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5 Paralegal Cover Letter Examples for the Job in 2024

Stephen Greet

  • Paralegal Cover Letter
  • Entry-Level Paralegal
  • Corporate Paralegal
  • Immigration Paralegal
  • Litigation Paralegal
  • Write Your Paralegal Cover Letter

When attorneys need help with trial prep and research, they know they can count on you to get the job done right. 

But have you made the effort to create a cover letter to accompany your paralegal resume , ready to withstand the scrutiny of the intensive legal hiring processes?

You’re used to putting together top-notch legal correspondence, but as with any profession, you too can use some help during the hiring process. We’re here to assist with our paralegal cover letter examples and cover letter generator that have proven effective in 2024.

cover letter law firm paralegal

Paralegal Cover Letter Example


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Paralegal cover letter template

Why this cover letter works

  • While you want to seem grounded, refrain from being too modest about your legal prowess—because that could make your resume too vague and end with your document in the recycle bin.

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Entry-level Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Entry-level paralegal cover letter template

  • Try highlighting instances on your entry-level paralegal cover letter where your efforts yielded positive results at internships or for academic/personal projects.

Corporate Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Corporate paralegal cover letter template

  • But it’s not just about hard skills . Soft skills such as team collaboration, clear communication, positivity, and problem-solving are pivotal.

Immigration Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Immigration paralegal cover letter template

  • Showcase yourself as an agile professional who stays on top of the ever-changing landscape of immigration regulations. That way, you transition from a run-of-the-mill to a cat with nine lives that will keep the hiring company safe from potential non-compliance mishaps.

Litigation Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Litigation paralegal cover letter template

  • Recall that company that tasked you with managing legal documents. Specify the volume. And what if you helped expedite document retrieval in a different company? Quantify the improvement rate to make your professional accomplishments tangible and cement your competence. Don’t inflate the figures, though!

Related cover letter examples

  • Administrative assistant
  • Human resources
  • Executive assistant

Writing an Exceptional Paralegal Cover Letter

Salesperson pops out of computer screen to depict outselling the competition with sales cover letter

When you meet with clients, you understand every case’s preparations must be tailored to their unique needs and circumstances. The same is true for your cover letter. 

While reviewing job descriptions , consider how you can customize your cover letter to each law firm’s needs. Do they specialize in personal injury law? Then you may want to connect to how you’re skilled at analyzing medical records and doing investigative research into personal injury cases.

cover letter law firm paralegal

How to draft the opening and greeting of your paralegal cover letter

You know that lawyers do a lot of research to hook judges with their opening statements in the courtroom. Opening your paralegal cover letter requires a similar level of detail to get the legal hiring staff’s attention. 

Consider ways you can connect with each law firm you’re applying to. For instance, if you’re applying to a firm that practices family law, you could explain how you want to help parents and their children get the best results during divorce cases. 

Additionally, try to nail the greeting by addressing a specific person from the legal hiring staff. You can sometimes find that information in the job description or the law firm’s website, or on LinkedIn. If you can’t find anything, simply leading with “dear [name of law firm] hiring team” will work well too. 

The example below is an ok start, but the applicant could do more to try to connect with the services the law firm provides and their specific skills in the opener.

Try to connect more than this! 

Dear J.L. Associates hiring team,

I’m very interested in the paralegal position you have available. I’m very familiar with the legal system and have studied a lot about it, so I think I’ll be a great fit for your firm.

Instead, focus specifically on the law firm’s needs and how your professional skills in trial assistance and legal documents fit in, like the example below. 

Connect with the law firm’s mission and needs! 

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I have always respected Dykema Cox Smith’s commitment to justice and fair representation, so I am thrilled at the opportunity to further your mission as a paralegal. Sharing your aim of ensuring justice and quality legal help to all clients, I’m certain I can add value to your team by identifying legal precedents, furnishing substantial trial assistance, and maintaining citation accuracy in your legal documents.

cover letter law firm paralegal

Guidelines for writing the body of your paralegal cover letter

Once you’ve hooked the legal hiring staff’s attention with your intro, it’s time to discuss how your credentials and previous work experiences have equipped you for the paralegal position. 

A great way to stand out is by using metrics like accuracy or the percentage of successful cases you worked on. You can also include grades or how the materials you learned in your paralegal associate’s degree equipped you for the position if you don’t have as much experience. 

Take a look at the example below that does an excellent job of citing metrics like reduction in errors and decreasing data breaches while managing legal documentation.

A good body paragraph full of relevant metrics

An internship at ICW Group nurtured my legal research and citation formatting abilities, impacting up to 17 client cases monthly. Dealing with a wide array of legal documents solidified my growth in citation formatting, reducing errors by 67%. I also formulated a data privacy and security guideline for solicitors, decreasing information breaches by 23%.

cover letter law firm paralegal

Finalizing and signing off on your paralegal cover letter

Just like the opening statement is essential in legal cases, a top-notch closing statement is equally vital to achieving a fair ruling on your case. Try to do the same with the closing of your paralegal cover letter . 

Ideally, you want to return to your main points and revisit how you connect with the company. For example, if you’re applying to a firm that does senior law, you could reconnect to how you want to help improve the lives of those in need of senior care. 

You should also include a light call to action toward the end, such as “I look forward to discussing this opportunity further.” It helps show your interest in the position. 

What you don’t want to do is get too generic and not relate to the specifics of the paralegal position at all, like the example below.

Yikes, too generic!

I am eager to start my career as a paralegal, and your firm seems like the ideal place for me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

James Smith

A better way to close out your cover letter is the example below, which clearly relates back to the firm’s legal innovations and services in the scientific industry. 

A well-connected closer for the win! 

As an aspiring paralegal, I see every legal challenge as a chance to learn, adapt, and thrive. This eagerness to contribute makes me the perfect candidate for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s reputation for innovation and reliable service in the scientific industry. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing this opportunity further.

Paralegal Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

  • In your field, legal jargon is extremely precise, and small errors can make huge differences. If you’re preparing paperwork to support attorneys at your firm, you’ll definitely be double-checking your work: And things should be no different with your paralegal cover letter! Refer to your dream employer’s website and professional social media accounts like LinkedIn for a golden sample of their general tone. In addition to reflecting this writing tone in your paralegal cover letter, see if there are any standout phrases or keywords like “case turn-around time” or “diverse legal knowledge” to reference. By nodding to these tidbits in your cover letter, you demonstrate your preparedness for crucial legal research!
  • From shorthand in the courtroom to efficient document preparation and data entry, concise and clear writing is essential. Don’t find yourself slipping on to a second page—and if you do find yourself pushing the limits or considering page margin adjustments, try prompting ChatGPT to condense your cover letter . The primary topic of each body paragraph should be the quantifiable impact you’ve made during your professional journey. Context is awesome, but keep it brief.
  • This should be the other way around—the paralegal role is all about assisting legal professionals and their clients. Demonstrate your understanding of the company’s client-focused mission through the focal points in your body paragraphs. Instead of talking about how much you enjoyed working at Tarleton Law Firm, consider how your helpfulness and client retention rates contributed to their success. And, again: Consider measurable examples of the difference you made for your team and furthered the company vision.

While it may seem like a hassle, writing a unique cover letter for each law firm you apply to is essential to stand out amongst other candidates. It’ll help show how you connect their specific mission and the type of law they practice. 

Ideally, you want your paralegal cover letter to be no longer than one page. It’s the same as legal correspondence, where you want everything to be concise and relevant to why you’re writing the message. 

Each law firm will have a different culture, so review the job description to get an idea of the tone they write it and try to match it as best as possible. For instance, if the tone is more formal, focusing on formal practices and being more fact-driven about data from cases and work experience will be the best idea. 

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Paralegal Cover Letter Example

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You should start your Paralegal cover letter by addressing the hiring manager directly, if their name is known. If not, use a professional greeting such as "Dear Hiring Manager". Then, introduce yourself and state the position you're applying for. Make sure to mention where you found the job posting. In the first paragraph, it's also beneficial to include a brief statement about why you're interested in the role and the company. This shows the employer that you've done your research and are genuinely interested in the position. For example, "I am writing to apply for the Paralegal position at XYZ Law Firm, as advertised on your website. With my extensive legal research skills and passion for criminal law, I am confident I can make a significant contribution to your team."

The best way for Paralegals to end a cover letter is by expressing gratitude for the reader's time and consideration, reiterating their interest in the position, and indicating their eagerness to discuss their qualifications further in an interview. A strong closing might be: "Thank you for considering my application. I am confident that my skills and passion make me a strong candidate for this role. I am eager to bring my expertise in legal research and case management to your team and would welcome the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your firm's success. I look forward to the possibility of working with you." This ending is professional, courteous, and shows enthusiasm for the role, which can help set you apart from other candidates.

Paralegals should include several key elements in their cover letter to make it effective and compelling. 1. Contact Information: At the top of the letter, include your name, address, phone number, and email address. Also, include the recipient's name, title, and company address. 2. Professional Greeting: Address the hiring manager or recruiter directly if you know their name. If not, use a general professional greeting. 3. Introduction: Start with a strong opening paragraph that grabs the reader's attention. Mention the position you're applying for and where you found the job listing. 4. Skills and Experience: Highlight your relevant skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the position. As a paralegal, you should emphasize your research abilities, attention to detail, knowledge of legal terminology, and any specific areas of law you're familiar with. If you have experience in drafting legal documents, managing case files, or assisting attorneys, be sure to mention it. 5. Achievements: If you have any notable achievements, such as improving a process at a previous firm or receiving an award for your work, include these in your cover letter. 6. Knowledge about the Firm: Show that you've done your homework about the firm you're applying to. Mention something specific about the firm that attracted you to the position. This could be their area of specialization, their reputation, or their values. 7. Closing Paragraph: In your closing paragraph, reiterate your interest in the position and the firm. Also, mention your availability for an interview and your eagerness to further discuss your qualifications. 8. Professional Closing: End your letter with a professional closing, such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards," followed by your name and signature. 9. Proofread: Finally, proofread your cover letter for any spelling or grammar mistakes. A well-written, error-free cover letter shows your attention to detail, a crucial skill for paralegals. Remember, your

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cover letter law firm paralegal

Dive Into Expert Guides to Enhance your Resume

Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Are you ready to land your dream Paralegal job? The key to success lies in crafting an outstanding cover letter that features your strengths and grabs the attention of hiring managers from the very first paragraph.

RC Team

Resume and Cover Letter Experts

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Paralegal Cover Letter

As a Paralegal, featuring your exceptional communication, organizational, critical thinking, and research abilities in your cover letter is crucial to setting yourself apart from other candidates.

A well-crafted cover letter allows you to present these in smart ways that will impress recruiters in the legal field.

In this article, you will look into:

  • Which  essential Paralegal skills  you should highlight and how
  • Invaluable advice and  proven strategies to stand out , even with no experience
  • Expertly crafted examples  to help you “build your case” compellingly

Combine our valuable tips with the efficiency of our  cover letter creation tool , and you’ll have a powerful cover letter crafted in just a few minutes.

Now, let’s begin your journey toward writing an excellent Paralegal cover letter!

4 Skills Every Paralegal Should Feature in Their Cover Letter

As an integral part of a legal team, you play a vital role in ensuring the success of legal cases and initiatives.

You possess a wide range of qualifications that enable you to provide first-class support to attorneys and clients, but there are 4 skills hiring managers pay special attention to and that you should  highlight in your Paralegal cover letter :

  • Communication:  Mention any experience you have working directly with clients, attorneys, or court personnel. Provide examples of how you have effectively communicated complex legal concepts or information in writing or verbally.

Example: In my previous role as a Paralegal at [company name], I worked on a complex litigation case where I was responsible for drafting legal documents, including pleadings, motions, and discovery requests. In doing so, I was able to use my knowledge of legal terminology and concepts to communicate effectively with attorneys, judges, and court personnel.

  • Organization:  A great Paralegal is detail-oriented and has excellent organizational skills. They can manage and organize large volumes of information, and they pay close attention to every detail to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Example: At [company name], I was responsible for maintaining case files, managing calendars, and scheduling meetings for multiple attorneys. There, I developed a new filing system for case documents that reduced the time it took to locate and retrieve important documents by 50%. This not only saved time for the attorneys but also improved the accuracy and completeness of the case files.

  • Critical thinking:  A top-notch Paralegal has strong critical thinking skills and is able to analyze complex legal issues and identify potential problems or areas of concern. They can provide valuable insights and perspectives to attorneys and develop creative solutions to legal challenges.

Example: In one case, I worked on a dispute over the division of assets in a divorce proceeding. Through my analysis of the relevant legal precedents and statutes, I was able to propose a creative settlement agreement that enabled both parties to receive a fair share of the assets and avoid a protracted legal battle.

  • Research:  An outstanding Paralegal has strong research skills to locate and analyze relevant legal information and sources. They contribute to the development of legal strategies and the building of cases by providing comprehensive research support.

Example: I worked on a case involving a complex merger and acquisition deal, where I was responsible for researching regulatory compliance and industry standards. Through my research in exisNexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law, I was able to identify relevant legal precedents and regulations and provide valuable insights to the attorneys that helped them to build a strong case and negotiate a favorable settlement.

In case you need to  quickly customize your resume  to complement your cover letter, our  user-friendly resume builder  can be of great help.

Crafting an Effective Paralegal Cover Letter When You Have Experience

A Paralegal cover letter contains all the typical elements that should be included in this type of document.

However, the ones listed below are designed to help you  improve your chances of getting an interview  dramatically.

Read carefully and analyze the examples to get the most out of this section:

  • Start with a strong opening:  Consider starting with a compelling statement or anecdote that demonstrates your passion for the legal field or your relevant experience as a Paralegal. A strong opening can help ensure that the recruiter continues reading your cover letter and is excited to learn more about your qualifications and experience.

I am writing to express my interest in the Paralegal position at your law firm. I have attached my resume for your review.

This opening statement is  generic  and does not provide any specific information about the candidate’s experience or qualifications.

It is unlikely to capture the hiring manager’s attention and may cause them to skip over the rest of the cover letter.

As an accomplished Paralegal with a passion for advocating for clients, I am thrilled to apply for the Paralegal position at your prestigious law firm. With over 5 years of experience in civil litigation, I have had the privilege of working on a variety of cases, from high-stakes corporate disputes to personal injury claims.

In this case, the opening is more compelling because it emphasizes the candidate’s passion for advocating for clients and their confidence in their ability to contribute to the firm’s continued success.

The language is  more descriptive  and demonstrates the applicant’s skill set persuasively and engagingly. This is sure to capture the attention of the hiring manager and encourage them to read on to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications.

  • Showcase your familiarity with sources:  Research being a key responsibility of Paralegals, employers want to see you have a deep understanding of legal tools and resources. This can make you a valuable asset to a law firm and help set you apart from other candidates.

Ensure you mention in your cover letter at least one of these  databases :

  • Legal Information Institute (LII)

Here is how to do it:

Example: With 4+ years of Paralegal experience, I possess a deep understanding of legal research tools, including LII, Westlaw, and LexisNexis. I excel at navigating databases of case law, statutes, and regulations to identify relevant information for each case.

  • Use keywords to your advantage:  Many employers use  applicant tracking systems (ATS)  to screen resumes, which means that including  relevant keywords  can increase the likelihood of your resume being selected for further review. To identify relevant keywords, carefully review the job posting and make note of any specific skills, qualifications, or job duties mentioned.

Example: Replying to a Paralegal job advertisement that contains the keywords contract drafting, due diligence, and corporate governance.

As a corporate Paralegal at [company name], I gained extensive experience in conducting  due diligence  reviews on corporate acquisitions. I was responsible for analyzing purchase agreements and employment contracts. Additionally, I  drafted and negotiated contracts  with third-party vendors and customers to ensure compliance with  corporate governance  requirements.

A Sample Cover Letter for Experienced Paralegals

Reviewing the provided sample will provide you with a deeper understanding of  what to feature  in your cover letter when applying for Paralegal positions.

Hiring Manager’s name

Company name

Company address

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am thrilled to express my strong interest in the Paralegal position recently opened at [Name of Firm]. I was excited to learn about this opportunity from Mr. [Name of Referee], an associate at your firm whom I worked with at [Name of Previous Firm]. He has graciously offered to provide a reference for me, should you require one.

As a Paralegal with seven years of experience, my passion for the law has only grown stronger. In my current role at [Name of Current Firm], I assist senior attorneys specializing in property law. I enjoy taking on new challenges and cases that keep me on my toes, and I thrive in a diverse environment with pressing deadlines. My solution-driven mindset constantly seeks new ways to streamline processes and increase efficiency.

To that end, I spearheaded the creation of a new user-friendly, keyword-based database that has been instrumental in helping Paralegals and attorneys locate relevant information and solutions for past cases. The system received high praise from all users and reduced the time dedicated to research and investigation by 26% within the first three months. Additionally, I created a guide for new team members that directs them to the specific resources they need across all our files, resulting in a 97% satisfaction rate among new hires.

My strong communication skills have allowed me to liaise effectively with courts, clients, and other firms, consistently representing my organization in the best light. I have prepared countless preparatory pieces of research, discovery demands, motions, and case-status reports, while also showing dedication to optimizing operations and maintaining professionalism.

My resume, which details my work history and educational background, is attached for your review. Please do not hesitate to contact me after 9 am on workdays to schedule a meeting to discuss my qualifications further. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Address Phone number Email address

Use our comprehensive  cover letter writing guide  to craft your letter with ease and confidence, and put your best foot forward in your job application.

Creating an Impressive Paralegal Cover Letter Without Experience

Crafting a cover letter with no experience may seem daunting, but the process is fundamentally the same as if you had prior experience.

The real difference lies in knowing where to focus to boost your odds of success.

In this section,  you’re going to learn :

  • How to show contagious  enthusiasm  in your cover letter
  • Which  areas you should specialize  in to make your application more appealing

3 Ways to Show Your Enthusiasm for the Legal Field in Your Cover Letter

Demonstrating your  enthusiasm  for the legal field is an essential aspect of crafting a persuasive Paralegal cover letter. By showing your passion and commitment, you can convey to potential employers that you are motivated to succeed and will be a valuable addition to their team.

Read the following advice carefully:

  • Share your motivation:  Discuss what initially sparked your interest in the legal field and how that passion has evolved. This might include personal experiences, influential mentors, or a specific area of law that you find particularly captivating.

Example: My interest in the legal profession was ignited during a high school internship at a local law firm, where I witnessed firsthand the impact that skilled legal representation can have on people’s lives.

  • Connect with the employer’s mission:  Research the firm or organization you are applying to, and mention specific aspects of their work that resonate with your values and interests. This demonstrates that you have taken the time to understand their goals and are genuinely excited about the prospect of contributing to their team.

Example: I am particularly drawn to [company name’s] dedication to advocating for environmental justice and promoting sustainable practices, values that closely align with my passion for environmental conservation.

  • Explain your career goals:  Clearly articulate your long-term career objectives within the legal profession, and explain how the position you are applying for aligns with those goals. This will demonstrate your commitment to the field and your desire to grow professionally.

Example: My long-term career objective is to become an expert in employment law, helping to protect workers’ rights and ensure fair treatment in the workplace. This Paralegal position at your esteemed firm would be an invaluable opportunity to advance toward that goal.

Choose a Specialization area and Write an impressive Resume Objective

Embarking on a Paralegal career is an exciting journey, made even more thrilling by the opportunity to specialize in a particular and highly sought-after area of law.

The online resource for Paralegal professionals,  Paralegal411 , lists some of the most popular ones. We have compiled them below for you.

Combine them with a meaningful  resume objective , and you’ll be sure to grab the attention of recruiters:

  • Bankruptcy:  These Paralegals usually focus on either individual or corporate bankruptcy law and spend much of their time on document preparation and gathering, including forensic research and accounting.

Example: Enthusiastic and detail-oriented Paralegal specializing in bankruptcy law, seeking an entry-level position as a Bankruptcy Paralegal at a prestigious [law firm]. Adept at conducting thorough research and analyzing complex financial data.

  • Corporate:  They assist corporations with compliance, lawsuits, and mergers, and often work directly for corporations or as third-party counsel due to the complexity and constantly evolving nature of corporate law.

Example: Proficient in conducting comprehensive legal research, drafting contracts, and supporting M&A transactions. Eager to contribute to the firm’s success by providing exceptional client service, while expanding my knowledge and skills in areas such as corporate governance, regulatory compliance, and business transactions.

  • Criminal law:  Specialized in criminal proceedings, these Paralegals can work for the court or lawyers on either side of the case, focusing on specific areas of the law, such as violent crimes, financial crimes, or drug crimes.

Example: Diligent and dedicated individual with a strong interest in criminal law, seeking a position as a Criminal Law Paralegal at [law firm]. Possessing a solid foundation in legal research, case preparation, and client communication, I am eager to support attorneys in effectively representing clients facing criminal charges.

  • Immigration:  Professionals specialized in this area assist both individuals and the US government in navigating the various routes to legal immigration, visas, and citizenship while keeping up with fast-paced changes to the law at the state level.

Example: Compassionate and motivated individual with a focus on immigration law, looking to secure an entry-level position as a Paralegal at [law firm]. Equipped with strong research abilities and a deep understanding of immigration policies, I am eager to assist clients in their pursuit of a better future.

How to Address Gaps in the Paralegal Field

Career gaps can be difficult to explain for Paralegals due to legal field expectations, skill development concerns, adaptability issues, competition, and perceptions of commitment.

To address these concerns, you should effectively showcase transferable skills, professional development efforts, and passion for the legal field in your cover letter.

The examples below address  2 common reasons  why Paralegals may have  gaps in their careers :

  • Personal reasons.

Example: During my two-year absence from the legal profession, I focused on personal growth and attended various continuing education courses, including a comprehensive legal research workshop and a seminar on intellectual property law. I am excited to bring this fresh perspective and commitment to lifelong learning to the Paralegal position at [Company Name].

  • Raising a family

Example: While taking a three-year hiatus to raise my family, I remained engaged with the legal community by attending the annual National Paralegal Association conference, participating in monthly webinars focused on family law, and networking with local legal professionals through my involvement in the City Paralegal Club. I am confident that my ability to balance multiple responsibilities and prioritize effectively will translate well to the Paralegal role at [Company Name].

Remember, your cover letter is an opportunity to demonstrate your resilience, adaptability, and passion for the profession, helping you stand out and succeed in your job search, even if you have gaps in your work history.

Paralegal Cover Letter Success: Vital Takeaways

Hold onto your hats, aspiring Paralegals! The  U.S. Bureau of Statistics  predicts an impressive 14% growth rate in the field between 2021 and 2031, which is well above the average growth rate for all occupations.

With this in mind, it’s crucial you keep in mind the advice discussed in this article to stand out from the competition:

  • Emphasize your communication, organization, critical thinking, and research skills:  Provide specific examples of your experience and knowledge.
  • Begin with an impactful introduction:  Start your cover letter with a captivating remark or story that illustrates your enthusiasm for the legal profession or your pertinent Paralegal experience.
  • Display your knowledge of resources:  As research is a critical aspect of a Paralegal’s role, be sure to reference at least one of the widely used databases in your cover letter.
  • Leverage relevant keywords:  Incorporate pertinent keywords found in the job advertisement in your cover letter to enhance your chances of advancing to the next stage.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for the legal field:  Share your motivation, connect with the employer’s mission and explain your long-term career goals.
  • Highlight your specialization field:  Showcase your expertise in your resume summary or objective in areas such as bankruptcy, corporate, criminal, or immigration law.
  • Use career gaps to your advantage:  Remember they can be an opportunity to show your determination, flexibility, and enthusiasm for the field if you can make the connection between any learned skills and the Paralegal world.

By using a  Paralegal-specific template for your resume  and cover letter, and incorporating our expert advice, you can elevate yourself above the competition.

These tools and tips will allow you to show your unique qualities and capabilities, demonstrating that you are fully equipped to excel in the position.

Best of luck on your journey in the Paralegal world!

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Cover letter advice and samples.

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  • Draft your cover letter knowing it is your first writing sample.
  • Understand that a cover letter should persuade the reader.
  • Use the cover letter to “connect the dots” of your experiences.
  • Resist the temptation to restate your resume.
  • Keep your cover letter to one page.
  • Use the font style and point size that match your resume.
  • Remember that the reader is busy: less is more.
  • Ensure your cover letter is error free.

Cover Letter Construction

Address block and salutation.

Sample cover letter address block and salutation

  • Address the cover letter to an actual person.
  • Research websites or call employer to determine recipient’s name.
  • If you cannot find the name of a hiring contact, address your letter to the head of the unit, department, or office.
  • While this is the least-preferred option, you may address your letter to “Dear Hiring Committee” if you cannot locate the name of an actual person.
  • For firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For larger firms, contact information for recruiting directors is available at in the Basic Information section.
  • In the salutation, include the recipient’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Ms. Raintree”) or write the recipient’s entire name (e.g., “Dear Jamie Morales”).

Paragraph One

Sample cover letter paragraph one

  • Tell the employer who you are and what you are seeking.
  • Highlight (past, present, and future) geographic connections.
  • Indicate if you have talked to students/faculty/friends/alumni who speak highly of the organization.

Paragraph Two

Sample cover letter paragraph two

  • Show that you understand the employer’s mission/practice, the work its attorneys do, and the clients it serves.
  • Demonstrate your proven interest in and connection to that mission/practice, work, and clients.

Paragraph Three

Sample cover letter paragraph three

  • Describe skills you will contribute to support that mission/practice, work, and clients.
  • Provide evidence from your experiences and coursework.

Paragraph Four

Sample cover letter paragraph four

  • List the documents included with the letter.
  • Tell the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.
  • Convey your availability for a conversation, mentioning upcoming trips to the area.
  • Thank the employer for considering you.
  • Mention availability of Yale summer funding, if applicable.
  • Optional: Promise that you will follow up in a few weeks if you think the employer would appreciate the diligence.

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Lawyers to Plastics Makers: Prepare for ‘Astronomical’ PFAS Lawsuits

At an industry presentation about dangerous “forever chemicals,” lawyers predicted a wave of lawsuits that could dwarf asbestos litigation, audio from the event revealed.

Industrial buildings, several with steam or smoke rising from them, line a riverbank.

By Hiroko Tabuchi

The defense lawyer minced no words as he addressed a room full of plastic-industry executives. Prepare for a wave of lawsuits​ with​ potentially “astronomical” costs​. Speaking at a conference earlier this year, the lawyer, Brian Gross, said the coming litigation could “dwarf anything related to asbestos,” one of the most sprawling corporate-liability battles in United States history.

Mr. Gross was referring to PFAS, the “forever chemicals” that have emerged as one of the major pollution issues of our time. Used for decades in countless everyday objects — cosmetics, takeout containers, frying pans — PFAS have been linked to serious health risks including cancer. Last month the federal government said several types of PFAS must be removed from the drinking water of hundreds of millions of Americans .

“Do what you can, while you can, before you get sued,” Mr. Gross said at the February session, according to a recording of the event made by a participant and examined by The New York Times. “Review any marketing materials or other communications that you’ve had with your customers, with your suppliers, see whether there’s anything in those documents that’s problematic to your defense,” he said. “Weed out people and find the right witness to represent your company.”

A spokesman for Mr. Gross’s employer, MG+M The Law Firm, which defends companies in high-stakes litigation, didn’t respond to questions about Mr. Gross’s remarks and said he was unavailable to discuss them.

A wide swath of the chemicals, plastics and related industries are gearing up to fight a surge in litigation related to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of nearly 15,000 versatile synthetic chemicals linked to serious health problems.

PFAS chemicals have been detected almost everywhere scientists have looked: in drinking water, in rain falling over the Great Lakes , even in Antarctic snow . They are thought to be present in the blood of nearly every American . Researchers have linked exposure to PFAS to testicular and kidney cancers, developmental delays in children, decreased fertility, liver damage and thyroid disease. The man-made chemicals are so long-lasting that scientists haven’t been able to reliably identify how long it might take for them to break down.

PFAS-related lawsuits have already targeted manufacturers in the United States, including DuPont, its spinoff Chemours, and 3M. Last year, 3M agreed to pay at least $10 billion to water utilities across the United States that had sought compensation for cleanup costs. Thirty state attorneys general have also sued PFAS manufacturers, accusing the manufacturers of widespread contamination.

But experts say the legal battle is just beginning. Under increasing scrutiny are a wider universe of companies that use PFAS in their products. This month, plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against Bic, accusing the razor company for failing to disclose that some of its razors contained PFAS.

Bic said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, and said it had a longstanding commitment to safety.

The Biden administration has moved to regulate the chemicals, for the first time requiring municipal water systems to remove six types of PFAS . Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency also designated two of those PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund law, shifting responsibility for their cleanup at contaminated sites from taxpayers to polluters.

Both rules are expected to prompt a new round of litigation from water utilities, local communities and others suing for cleanup costs.

“To say that the floodgates are opening is an understatement,” said Emily M. Lamond, an attorney who focuses on environmental litigation at the law firm Cole Schotz. “Take tobacco, asbestos, MTBE, combine them, and I think we’re still going to see more PFAS-related litigation,” she said, referring to methyl tert-butyl ether, a former harmful gasoline additive that contaminated drinking water. Together, the trio led to claims totaling hundreds of billions of dollars.

PFAS were an industrial marvel when chemists at Dupont in the 1940s synthesized the material, a remarkably durable compound resistant to water, stains, heat and grease. It quickly became a mainstay in DuPont’s Teflon nonstick pans and 3M’s Scotchgard fabric protector. A powerful fire suppressant, it helped firefighters battle flames. Today, they are used for everyday items as varied as microwave popcorn bags, shampoos, raincoats and firefighting foam.

But the very qualities that have made PFAS so valuable have also prevented them from breaking down naturally in the environment. As PFAS entered the environment from factories, products and landfills, the chemicals have started to accumulate in water, air and soil.

Industry documents released through litigation show that manufacturers found adverse health effects from PFAS exposure as early as 1961 . But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that questions increasingly emerged in public about their safety. In 2005, the E.P.A. fined DuPont $10 million , at that time the largest administrative fine ever levied by the agency, for failing to disclose PFAS’s adverse effects.​​

All that has set the stage for a potential legal storm. Unlike tobacco, used by only a subset of the public, “pretty much every one of us in the United States is walking around with PFAS in our bodies,” said Erik Olson, senior strategic director for environmental health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And we’re being exposed without our knowledge or consent, often by industries that knew how dangerous the chemicals were, and failed to disclose that,” he said. “That’s a formula for really significant liability.”

Sandy Wynn-Stelt of Belmont, Mich., brought one early case. A year after she lost her husband to liver cancer in 2016, she discovered that the Christmas tree farm in front of her home, which had seemed such an idyllic setting, had been a dumping ground for PFAS-laden tannery waste from Wolverine World Wide, the maker of Hush Puppies shoes.

Wolverine had been among the first to license 3M’s Scotchgard for its waterproof footwear. Mrs. Wynn-Stelt got her blood tested, and found PFAS levels hundreds of times the norm. In 2020, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

She sued Wolverine and 3M, and reached a settlement in 2021. Separately, nearly 2,000 local residents settled a class-action lawsuit against Wolverine. The region’s water source remains polluted with PFAS.

“Those lawyers are exactly right. This is going to be huge, now that people are starting to hold companies accountable,” Mrs. Wynn-Stelt said.

Wolverine declined to comment. 3M said it continued to “address PFAS litigation by defending itself in court or through negotiated resolutions.”

Much of the course of future litigation hinges on the evidence over PFAS’s health risks. There is broad scientific consensus that certain PFAS chemicals are harmful. “There’s a weight of evidence,” said Linda Birnbaum, a toxicologist and the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “Multiple studies by different investigators, and in different populations.”

Max Swetman, another MG+M partner who presented with Mr. Gross at the February industry conference, addressed the research in his remarks to the group. “There’s a whole lot of new science being created,” he said. “It’s not the best for us.”

Still, some of the research could be vulnerable to criticism, he said. Getting the right experts to testify was crucial, he said. “Epidemiologists, if you get the right one, is always going to be your best expert in trial.”

Mr. Swetman was unavailable to comment on his remarks, according to his law firm.

One challenge facing medical research lies in the sheer number of different PFAS chemicals that have now entered the environment, each of which can have slightly different health effects, said Steph Tai, associate dean at the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and an expert in the use of science in environmental protection and litigation.

“The other thing, too, is that it takes a long time for health effects to show up,” Dr. Tai said, so the only way that scientists have been able to assess those effects is through long-term studies. Researchers must essentially look for what is referred to as “natural experiments,” according to Dr. Tai, comparing people who are naturally less exposed to PFAS with those who are more exposed. That inevitably leads to some uncertainties.

The industry has scored some major victories. Last November, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit tossed out a lawsuit that would have covered every Ohio citizen in a major case over exposure to PFAS, ruling that a firefighter who brought the lawsuit failed to prove that the PFAS found in his blood specifically came from the companies he sued.

3M phased out most uses of two of the most widely used PFAS chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, in the early 2000s, and DuPont in 2015 stopped using PFOA. 3M has said it will phase out the manufacturing of PFAS chemicals by the end of next year. The company will also work to discontinue their use in products, though that’s contingent on the company finding substitutes.

“As the science and technology of PFAS, societal and regulatory expectations, and our expectations of ourselves have evolved, so has how we manage PFAS,” 3M said.

DuPont referred inquiries to Chemours, the company that was spun off in 2015. Chemours declined to comment.

A long and difficult cleanup is beginning. President Biden’s 2021 infrastructure law provides $9 billion to help communities address PFAS contamination, and the E.P.A. has said $1 billion of that money would be set aside to help states with initial testing and treatment. Meantime, new kinds of PFAS are still being released into the environment. Scientists are working to learn more about them.

Hiroko Tabuchi covers the intersection of business and climate for The Times. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Tokyo and New York. More about Hiroko Tabuchi

The Proliferation of ‘Forever Chemicals’

Pfas, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are hazardous compounds that pose a global threat to human health..

For the first time, the U.S. government is requiring municipal water systems to detect and remove PFAS from drinking water .

A global study found harmful levels of PFAS  in water samples taken far from any obvious source of contamination.

Virtually indestructible, PFAS are used in fast-food packaging and countless household items .

PFAS lurk in much of what we eat, drink and use, but scientists are only beginning to understand how they affect our health .

Though no one can avoid forever chemicals entirely, Wirecutter offers tips on how to limit your exposure .

Scientists have spent years searching for ways to destroy forever chemicals. In 2022, a team of chemists found a cheap, effective method to break them down .


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