How to write a law firm cover letter

Letter writing is an art; however, so often, it is an overlooked skill. Get it right and you land the best contracts or jobs. Get it wrong and you will find yourself sending out application after application without any return. Fundamentally, this means that when you write a law firm cover letter, it is essential that it is the best possible letter that you can produce.

At this point, you may be thinking that surely it is just a cover letter and your examination results and experience are more important. Wrong. Essentially, your cover letter is a sales pitch. If we use the theatrical business as a metaphor for your cover letter, it is your first audition. That is how important it is. Cruel as it may sound, if you don’t impress within the first few paragraphs of your letter, your application will land straight in the rubbish bin. The reason for this is that places are highly competitive and the person sifting through the mountain of letters has lots of other work to do, so basically, they are looking for gold. Make sure that you offer it.

 

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  • Do keep your cover letter to one page only. If write a six-page letter, it will be assumed that you are not aware of what is relevant and this is super important in a law career. The reader will also presume that you aren’t capable of brevity either.
  • Don’t imply that you’d rather be an actor or a musician but your parents insisted that you get a regular profession. Even if this is the truth, in your letter the law is the only choice for you. it is what makes you want to get up in the morning.
  • Don’t simply repeat all the information that is on your curriculum vitae. The person reading your application will not appreciate going over the same information twice. As a future lawyer, you will be expected to build a picture of a case without repetition. Your cover letter needs to demonstrate these skills so you should offer different information in the letter than that of your c.v.
  • Don’t do the first draft and decide it will be suitable. Draft, draft and draft again. When you have done that ask other people with both law and business experience to read it and give you feedback.
  • After the content has been redrafted until it is slick and logical, check on both the spelling and grammar. You may not think that such things matter because you are an A student but unfortunately the reader will assume that you cannot pay close attention to detail. In law, that is an essential requirement.

Remember that the person reading your letter knows absolutely nothing about you and may have read a hundred other cover letters that day. This means that you need to be organised and concise.

  • Introduce yourself.
  • State which university you attend.
  • Inform the reader which course you are doing and at which stage you are at with it.
  • Explain that the reason you are writing the letter is that you are applying for a training contract or a vacation scheme.
  • Disclose where you read about their law firm and the position on offer.

It may be tempting to add more but it is not necessary. The person sifting through the cover letters will appreciate the fact that you have clearly stated the facts and kept to the point. The easier you make their job, the more likely they are to smile on your application with favour.

It is amazing how many people apply to companies and yet they know hardly anything about them. Don’t fall into that trap. If you see an opening within a company and you decide to send in an application, make sure you do your homework on the company first. Companies love applicants that are enthusiastic about them and their services or products. In the same way, they quickly become disillusioned with an applicant that is applying to anyone. One of the quickest ways to make sure you are not chosen is to demonstrate disinterest in the law firm you are applying to.

In this paragraph of your letter, you need to explain why you want to become a solicitor. It is essential that you are enthusiastic. Saying that you couldn’t think of anything else to do is a definite passion killer on the part of the recruiter. Without going into hyperbole, you have to get the message over that you think the law is exciting. You can develop this theme if you can mention any relevant experiences that you have had that have inspired you. For instance, you could discuss a past vacation scheme you had been on or any open days that you may have been to.

Furthermore, you will impress them if you mention the fact that the law which they practise is particularly interesting to you. In other words, if you are applying to a firm that specialises in compensation, that is what you really want to succeed at. If you have had any past experience working at other firms explain about this too.

It will also help to mention the firm’s training structure as this will demonstrate your interest because you have obviously done your homework on them. Basically, it helps to intimate that you approve of how they work. For instance, if they have compulsory seats, indicate this is what you are interested in. However, if they do not operate in this manner, you should explain that you prefer a less defined training structure.

Before you write the next paragraph, you need to re-read the advertisement for the training contract. The reason for this is that the company may have suggested that you need particular skills to be able to apply for the position. If this is the case, you need to start at the beginning of the list and work your way through it highlighting how competent you are. For instance, one of the main skills required by law firms is the ability to communicate effectively with clients. Briefly discuss your skills and add any experience that you may have had. If the position does not have a list of requirements, talk about your communication skill set, your commercial awareness and how you can focus on specific detail. All of these skills are highly valued in law.

Keep your last paragraph brief. Ask the recruiter to refer to your curriculum vitae or your application. Let them know that you will be available for an interview too. Incidentally, if you have a gap in your c.v. or your examination results are not what they should be because of circumstances beyond your control, you should explain this in the letter too.

If you still feel unsure about how to go about writing a cover letter, it is a good idea to read as many possible examples as you can find before you begin on your own. There is a very useful exercise that you can do to help you. Pretend that you are a recruiter and as you read through each letter you should appraise them.

  • Look for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Look for letters that simply reproduce the writer’s curriculum vitae.
  • Do any of the letters bring in purely irrelevant details?
  • Can you spot the letters that have been written as a cover letter for a whole array of different jobs? Unfortunately, some people think that they can write one bland cover letter and use it to apply for a hundred different positions. Recruiters can easily spot this and the application will get crossed off the list. If the applicant is not interested enough in the firm to write a specific letter to them, why should the firm be interested in them?
  • Do any of the letters have long, convoluted sentences that you have to read twice to understand?
  • Are any of the letters concise and to the point?
  • Do any of them stand out because the voice is alive and interesting?
  • Are you impressed with any of the letters?

Reading through lots of sample letters and doing this exercise is unbelievably valuable. The reason for this is that as you look for the different points, you are training yourself to notice what is bad cover letter writing and what is good cover letter writing. Also, imagine if you can see what is wrong with the badly written letters, you can imagine how quickly a seasoned recruiter will sift through them and discard the ones that do not impress her or him. Hopefully, this exercise will demonstrate how important writing an excellent cover letter is and how to do it.

Writing cover letters is not easy; in fact, it is a skill that takes a lot of practise. However, the more you put into it, the better you will become. It really is a worthwhile skill to master. However, if you have to provide a law firm cover letter for an application you are interested in and you feel that you don’t have the time to get your letter writing skills up to the standard that you would like, you do not need to worry. We offer a whole range of writing services that includes writing cover letters. We also provide essay writing, proof reading, editing and dissertation writing so why not contact us and find out what we can do for you.

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