The first step to securing your ideal job or internship is submitting a professional and error-free application, which includes your resume, cover letter, and all other materials. Send us your documents for review, and we’ll work with you to make sure your materials succinctly and cogently explain your skills, experience, and education in a manner that will appeal to legal employers.

See the Center for Professional Development (CPD) Document Review Policy.

Great cover letters are essential to students’ success in the job search. In addition to one-on-one reviews, the Center for Professional Development offers cover letter workshops in the summer to provide guidance to students applying for On-Campus Interviews. Groups are small, which gives students an opportunity to ask specific questions and polish their materials during the workshop.

Here are a few tips and samples to get you started.

General tips

  • Be sure your contact information appears at the top of your resume, cover letter, list of references, and writing sample cover page. Use the same font and format for each document for consistency.

Legal resume

  • Put your education section first, then list your work experience in reverse chronological order.
  • Do NOT use personal pronouns.
  • Be specific and provide concrete examples of your work experience (avoid vague descriptions and conclusory statements).

Resume Samples (PDF): IL | 2L | 3L | Graduate

Cover letter

  • Use the same font and header for your resume, cover letter, and writing sample cover page.
  • Explain why you want to work for this specific employer. Do your research.
  • Expand on your work experience, include information not contained on your resume, and illustrate your experience with specific examples.
  • Read more about preparing a cover letter (PDF).

Personal statement

  • Employers who offer diversity fellowships/scholarships require a personal statement, giving you an opportunity to share your story. CPD advisors have significant experience providing guidance to students, to ensure your statement is well written and compelling.
  • Topics may include your personal background, professional aspirations, challenges you have faced, or your leadership experience.
  • Describe your goals for the future, and how your law degree will give you an opportunity to increase diversity in the legal profession.
  • Review additional tips on writing personal statements (PDF).

Writing sample cover page

Include a writing sample cover page (PDF) with your writing sample that provides context for your writing sample and briefly explains the issue(s) you analyzed.

Reference sheet

  • Use a reference sheet (PDF) with the same header as your other documents.
  • Include three or four references who can speak to your skills and abilities. If possible, include one former employer and one or more law school professors.

'Thank you' emails

Send 'thank you' emails within 24 hours of a job or informational interview to each person who interviewed you. You can find email addresses for most attorneys in the Washington State Bar Association's Lawyer Directory.

Your emails should be free of grammatical errors and typos. Maintain a professional tone and address the interviewers by their last name if you know their personal pronouns, i.e. Mr./ Ms. Smith. Otherwise, use their full name for the salutation. For example, “Dear John Smith”.

Finally, 'thank you' emails should be brief and not take longer than a minute for the interviewer to read. However, the strongest thank you notes are personalized and refer to something specific about your interview.

Contact CPD

Center for Professional Development
Sullivan Hall, Suite 200
901 12th Avenue
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122-1090