for how to write a cover letter for judicial clerkships step-by-step.
Judicial Clerkship Cover Letter Sample
Graduate, Vermont Law School
4334 Frank Avenue
Springfield, MA 01109
The Honorable Gloria Schuster
Judge, U.S. District Court
District of Springfield, Massachusetts
Roderick J. Ireland Courthouse
50 State St., P.O. Box 2421
Springfield, MA 01102
Dear Judge Schuster,
I’m Charles Cantos, 2019 graduate of Vermont Law School, writing to apply for the 2021–2023 Judicial Clerkship in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a lifelong resident of Springfield with plans to practice here, a clerkship in the Roderick J. Ireland Courthouse would be an ideal step for my career. I’m particularly seeking a position in Springfield District Court, because I plan to specialize in bankruptcy law and you’ve traditionally processed a significant caseload in that area. It’s my hope that my status as a recipient of the Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award and my other achievements below make me an ideal selection.
Your posting for the clerkship states that you’re seeking an applicant with excellent research and writing skills and litigation preparation experience. Here are a few of the areas where I’m a fit:
- Research. As a Bart Gordon Law Fellow I frequently researched legislative history. I also served as an RA drafting memos and court documents.
- Writing. During two summer internships at Gleason & Litman, I wrote 200+ memos, briefs, and motions. I also received the Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award for my article, Reworking the Frangible Urban Weave of Abandoned and Vacant Buildings in the Deep South.
- Litigation. I performed trial preparation at Gleason & Litman for 11 trials, including research and writing in 5 bankruptcy proceedings, 4 criminal trials and 2 civil cases.
I believe my enclosed resume and law school transcript paint a good picture of how I fit your requirements for the clerkship. My application comes recommended to you by The Honorable Judy Mirren, Judge of Attleboro District Court. Her letter is enclosed. Can we set up a time to meet and discuss how I can help promote efficiency and accuracy in your office?
Graduate, Vermont Law School
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That’s a federal-level judicial clerkship industry cover letter example.
Need a resume for judicial clerkship industry cover letters? See our guide: Attorney Resume Samples
If you’re not hunting a judicial clerkship, see these guides:
- Legal Cover Letter Example
- Legal Assistant Cover Letter Example
- Paralegal Cover Letter Example
- Best Cover Letter Samples for All Careers
Judicial Clerkship Cover Letter Template
Here’s how to write a cover letter for a judicial clerkship application:
1. Use the right judicial clerkship cover letter format and layout
- Cover letter outline: 3 paragraphs.
- Cover letter margins: one inch on top, bottom, and sides.
- Cover letter font: Cambria, Ditot, Helvetica, and Calibri are among the most respected.
- Line spacing: 1.15.
Read more: Cover Letter Layout
2. Make a professional judicial clerkship cover letter header
- Start your cover letter with your name, law school, and address.
- Add your email, and phone number.
- Match your cover letter header to your resume.
- Add a double-space, the date, and another double-space.
- Write, “The Honorable” + the judge’s name, title, and address.
Pro Tip: Make certain you address the judge the right way in your judicial clerkship cover letter heading. See this great judicial letter address guide from Boston University.
3. Put the right info in your first paragraph
- Start with “Dear Judge [Last Name],”
- Introduce yourself with your name and law school.
- Mention the judicial clerkship you’re applying for.
- Add the term you’d like (i.e. 2021–2023).
- Give a reason why you’re interested in this geographical area.
- Explain briefly why you want this clerkship in particular.
- Mention your biggest school or legal accomplishment that fits.
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
4. Prove you’re the ideal candidate in paragraph #2
- List the top requirements for the judicial clerkship.
- Add your research, writing, and litigation experience that match.
- Were you a Law Fellow? Did you draft memos or court documents as an RA?
- Did you write briefs or motions as a summer intern?
- Maybe you performed trial prep?
- Add any of the above.
- Make all your details as specific as you can to the clerkship’s needs.
Pro Tip: Connections in law school and good grades add value to your judicial clerkship application. Moot Court and publishing in school law journals help too, according to Duke Law.
6. Offer something to finish your judicial clerkship cover letter
- Mention the other materials in your application (such as your transcript and resume).
- Add the names of any recommenders to your final paragraph.
- Hint at how you’ll improve or assist the Judge’s office during your term.
- Ask for a meeting to discuss next steps.
Make sure to say so if you’ve passed the bar. A bar association membership isn’t necessary to get a judicial clerkship in most cases. But it helps.
Read more: How to Finish a Cover Letter
7. Add a professional sign-off to bottom of the page
- End with your full name, phone number, and email address.
- Add a digital signature to add professionalism.
Don’t wait too long after you apply to the clerkship. Follow-up once a week with a brief email or phone call. Learn more: Job Application Follow-Up Email Templates
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Questions? Concerns? We’re here for you. If you’re still unsure how to write a Sandra Day O’Connor-worthy cover letter for judicial clerkships, drop me a line in the comments.