A Winning Legal Assistant Cover Letter

Legal jobs offer two distinct advantages. First, the demand for it is independent of a country's economic situation. People will still need attorneys for a divorce, insurance claims, legal documents, etc.

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Second, it prepares you for law school if you decide to pursue a legal career. Otherwise, the acquired discipline will help you adapt to a corporate work environment of other industries.

So if you want to become a Legal Assistant, go for it!

But first, let’s start by drafting a legal assistant cover letter and top-notch resume.

You may always use a cover letter template and refer to legal assistant cover letter examples, but it’s always best to know how to write them from scratch.

Here is a legal assistant cover letter sample.

Michael Robb
(123)-456-7890
michaelrobb@gmail.com

September 28, 2021

Rhoda Tucker
Head, HR
Littler
Sta. Clara, California

Dear Ms.Tucker,

I am delighted to see your job posting for a Legal Assistant role and would love to apply for the position. I have reviewed the qualifications for the role, and I am confident that I would be a good addition to Littler.

I completed my Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from Evergreen Valley College two months ago. Before that, I interned with McDermott Will & Emery, where I introduced a system that reduced delays in client billing by 12%.

During my internship, I mastered iManage Work and NetDocuments software that allowed me to organize several hundreds of legal papers. I also used Zoho Invoice software, so the initial improvements I have made on the firm’s billing system have gone up further. The combined improvement in documents and billing management increased the law firm’s efficiency by 18%. My contribution, along with my above-average customer satisfaction rating, earned me a management evaluation of 95%.

Although I will always be grateful to McDermott Will & Emery for the internship opportunity it gave me, I also look forward to pursuing my interest in labor and employment, and I see no better way than to join Littler, a consistently top-ranking law firm in those fields because of its expertise and the care it gives to its clients.

Please review my attached resume for more details on my qualifications. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the position further and answer questions you may have on my skills and abilities.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Michael Robb

When scouring through hundreds of application letters, hiring managers would most likely get drawn to one with a pleasant “look and feel.”

How do you make your cover letter stand out?

Use a 1-inch margin across all sides. Since we don’t want a second page, you may reduce the margin up to a half-inch on all sides.

But before you do that, review if you can shorten some of the content to make it fit on one page. Typically, a legal assistant cover letter should be between 250 to 400 words only.

Use single space, but add a space in between sections and paragraphs to avoid a cluttered look.

Apply fonts read by applicant tracking systems, such as Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, or Verdana, and sized between 10 to 12 points. It increases your chances of being hired.

Note: Readability is essential when drafting your cover letter.

Write an Effective Header

The header in your cover letter should contain your contact information and must be consistent with the details found in your resume. It should contain your:

  • Full name
  • Position Title (optional)
  • Phone number
  • E-Mail Address
  • Relevant social media profile or personal website
  • Date
  • Name of addressee and official position title
  • Name of the organization you would like to join
Tips: The header is the first thing the recruiter will notice. Observe the following to impress them.
  • Make sure it looks sleek and should not eat up the space for your “pitch.”
  • Do not include your home address in the header unless it is critical to the job.
  • Use a formal e-mail address.

Examples

Here is a sample header format which may be found in some legal assistant cover letter examples.

Timothy Moore timothy.moore@mail.com ????
Legal Assistant (890)- 123-4567
To: linkedin/in/timothy.moore

Ms. Kathy Bridges
HR Supervisor
Mayer Brown

Here is another sample format that is used in some cover letter templates.

Jason West
Legal Assistant

jasonwest@gmail.com (456)-789-1230 linkedin/in/jason.west

To:
Larry Mayers
Head, Legal Department
Stanford Investments, Inc.

You may put your contact details directly below your name, similar to the cover letter example shown above, but it will take up a lot of space which you can use for the body of your cover letter.

Greeting

This one-line may seem like kid stuff to you, but remember that every detail counts when you want to impress your prospective employer.

Address your letter to the hiring manager. Research to find out their name if it is not given in the job ad. You may look it up on LinkedIn or in the Team section (or Management) of the company’s website.

What if you really can’t get a hold of their name?

Do Not: Use trite greetings that make it seem like you are sending the same letter to several other prospective employers.
  • “Dear Sir or Madam”
  • “To Whom It May Concern”
Instead, you may use “Dear Hiring Manager.”

If you have the name of the addressee, the next question would probably be, “Should I address them by the first name or by their formal name?”

For example, should I greet them as Annie or Ms.Mills?

Some cover letter examples suggest using Annie. But unless you know what type of personality Annie Mills has, it’s probably best to stick to the formal “Dear Ms. Mills.”

Besides avoiding any impression of unwanted familiarity, you can also create an image of professionalism.

Elegant and Professional Introduction

The introduction is your opening paragraph. You would like the employer to read your cover letter to the end, and the best way to do that is to get them hooked with your introduction.

Follow these guidelines when drafting your perfect introduction.

  • Use an enthusiastic tone.

Convey your eagerness to land the job with the prospective employer without buttering up to them, in one line or two, stating why you intend to join the organization.

  • Highlight your biggest accomplishment

Showcase your most impressive achievement and be sure to quantify it. If it cannot be expressed in numbers, describe the result of your contribution.

Follow it up with a statement about how you would like to bring the same value to the position you are applying for.

  • Mention in the opening if someone referred you to the job.

A referral from someone connected to the employer is a great way to open a cover letter.

A brief mention of how you and the referrer know each other would be enough. Do not overplay it.

A word of caution: Do not be too eager to name-drop a connection. Establish first how the referrer and the employer knew each other.

  • State your credo that comes close to one of the company’s values.

Research on the firm’s set of values and pick one that resonates with you the most. Personalize the statement and open your cover letter with it.

Reminders:

Avoid motherhood statements like, “I am impressed by the company’s value for innovative minds and spirit.”

Be more specific. You may probably cite one innovation that the organization is credited for. You may then write, “I would love to be a part of your innovative culture as shown by how you implemented the first-of-its-kind X system, widening the reach of affordable and reliable legal services.”

Correct Examples

Take a look at the introduction below. The format and the tone are similar to what you’ll see in cover letter examples.

CORRECT EXAMPLE
I have been a Legal Assistant for Mayer Brown, where I made significant contributions to the increase in the number of their clients by 12%, and I will be thrilled to help your company maintain its standing as the top international trade law firm.

Notice how the applicant quantified their contribution without sounding smug about it. The applicant also showed they did their homework by mentioning what the firm does and its standing in its field.

You can also sense the conviction that they are the best fit for the role.

What about this example?

CORRECT EXAMPLE
I have been an advocate of finding better ways of doing things. The recent innovations of the RST Law Office, such as alternative fee arrangements and client portals to securely access information pertinent to their case, have greatly impressed me. I am excited to join your team and see where our passion for innovation will take us.

This example combines two key elements of a good cover letter: your personal belief aligns with the firm’s thrust for innovation and the proof that you have done your homework before applying.

As a bonus, you feel the excitement of the applicant about the job.

Incorrect Examples

What is wrong with this example?

INCORRECT EXAMPLE
I have seen your advertisement for a Legal Assistant, and I believe that my recent experience with Mayer Brown for a similar position has prepared me well for your requirement. If you refer to my achievements below, you will find that I am more than qualified for the job.

You will never see this used in cover letter examples. This example is devoid of enthusiasm! So why would a human resources staff continue to read the rest of the letter?

And this one?

INCORRECT EXAMPLE
I am most interested in applying as a Legal Assistant because I believe I’ve got what it takes to become one. I also share your values of integrity, teamwork, innovation, and passion for excellence, which makes me a perfect fit for your requirement.

That’s another intro you won’t read in a legal assistant cover letter example. If I were the employer, my reaction would be, “So, what does it take to become a Legal Assistant and what do you have that will qualify you for it?” The values were enumerated as if they were copied straight from the posters that line the company’s walls. Not interesting at all.

The next two paragraphs should be able to showcase your capabilities essential to the job requirements. You may excel in customer service, but if the job is seeking someone good at software and database, your customer service expertise won’t count—highlight why you are ideal for the role.

If your hook in the opening paragraph does not mention why you intend to join their organization, this is the part to do so. Make it clear to the human resources manager that hiring you would be mutually advantageous to both of you.

Some guidelines for writing the main body of your cover letter:

  • Use keywords.

Always refer to the job posting. Based on the job requirements, select your experience, competency, and any other qualification that best matches what is in the advert.

  • No copy-pasting, please.

Do not repeat whatever is in your CV. Your cover letter serves as a teaser for your resume, highlighting those credentials you did not mention in your CV.

If there isn’t much to showcase because you have had no work experience, think of your volunteer experience, participation in school extra-curricular activities, hobbies, or any other area of your life in which you acquired competencies relevant to being a legal assistant, e.g., organizing skills.

  • Quantify your achievements.

It is never enough to claim excellence in what you do or have proficiency in a particular talent. But putting a value to these is more convincing than beautifully threaded words.

  • Use powerful verbs

Do not just write, “I fixed the legal department’s filing system.” Be more descriptive and say, “I designed and implemented a more organized filing system that facilitated easy retrieval of files.”

  • Be honest in claiming an achievement.

State what your real role was. If you simply recommended it and other people made it happen, say so. It will hurt your chances more if you landed an interview and the prospective employer discovered that you claimed an achievement that was not yours in the first place.

Let’s say the job posting for a Legal Assistant looked like this:

Scope of Responsibilities

  • Manage client billing through accurate preparation and timely release of bills to clients and prompt resolution of billing concerns
  • Schedule depositions, interviews, and meetings
  • Manage paper and electronic files through efficient organization, maintenance, retrieval, and disposal
  • Provide administrative support such as proper handling of calls, facilitating travel arrangements for lawyers, etc.

Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies preferred, but not required
  • Minimum one-year experience as Admin or Legal Assistant in a law firm or legal department
  • Working knowledge on the invoice and billing software
  • Outstanding records management skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Highly organized
  • Self-motivated and meets deadlines

Correct Example

Given those responsibilities and qualifications, the body of your cover letter can be written this way:

CORRECT
As an intern at the McKenzie Law Office, I learned how crucial the accuracy and promptness of billings are to a legal office. This knowledge prompted me to recommend a billing procedure that reduced complaints on erroneous billings by 7% and increased on-time billing issuance by 14%. The improvement resulted from my knowledge of process streamlining, expertise in Microsoft Office applications, and acquired proficiency in using billing software.

I completed my Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies in July this year from Deanza College. For two years, I served as the overall coordinator for the school’s summer sports program for out-of-school youths within the Sta. Clara County. Aside from leadership skills, I developed planning and organizing skills. My involvement with out-of-school youths aligns with your organization’s CSR programs that focus on the youth — yet, another reason I believe I am a good fit for the job.

The example made use of numbers, powerful verbs (reduced, increased), achievements outside of work experience (summer sports program), and cited another reason for the applicant’s interest in the company (shared concern for the youth).

Those elements are what you would typically find in cover letter examples.

Incorrect Example

The example below shows you how NOT to write it.

INCORRECT
I have an associate degree in Paralegal Studies from Deanza College. A prerequisite for program completion is an internship, which I acquired from McKenzie Law Office.

As an intern, my mentor taught me billing software and Microsoft Applications, which I can now apply with very little supervision. I am also a self-motivated, highly organized person with good time management skills, which I believe you are looking for in a Legal Assistant.

First, there are no numbers to support the skill set mentioned. Second, it felt like reading a laundry list of what an organization would look for in an employee, and it did not provide the oomph that will make the employer want to meet with them.

End With a Call to Action (CTA)

You have engaged your prospective employer up to this point, and it doesn’t mean you have convinced them of your worthiness for the job. And that means you need to compose a distinctive call to action.

This part of your cover letter motivates the recruiter to bring you to the next step of the application process — the interview.

It shows the recruiter how serious you are about getting the job and proves that you won’t just let things happen. You have the confidence to make things happen.

To craft a winning CTA:

  • Thank your prospective employer for taking the time to read your cover letter. It conveys courtesy and respect for other people’s time.
  • Indicate the next step. Suggest having an interview, but avoid an arrogant tone. Initiate a follow-up with the employer.

Examples of a CTA for a Legal Assistant Cover Letter

Here are two examples of CTAs typically seen in cover letter samples.

Kindly review my attached resume to know more about my qualifications. I will be getting in touch with you soon to set up a meeting to discuss how I can benefit your company.

Thank you for your time.

The above example encourages the recruiter to learn more about what the applicant has to offer. But it also mentions what the applicant intends to do to progress into the application process.

Here is one more example. Is it a good or a bad example?

Thank you for considering my application. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss how my skills can increase Abbott Law Office’s operational efficiency.

Yes, it’s still a good CTA because it specifies what the applicant wants to happen next — to be granted an interview.

Finishing Your Letter

Use a complimentary close that is formal yet warm. It should be followed by your printed full name, with your signature above it.

Examples of such complimentary close are as follows:

  • Best
  • Regards
  • Respectfully
  • Sincerely

You may use an e-signature if you are sending it via email.

What to Avoid

The following complimentary closes should not be used in a cover letter because they are too casual and not professional sounding:

  • Affectionately
  • Ciao
  • Cheers
  • Godspeed
  • Thx
  • Warm regards
  • Yours Faithfully
  • Yours Truly

Tips to Enhance Your Cover Letter

Below are some cover letter tips to help you ace a legal assistant role.

Be consistent. The “look and feel” of your cover letter should be the same as your resume and use the same font type, size, page margins, and line spacing.

Make it brief. Your cover letter should fit in one page, no matter how broad your work experience has been. Pack it with information most significant to the position. Be concise yet persuasive.

Customize it. Although you would benefit from a cover letter builder or template, nothing beats submitting a personalized cover letter. Highlight your competencies and experience to convince the employer that you are the best fit for the role.

Search for keywords in the job posting and use them. Keywords can be ability-related (e.g., analyzed), achievement-related (e.g., appointed), and results-related (e.g., increased)

Provide valuable information. Your CV enumerates your skills and abilities. With a few paragraphs, let your legal assistant cover letter tell your career story and where you would like to bring it. Expand and present information that your CV could not elaborate on, e.g., employment gaps, or include why you are keen on pursuing a legal assistant position.

Proofread it. Typos, grammatical errors, and poor sentence construction are big turn-offs for a recruiter, who might perceive you as careless, disorganized, and unprofessional. Check your cover letter several times, have another person read it, point out these costly mistakes, and correct them. Be sure to correct all of them before you submit the letter.

Reinforce Your Cover Letter With a Good Resume

A cover letter should support your resume, which outlines your capabilities in detail, and your legal assistant cover letter sums up your credentials in a few paragraphs.

A legal assistant resume must contain the following sections:

  • Header
  • Professional Summary or Career Objective
  • Work Experience
  • Educational Background
  • Skillset
  • Certificates, Awards, and Affiliations

If you need the inspiration to create professional resumes, you may check out sample resumes and resume templates.

  • A cover letter is an essential part of your application for a legal assistant position.
  • Your main goal must be to make it stand out from the other letters the prospective employer will read to land you an interview with them.
  • Your letter should be well-thought of and well-written to create a positive impression.
  • It should be concise to highlight your most relevant skills for the job.
  • Personalize it and make sure the letter is error-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a legal assistant the same as a paralegal?

Both jobs afford you a rewarding career in law, even if you are not a lawyer. However, they are different in several aspects.

Duties and Responsibilities

Paralegals assist attorneys in researching similar cases handled by the lawyer and all laws about the case. They gather and organize evidence to be used in court, write reports, and file appeals with the opposing counsel. Paralegals may charge the client for the work they do. They may also specialize later in corporate law, labor law, etc.

On the other hand, a legal assistant serves as a legal secretary, that is, someone who does mostly administrative work. They are responsible for preparing legal documents, handling phone inquiries, monitoring appointments, and other office administration duties.

Is A Cover Letter Still Necessary?

The need for a cover letter has been an ongoing debate among HR practitioners.

Despite the seeming decline in recruiters and hiring managers’ interest in cover letters, it is always safe to have one because it is your initial touchpoint with your prospective employer.