Legal professionals that are considering a career move may find it hard to navigate the job market. A strong cover letter is crucial for any law career since it persuades employers that you are a fantastic recruit. For it to be successful, it should be one page long and:
- Showcase your knowledge of the law firm and wider legal sector
- Present your key skills, experiences and characteristics, without simply repeating your CV
- explain why you aspire to work for the organisation.
Cover Letter Format
Part#1: Introduction To Your Cover Letter
Introduce yourself, and explain the stage you are at in your degree course (including the university you’re attending), the country you are from and where you read about the law firm. This section should be a sentence or two.
Part#2: A Paragraph On Why You Want To Work At The Law
The second paragraph should cover why you wish to be a solicitor and why you want to work for this particular law firm. Cover any prior experience you have had that convinced you for this position like vacation days, or insight days.
Clearly write about why you want to work in the particular area of law that the firm focuses on. For instance, if it is a commercial firm, you should draw on any work experience you’ve had at other commercial firms. Show off your research about the firm by elaborating your interest in their main legal practice areas. Avoid saying ‘I am interested in shipping law’, for example, but provide evidence of that interest.
Part#3: A Paragraphing Focusing On Why You’re A Good Fit For The Firm
Next, you will pitch yourself to the recruiter. Make it clear that you are suited for the career you want. Highlight achievements that show you have the requirements the firm has asked for. If the firm has not mentioned what it is looking for, below are the skills most legal recruiters want from applicants:
- Good communication skills for lawyers, particularly with clients.
- People skills
- Commercial awareness, also known as commercial sense
- Stamina, energy and resilience
- Tenacity is an important quality for lawyers
- An entrepreneurial instinct
- Attention to detail
- The ability to work in a team and lead one as well
- Motivation and intellectual ability
And, rather than just saying ‘I have good communication skills’ – mention an achievement that hinged on your use of those skills.
Part#4: The Ending To Your Cover Letter
Close your CV by referring the recruiter to your CV or application and stating your availability for interview(s) or assessment centre(s).
What To Leave Out Of Your Legal CV
When writing a legal CV, don’t:
- leave any unexplained gaps in your career history
- add too much detail
- include personal details like your age, gender, marital status etc. because they are irrelevant details and legal recruiters don’t like to see them included
- use overly outlandish formatting
- use pictures or tables
- write a bland profile or objective sections