Cover Letter for Law Firms: Making a Great First Impression
By Adrian Aguilera
The time has come to apply for that coveted position at a reputable law firm. Your resume is up to date but you’re missing one element that can instantly move your application to the front of the pile. Yes, it’s the dreaded cover letter and no, it’s not a waste of time.
According to a survey by OnePoll on behalf of ResumeLab (a job application software company), 83% of surveyed HR professionals say cover letters are important for their hiring decision and that a great cover letter can help you secure an interview—even if your resume is lacking. In this post, we’ll share how you can tailor your cover letter for law firms, so you can stand out from the application crowd—whether you’re fresh from law school or a seasoned pro.
Law Firm Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts
A well-written cover letter demonstrates that you are the right fit for the company you’re interested in. You can do this by showcasing your skills, talents, and personality in a persuasive and grammatically correct manner. When crafting a pristine lawyer cover letter, there are a few do’s and don’ts to follow.
1. A tailored approach
When drafting and submitting a lawyer cover letter, don’t send a generic version for all job applications. Personalize each letter according to the company and position. For example, instead of a standard “Dear hiring manager” salutation, add the name of the hiring person or senior partner. Company websites and LinkedIn are great sources for researching this information. Also, mention the company by name throughout the letter and tailor the content to match the needs of the law firm.
2. Writing that matches the law firm job requirements
Discuss how your work experience (no matter how little) adds value to the law firm. This demonstrates your knowledge of the firm and how you can serve as an asset from day one. Also, quantify your value as much as possible.
Below are two examples. While the first statement isn’t bad, the second is more impressive as it quantifies the work experience. This adjustment will increase your chances of rocketing your resume to the top of the pile.
Statement on new business and client communication experience
“At my last firm, I increased accounts receivable and regularly brought in new business by taking a client-first approach throughout every case. This resulted in a high number of positive Yelp reviews and referrals.”
Statement on new business and client communication experience (with numbers)
“At my last firm, I developed a process for improving accounts receivable while delighting clients. For example, I set up an efficient system for boosting payment collection by 20% through software invoicing, electronic payments, and automated billing reminders. I also used case management software tools for regularly communicating with clients. This increased positive Yelp reviews by 30% per month and boosted client referrals by 20%.
Lastly, include your preferred contact information such as your phone number and email address, so the hiring manager can connect with you should they desire an interview.
3. Error-free, concise writing
Once you’ve drafted your cover letter, don’t immediately hit the send button. You worked hard personalizing a piece that showcases your talents and skills. It’s a shame to let it go to waste due to spelling and grammatical errors. Proofread your law firm cover letter at least twice and send it off to one or two trusted friends or colleagues for additional peer reviews.
1. Cliches and buzzwords
Overused jargon and robotic sentences may result in a yawn, followed by a one-way ticket to the trash bin. Avoid statements such as “enclosed, please find my resume.” Employers know that your resume is included. In addition, adjectives like “team player,” “go-getter” and “detail-oriented” are words that every applicant uses and won’t help you stand out. Instead, describe how you’re each of these buzzwords with clear examples.
2. Lengthy writing
Don’t try to highlight every single skill and experience you have. Write clearly and concisely, and keep the legal cover letter to one page by highlighting only your most relevant experience and skills.
3. A rehash of your resume
A cover letter for law firms shouldn’t mimic your resume. Instead, go into detail on how specific points in your resume add value and relate to the desired position. For instance, if your resume states that you increased client referrals, explain how you accomplished this task with clear details and (if possible) with numbers.
Lawyer Cover Letter Sample
For a full visual (and inspiration) on well-written legal cover letters, check out these lawyer cover letter samples. Each version emphasizes the elements that transform an ordinary canned cover letter into a well-written, tailored, and specific approach.
Cover Letter Follow-Up
Finally, if you don’t hear back from hiring managers within a couple of weeks, send an email or written follow-up. A brief paragraph reminding the hiring manager of your application and cover letter is sufficient. This shows that you are serious about the position and demonstrates organizational skills.
Dear Ms. Henry,
I applied for the attorney position with James & Henry on August 1, 2022, and wanted to reconnect. I noticed that the opening is still advertised and would love to discuss the value I can bring to your team. Attached is my submitted resume and cover letter with specifics on my qualifications.
Look forward to hearing back.
All in all, crafting a cover letter for law firms is still worth the time and effort. By personalizing every version with specific, concise, and error-free details, you might just receive an interview sooner than you think.
Adopt MyCase Once You Get the Job
Once you’ve secured that new position, consider advocating for MyCase legal case management software. MyCase modern case management software tools can improve your firm’s workflow and cash flow from easier legal invoicing, more efficient time tracking, insightful financial reporting, improved legal payment collection, and productivity-boosting automated workflows.
Your firm can try MyCase risk-free with a 10-day free trial. We offer affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions. Plus, there’s no commitment required, and you can cancel anytime.