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Example Of Law Student Cover Letter

Dear Mr. Whittington,

I learned of the legal internship program your firm offers to 2L students from the Career Services Center at Berkeley College of Law, and am writing to apply. I am currently in my 2nd year of law school and have maintained an overall grade point average of 3.6, making me a top 10% student in the school.

I am very interested in practicing patent law when I graduate from law school and plan to take the patent bar. My undergraduate degree was in chemistry and that is the area in which I would prefer to focus. I know your firm does significant patent work for pharmaceutical companies and I believe my background in chemistry would lend well to my legal internship with your firm.

I understand your firm prefers only top students apply for the legal internship and I believe I am a good choice. I am attending a top 10 law school and rank in the top 10%. Additionally, I was selected for the law review and am currently a staff editor.

I believe I would be an excellent selection for the legal internship at your firm. I have enclosed my transcripts and resume. Please contact me to schedule an interview.


Joseph Ridenour

Cover Letter Advice

The cover letter is a sample of your written work and should be brief (preferably one page), persuasive, well-reasoned, and grammatically perfect.  

A good cover letter:

  • Tells the employer who you are (e.g., a first-year student at YLS) and what you are seeking (e.g., a summer intern position);
  • Shows that you know about the particular employer and the kind of work the employer does (i.e., civil or criminal work, direct client service, "impact" cases, antitrust litigation); 
  • Demonstrates your writing skills;
  • Demonstrates your commitment to the work of that particular employer and converys that you have something to contribute;
  • Shows that you and that employer are a good "fit;" and
  • Tells the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.

 Determine to whom you should address the cover letter. If you are applying to law firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For NALP member firms, use the NALP Directory to obtain contact information. (NALP also provides a useful mail merge feature for generating multiple letters). For other employers, you can refer to their websites, or contact the office to determine to whom your materials should be directed. 

 Although there are many ways to write a cover letter, the following format has worked well for students in the past.

  • In the first paragraph of your cover letter, explain why you are sending your resume to the employer: “I am a first-year student at Yale Law School and am seeking a position with your organization for the summer 20xx.” If you are applying to public interest employers and are eligible for SPIF funding, you can mention that here.
  • Use the second paragraph to explain your interest in the employer, including your interest in the employer’s geographic location, reputation, specialty area, or public service.
  • In the third paragraph, stress why this employer should hire you. Elaborate on the qualifications that you possess that will make you an exceptional summer intern or attorney.
  • The final paragraph should thank the employer for taking the time to review your application and tell them how to reach you. You may wish to state that you will contact the employer in a couple of weeks to follow-up and then actually do so. This is especially true with public interest employers who are often understaffed and will appreciate your extra effort.

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