attorney cover letter
Legal Guides

A Comprehensive Guide To Write An Attorney Cover Letter

| October 25, 2023

You’re on the precipice of an exciting journey – landing that attorney position you’ve been dreaming of. But before you stride into the courtroom, you need to craft a compelling attorney cover letter. Think of it as your opening statement in the case of why you’re the right fit for the job. So, grab your legal pad, and let’s draft an attorney cover letter that will make your application stand out.

How To Address An Attorney In A Cover Letter?

Picture this: You’re crafting the perfect cover letter for that attorney position you’ve had your eye on, and you’re left wondering, “How do I address the attorney in the opening?” It’s a common question, but fear not; we’re here to guide you through this process with confidence and professionalism. Let’s dive in.

Opening Address: Begin with “Dear”

To kick things off, you want a courteous and professional opening. Start with “Dear,” followed by their title, “Mr.” or “Ms.,” and their last name. For instance, “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Dear Ms. Johnson.” This is the safest and most common way to address someone when you don’t have an established rapport.

When You Know the Attorney’s Full Name

If you have access to the attorney’s full name, use it. It adds a personal touch. For example, “Dear John Smith” or “Dear Jane Johnson.” This small gesture can make your cover letter feel more individualized.

When You’re Not Sure of the Gender

In some cases, you might come across names that don’t clearly indicate the individual’s gender. If you’re uncertain, you can address them by their full name without the title. For example, “Dear Taylor Johnson.”

Salutations for Partners and Senior Attorneys

When addressing a partner or a senior attorney at the firm, it’s advisable to use “Dear Partner [Last Name]” or “Dear [Title] [Last Name]” as a sign of respect. For instance, “Dear Partner Smith” or “Dear Senior Associate Johnson.”

Consider the Culture and Norms

It’s also a good practice to consider the culture and norms of the firm you’re applying to. Some firms, especially smaller or more casual ones, may prefer a first-name basis. In such cases, you could start with “Dear [First Name].” But this approach should be used cautiously, and only if you’re reasonably certain it’s acceptable.

Avoid “To Whom It May Concern”

While “To Whom It May Concern” is a generic salutation, it’s considered less personal and may suggest that you haven’t done your homework to find out who you’re addressing. It’s best to avoid this option if you can find the attorney’s name.

When in Doubt, Pick Up the Phone

If you’re still uncertain about how to address the attorney properly, don’t hesitate to call the firm’s HR department and ask for guidance. They’ll appreciate your attention to detail and professionalism.

Step Wise Guide To Write An Appropriate Attorney Cover Letter

Landing that attorney job you’ve been dreaming of is no small feat, but a well-crafted cover letter can make all the difference. Think of it as your legal argument for why you’re the perfect fit for the position. In this step-wise guide, we’ll break down the process of writing an attorney cover letter that will stand out from the rest.

Step 1. Introduction: The Opening Statement

The first step in drafting your attorney cover letter is to create a professional yet engaging opening. Address the hiring manager by name if possible, or use a generic but respectful greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Step 2. The ‘Who Am I’ Paragraph: Self-Introduction

In the opening paragraph, introduce yourself briefly. State where you are in your legal career and how you discovered the job opportunity. Keep it concise and focused on why you’re reaching out.

Step 3. Show You’ve Done Your Homework: Research the Firm

Before you delve into your qualifications, show that you’ve done your research on the law firm. In the second paragraph, explain what specifically interests you about the firm. Mention their notable cases, practice areas, or their reputation. This demonstrates that you’re genuinely interested.

The body of your cover letter is where you present the case for why you’re the right candidate. Highlight your skills, experience, and qualifications using specific examples from your legal career. Discuss your ability to research, write, argue, and any successful cases you’ve handled.

Step 5. Your Unique Selling Proposition: What Makes You Stand Out?

Use one paragraph to showcase your unique qualities. Is it your passion for a particular area of law? Pro bono work? Or a unique skill set? Explain what sets you apart from other candidates.

Step 6. Closing Argument: Express Enthusiasm

In your closing paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and your desire to join the firm. Make it clear that you’re looking forward to the opportunity to discuss your qualifications further.

Step 7. The Call to Action: Request for an Interview

Finish strong with a call to action. Politely ask for an interview or a meeting to discuss your qualifications further. Provide your contact information and make it easy for the firm to reach out.

Step 8. The Final Verdict: Close Professionally

End your attorney cover letter with a professional closing like “Sincerely” or “Yours faithfully.” Sign your name in ink if sending a physical copy or provide a digital signature for emailed applications.

Step 9. The Review and Proofreading Phase: Edit Thoroughly

Before submitting your cover letter, carefully review and proofread it. Check for grammatical or spelling errors. It’s also a good idea to have a colleague or friend review it for a fresh perspective.

Step 10. Supporting Documents: Attachments

If you have additional documents, like a resume or references, mention them in your cover letter and attach them to your application.

In Conclusion

Your attorney cover letter is your legal brief to persuade the firm to give you a chance. Craft it carefully, showing your knowledge of the firm, your unique qualities, and your enthusiasm. Make it so compelling that the jury – or, in this case, the hiring manager – has no choice but to call you in for an interview. Good luck!

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nilanjana basu
nilanjana basu

Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.


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