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Legal Cover Letter Do's And Don'ts

Nov 22, 2007
Legal cover letters require the writer to present a strong case. There are many do's and don'ts to consider when you draft your legal cover letter. Knowing what is acceptable and what is not makes all the difference. A successful legal cover letter should be undeniable evidence that you are the ideal candidate for the position.

Do deliver a stunning opening statement with an enthusiastic, upbeat tone and your reader will have no objections. Potential employers are looking for bright, positive employees and appreciate a good attitude. The first paragraph is where you should hook the reader into reading more. Let them know something you know about their company or firm. Stay away from free cover letter samples with dull, drab formats. Merely filling in your details indicates that you lack ambition and are only looking to find a job - not that you have a passion for what you do and a strong sense of why you want to do it for the company in question. Legal departments and firms are looking for more than just an employee. They are looking for a valuable addition to their staff.

Don't neglect to do your own research. Address your cover letter to a specific person at the hiring firm or company. "To Whom It May Concern" is not good enough for a professional legal cover letter. Neither is "Dear Sir or Madame." Contact the company and confirm the name and spelling of the hiring partner or manager. Check the company's website for more in-depth information. Learn as much as you can to prove that you are self-motivated and able to take on the responsibilities of the task at hand.

Do pay attention to the details. Typos, misspelled words and other errors are a categorical no-no in relation to the legal profession. Go over your cover letter with the same scrutiny you would use to check a legal document. The cover letter is the most important part of your submission package. Remember, spell check is not enough. The default program misses too many errors that can only be caught upon thorough re-examination. One mistake can throw you out of court without the first chance for an appeal.

Don't overlook the mechanics. Even choice of font and font size is significant. Stick with a size twelve font. Smaller fonts are difficult to read. Large fonts look amateurish and lack the appropriate seriousness. A lot of text in a small font is discouraging to a reader who is strapped for time. Use a common font like Arial or Times New Roman and use it throughout the cover letter, resume and on the envelope. This should help give your package a neat, clean edge and a uniform appearance. Invest in quality white bonded paper and envelopes. Print all parts of your application package on matching paper. Coordinating these aspects of the cover letter is just as essential as the content of the letter itself.

Do present more than just circumstantial evidence. Include a few tidbits of information on the cover letter that are not mentioned in the resume. Be prepared to elaborate at the interview or on the phone if the hiring manager asks. Be specific in describing your credentials, relating them directly to the specialty of the company or firm. Connect yourself to the job by presenting a clear motive for wanting and providing hard evidence that you deserve it. Express your thanks to the hiring manager with a measure of gratitude for taking the time to consider you for the position. When you consider that most legal professionals are extremely busy with court and motions and research and clients, you can appreciate that their time is just as valuable as your own.

Legal cover letters are a bit more stringent than other types of cover letters. The cover letter for the legal professional is every bit as important as the other legal documents they produce. Take the extra time and make the extra effort to make a motion in your own favor. Approach the hiring partner with the same confidence and enthusiasm you need to approach the bench. When the final verdict is in, you can bet that you will be the first to know.
About the Author
Mario Churchill is a freelance author and has written over 200 articles on various subjects. For more information on legal cover letter checkout his recommended websites.
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