5 Attorney Cover Letter Samples & Writing Guide in 2024

Stephen Greet
Stephen Greet April 4, 2024
5 Attorney Cover Letter Samples & Writing Guide in 2024

As an attorney with unparalleled writing skills, legal acumen, and a knack for winning justice, your first challenge is to prove your worth. Although your history of victorious cases speaks volumes, securing a job hinges on the strength of your attorney resume and cover letter, highlighting your on-the-job skills and qualifications.

The task of crafting these documents might seem daunting, especially after long days filled with legal research and complex language. However, our resources, including a free cover letter builder, five attorney cover letter examples, and a comprehensive writing guide, are here to simplify the process.

With our assistance, you’ll easily write a cover letter that not only gets you noticed but also establishes a strong precedent for your career moves.


Attorney Cover Letter Example

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Attorney cover letter example

Why this cover letter works

  • Nastasiya uses her experience to demonstrate specific instances she has resolved. She explains not only what she accomplished, such as updating insurance policies for compliance, but also how she accomplished it and what resulted from it.
    • Just as you would for your resume, include metrics in your attorney cover letter. If you drafted a new substantive motion, explain how your efforts created a positive impact for the client or company.
  • The company’s job description includes multiple areas of practice, including appeals, product liability, and employment disputes. Nastasiya includes her experience in two of Reed Mclure’s fields—medical malpractice and insurance litigation.
  • If you don’t have experience in the chosen field, share your transferable skills and your eagerness to transition to a new practice area.

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Lateral Attorney Cover Letter Example

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Lateral attorney cover letter example

Why this cover letter works

  • Consider following a chronological reverse approach while detailing your professional voyage in your lateral attorney cover letter.
    • It’s like riding back in time through your career, starting from your latest, most senior roles and backward to the junior positions. You bet the recruiter will be hooked on an intriguing tale of your progression from rookie phases to the top leagues.

Associate Attorney Cover Letter Example

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Associate attorney cover letter example

Why this cover letter works

  • Noticed how a personal anecdote sticks with you longer than generic facts? How about weaving that goodness right into your associate attorney cover letter’s intro?
    • Just like Jayden recalls his friend’s legal tussle, all thanks to remarkable representation, a powerful personal narrative instantly captures the attention and sets the right tone for the rest of the masterpiece.

Senior Attorney Cover Letter Example

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Senior attorney cover letter example

Why this cover letter works

  • Valente’s cover letter follows a structure, but it’s hard to tell because it flows well. That structure helps shape his argument, so it doesn’t get too in the weeds nor neglect any important information.
    • In your senior attorney cover letter, follow an outline (like the one we’ll provide in a bit) to ensure you’re including the necessary details.
    • Specifically for your body paragraphs, shoot for three objectives: explaining your experience, a specific task or requirement you accomplished, and what resulted from it.   
  • Cover letters work best when they have an overarching theme (or two) that gives them life. This letter focuses on two themes: mentorship and environmental law, both of which reflect the job description’s specific request for “an exceptional teacher and mentor” with “demonstrated commitment to CLC’s core focus areas.”
    • Derive a theme (or multiple) from the organization’s mission or job description to center your cover letter around; then, include details from your experience that relate to that theme.

Trademark Attorney Cover Letter Example

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Trademark attorney cover letter example

Why this cover letter works

  • Stella hits the right balance of personal and professional with a statement about her love of board games that doesn’t go overboard. She also builds her connection to the company by focusing on Hasbro’s commitment to creativity, empathy, and ethics.
    • It’s okay to get a little personal if you can connect it with the job description. Use your experiences and knowledge of the company to discuss a goal, ideal, or passion you both share. 
  • Hasbro’s job description called for someone to “handle trademark proceedings and acquisitions in collaboration with outside counsel and internal team members,” so Stella focuses on her team’s efforts at KPMG.
    • Not every past position you’ve held will perfectly fit this new role, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t transferable skills you can include in your trademark attorney cover letter. 
    • Scour the attorney job ad for general responsibilities instead of strict specifics. Look for keywords like “collaboration,” “develop,” “identify,” and “research;” then incorporate positions where you used those job skills

Need a Matching Resume for Your Attorney Cover Letter?

You can start editing this template immediately, you can choose a template that matches the first two attorney cover letter samples, or you can choose a completely different resume template. They’re all free, and they’re all there to make your life a little easier as you work on securing your next attorney position.

Attorney Resume

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Attorney resume sample

Beat the Competition with Your Best Attorney Cover Letter

Two colleagues collaborating to create attorney cover letter

As an attorney, you know how you can best help your client, but do you know how to advocate for yourself? Your cover letter must present a favorable argument for your qualifications, exhibit knowledge of the company, and relate your skills to the job description’s requirements—all with a professional yet ardent tone.

It’s a lot, but if anyone can effectively present their accomplishments to a tough crowd, it’s you. Write a hard-hitting attorney cover letter with these simple tips.

Tip 1: Due diligence is a must

There’s no point in submitting a generic cover letter. If your cover letter looks like it’s been submitted to multiple organizations, employers will assume you’re not all that interested in the job. 

Moreover, if your cover letter doesn’t speak to their job description, they’ll assume you aren’t a good fit. Instead, hit the books (figuratively) and research the company. Then address their specific needs based on what you find online and in their job description.

If you reveal a strong link between your qualifications and their requirements, employers will be hard-pressed not to consider you.

Tip 2: Detail a couple of major accomplishments

No one likes a broken record, so your attorney cover letter can’t simply repeat your resume. A cover letter’s purpose is to relate your experiences and skills to the company in a way your resume can’t. 

A cover letter also gives you the space to examine specific accomplishments in detail. You may argue that you’ve covered everything in your resume, but we know that’s not the case. Go beyond the basics to explore the motivations behind your achievements and how they reveal your value on the job. Are you exceptionally thorough? Find a task that highlights your attention to detail. Are you a whiz at research? Integrate that detail into a metric about your cases.

Here’s one example that gives you a glimpse into the candidate’s methods and motivations.

As a senior associate with Pincus & Associates, PC, I mentored summer and junior associates throughout their onboarding process. After the initial training period, I realized many mentees were struggling with repeat issues, such as voir dire and preparing witnesses. To combat this, I created video lectures and PowerPoint slides to explain procedures and laws surrounding the issues and gave examples, both good and bad. After two months of video training, the new hires completed double the number of tasks, and their client satisfaction scores rose by 18 percent.

These examples show the candidate’s passion for the job and their relevant experience. Moreover, the candidate demonstrates the value they’ll bring to their next role. 

Tip 3: Nail down a winning tone & persuasive message

You’ve successfully incorporated your research, accomplishments, and personal style into your cover letter, but a cover letter is more than that. Here comes the tricky part: adjusting your message and tone.

The correct message and tone can mean the difference between getting dismissed or getting noticed. Remember, although we’ve compared a cover letter to a trial, your letter shouldn’t sound like a cross-examination. It also shouldn’t come across as flattering, casual, or confusing.

Think of your cover letter as the pre-interview. It’s a way to get your foot in the door and encourage further communication. Nailing the right message and tone isn’t easy, but there is good news: unlike a trial, you can start over. 

Revision plays a huge part in writing cover letters. No one has a perfect first draft, and oftentimes, even the second or third drafts aren’t ideal (ask us how many times we’ve revised our cover letter examples). Luckily, you can keep revising and editing until you have an error-free draft that accurately sums up your experience and fervor for the job. 

If you think your judgment isn’t perfectly sound, you can appeal to a coworker and ask them to suggest edits. Their new perspective is more likely to catch content errors and grammatical faux-pas. 

Think of your cover letter as the pre-interview. It’s a way to get your foot in the door and encourage further communication.

All that’s left is one last round of revision before you save it and send in your application to the attorney job you’ve been eyeing.

How to Format an Attorney Cover Letter

Giant screen with hands putting together an attorney cover letter outline

Building arguments are your strong suit, which will help you immensely when writing your cover letter. But even the most experienced of writers can find themselves paralyzed by the blank page. Use our outline to build a case employers can’t refuse.

Attorney cover letter header and greeting

Your contact info: Don’t leave your future employer wondering how to contact you. Include your email, number, and address (city and state) at the top of your cover letter. Many employers also like to see your LinkedIn profile.

  • Formatting: Don’t include your name in the address, whether in a template or block format. In block format, you’ll only need to include your name in the signature. In a template, your name goes on the letterhead, too.

Date: Adding a date to your cover letter is a professional touch, and it can help both you and the employer keep track of your documents. Just change the date to reflect the actual day you submit your application.

  • Formatting: Write out the full date, e.g. January 3, 2023.

Inside address: Although a virtual cover letter doesn’t need to be sent by post, you should still include the employer’s address, also known as the inside address. Include the hiring manager’s name, their official title, and the company’s physical location.

Some companies are a bit tricky to track down, especially if they have multiple locations. Scouring Facebook, LinkedIn, and the company’s website usually yields favorable results. Also, check the job description—sometimes they specify where or to whom your documents should be sent. If there are multiple locations, use the address of the location in which you’ll work. 

Example

Heather Adams, Firm Administrator
Reed McClure
1215 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1700
Seattle, WA 98161

  • Formatting: Each part of the address should be on a new line. Double-space between the inside address and greeting. 

Greeting: Every word of your cover letter matters, including your greeting (also called the salutation). A poor greeting indicates a lack of etiquette (dangerous in the highly competitive legal field). The good news? A good greeting is pretty easy to get right. Use “dear” and the name of the hiring manager.

Example

Dear Ms. Adams:

  • Formatting: Plenty of letters use a comma in the greeting, but colons are more professional, especially for an attorney.

Attorney cover letter introduction

Introduction: Applying to job after job might get monotonous, but your opener has to sound genuinely excited. Don’t underestimate the power of sincere enthusiasm for the organization and knowledge of its operations. It can also help to include personal details to empathize with the employer. Although, we would urge you not to include intimate details like this:

Example

Your law firm values hard work and dedication, which sums up my career. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a lawyer. I even acted out cases with my stuffed animals! As I grew older, I made sure I received top marks in every class so I could attend Harvard, the law school of my dreams. My commitment was so intense that I never had a relationship that lasted more than 3 months, but it was so worth it.

Although this opener definitely keeps the hiring manager reading, it’s probably because they find your cover letter funny (also known as you don’t stand a chance) instead of compelling. It’s far too personal and has no real relevance to the job. Instead, include details that relate to the company and what you can offer:

Example

The Conservation Law Center’s mission to provide legal assistance to conservation organizations exemplifies my goals as a senior attorney. Throughout my career, I have offered at least 60 hours a year of pro bono work surrounding environmental law. The senior staff attorney position at your law center is a way to combine my passion for conservation, my love of mentorship, and my years of experience to provide assistance where needed most.

Here, Valente explains his background in environmental law and why he wants to work for the company. He leaves no doubt that he wants to work for them specifically, which will make any hiring manager take notice.

Attorney cover letter body

Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should substantiate your claims in the opening paragraph. Your space is limited, so focus on the highlights. Ideally, keep each paragraph focused on one accomplishment like this: 

Example

Later, as a trademark attorney for Classics United Entertainment, I had the opportunity to work with a cross-functional team of designers, actors, producers, directors, and artists to create trademarks for all six departments within the Spears & Things division. For each trademark, I conducted a rigorous trademark clearance search to ensure trademark law compliance and eligibility. Once completing the trademark clearance process, my team and I successfully gave our efforts to developing clearance search procedures for future legal staff, creating a cohesive system across the three CUE divisions.

Although this paragraph isn’t focused on one task, it is focused on one process, and one aspect of that process in particular. Stella explains the overall trademark clearance process but keeps the focus on teamwork with phrases like “work[ing] with a cross-functional team” and “[giving] our efforts.” She effectively shows her legal abilities and her team-building strategy, both of which bode well for future employers.

Attorney cover letter closing

Closing paragraph: Good endings are hard to achieve because they have to leave the recruiters both curious yet satisfied. Scale back and reiterate the big-picture view of your values and qualifications and how they align with what the company/organization needs. End with a call to action that encourages the employer to reach out. Just don’t fall into arrogance like this:

Example

This job requires someone who has years of experience and who values justice. In that case, I am your perfect candidate. In my 10 years of work, I have never lost a case, and I love to argue until everyone knows I’m right. I know I can win the most cases for your company; reach out to me if you want to hire a winner.

Not only is this arrogant, but it’s also unprofessional. Instead, write something that humbly indicates your enthusiasm:

Example

My goal has always been to provide clients with trustworthy, honest service that makes clients feel safe and valued. Reed McClure shares my vision of providing litigation services to improve the lives of both clients and the community. At your convenience, I welcome the chance to further demonstrate how our goals are aligned and how I can personally contribute to Seattle’s civil case resolution.

This close reminds the employer of the candidate’s persona, values, and aligned goals. It’s also clear that a follow-up is desired and anticipated.

  • Formatting: Single-space your paragraphs, but double-space in between paragraphs. 

Signature: Mind your manners and say “thank you” if you haven’t already said it in the closing paragraph. Then, sign off with a professional closer along with your name.

Example

Respectfully,

Valente Ferreira

  • Formatting: If you’re presenting any hard copies of your attorney cover letter, quadruple space to sign your name in blue/black ink. 

Enclosure(s): This is an important piece to include although many cover letters miss it. This section delineates any other documents you’re attaching, which shows employers you’ve done your research regarding their requests and requirements. In addition to your resume, you may need to include documents like your law school transcript, a writing sample, and/or the job application.

Example

Enclosures:
Resume
J.D. transcript
Writing sample
USPTO Law School Clinic Certificate

  • Formatting: Use the singular or plural form of “enclosure” depending on what you’re enclosing. 

Your Dream Attorney Role Awaits…Almost

Yellow envelope carrying acceptance letter for attorney position on its way to deliver message

Your cover letter is finished! Case closed, right? Objection—you still have to perfect your attorney resume. Both resume and cover letter work in tandem to affirm and defend your qualifications, so both must be polished and complete.

But don’t stress—we have you covered. We offer free modern resume templates for you to use, or you can try one of our Word resume templates (there’s one created especially for a lawyer). You can craft a winning resume in no time; in fact, if you like this attorney resume example, you can begin editing it now. 

Senior Attorney Resume

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Senior attorney cover letter example with 5 years of experience

Whether you’re outlining your resume or checking it over a final time, an AI resume generator will help you identify gaps and errors. We’re here for you every step of the way, so you can keep doing what you do best—fighting for justice.


What if I don’t know whom to address my cover letter to?

You know the significance of formalities in the legal profession, so optimizing the greeting is an important step. Carefully review the attorney job description to see if a hiring manager or decision-making partner is listed as a contact person. Additionally, check the law firm’s website or LinkedIn profiles to see if you can find the name of a specific person in charge of hiring. If you still can’t find anything, you can simply lead off with “Dear [Name of Law Firm] hiring staff” or a similar greeting.

What tone should I use in an attorney cover letter?

Legal cover letters should be more formal than other careers. Think about all the formal correspondence you must write up for contracts and legal proceedings. However, you should still review the job description’s tone to determine the level of formality. Some firms do value a more friendly and casual atmosphere, so adjusting your tone in those instances is a good idea.

How should attorneys format a cover letter?

Consider the stylistic choices you’d make when writing up a case brief for a client. Everything should be concise, well-spaced, in an easy-to-read 11-12 point font, and ideally addressed to a specific person. It helps present a professional feel and allows hiring managers to easily identify your top skills in aspects like settlements and tort laws.