Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

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DwightSchruteFarms
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:19 am

Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:44 pm

Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to improve the following Cover Letter? Friend sent it over and I wanted to get more feedback before I sent it back. Let me know what you think. His stats, for those wondering: T1, Median , CA


Dear _______,

Please accept the enclosed copy of my resume as an application for the position of a ______ with your firm.

I have held an interest in the field of ______ since the commencement of my legal studies. This affinity initially developed while I worked as Paralegal for Littler Mendelson in their Workers’ Compensation and Employment Groups. During my time at Littler Mendelson, I gained first-hand experience on the adversarial nature of litigation and the importance of persuasive writing. By proofreading, editing, and writing various court pleadings for attorneys, I was able to calibrate my passion for writing towards the legal field, and more specifically, for the Workers’ Compensation and Employment Groups.

After working at Littler Mendelson for 4 years, I was hired as a Law Clerk for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. During this time, I reviewed complaints, conducted legal research, and wrote a plethora of persuasive briefs for my supervising attorney. On a number of occasions, I accompanied supervising attorneys to court to assist in the deposing of potential witnesses and experts. I felt that my experience in the Public Defender’s Office provided me with an insight into the procedures and processes of the court system not readily attainable by attorneys.

Two years after I started working at the Public Defender’s Office, I was offered a position as a Summer Associate at the 123 Firm, where I was able to utilize the skills I developed in my previous two jobs. I wrote multiple memorandums, client letters and pleadings while also assisting supervising attorneys in Discovery for those cases as well. I felt that this internship, in particular, provided me with the necessary experience of merging my passion for persuasive writing with my knowledge of the court’s processes in order to photograph my client’s position in the most favorable light.

Once you have had an opportunity to review my resume, please do contact me at XXXXXXXXX for further reference.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DwightSchruteFarms

Agent
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:03 pm

Re: Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

Postby Agent » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:23 am

Good call seeking help with this—it needs work.

I would advise the author to begin by asking a legal writing professor for comments. After that, I would recommend asking several attorneys for help paring down its content.

DwightSchruteFarms wrote:Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to improve the following Cover Letter? Friend sent it over and I wanted to get more feedback before I sent it back. Let me know what you think. His stats, for those wondering: T1, Median , CA


Dear _______,

Please accept the enclosed copy of my resume as an application for the position of a ______ with your firm.

I have held an interest in the field of ______ since the commencement of my legal studies. This affinity initially developed while I worked as Paralegal for Littler Mendelson in their Workers’ Compensation and Employment Groups. During my time at Littler Mendelson, I gained first-hand experience on the adversarial nature of litigation and the importance of persuasive writing. By proofreading, editing, and writing various court pleadings for attorneys, I was able to calibrate my passion for writing towards the legal field, and more specifically, for the Workers’ Compensation and Employment Groups.

After working at Littler Mendelson for 4 years, I was hired as a Law Clerk for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. During this time, I reviewed complaints, conducted legal research, and wrote a plethora of persuasive briefs for my supervising attorney. On a number of occasions, I accompanied supervising attorneys to court to assist in the deposing of potential witnesses and experts. I felt that my experience in the Public Defender’s Office provided me with an insight into the procedures and processes of the court system not readily attainable by attorneys.

Two years after I started working at the Public Defender’s Office, I was offered a position as a Summer Associate at the 123 Firm, where I was able to utilize the skills I developed in my previous two jobs. I wrote multiple memorandums, client letters and pleadings while also assisting supervising attorneys in Discovery for those cases as well. I felt that this internship, in particular, provided me with the necessary experience of merging my passion for persuasive writing with my knowledge of the court’s processes in order to photograph my client’s position in the most favorable light.

Once you have had an opportunity to review my resume, please do contact me at XXXXXXXXX for further reference.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DwightSchruteFarms

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22806
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:41 am

DwightSchruteFarms wrote:Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to improve the following Cover Letter? Friend sent it over and I wanted to get more feedback before I sent it back. Let me know what you think. His stats, for those wondering: T1, Median , CA


Dear _______,

[I usually open with something like, "I am a XL at Y Law School, and I am writing to apply for your position as _____."] Please accept the enclosed copy of my resume as an application for the position of a ______ with your firm.

I have held an interest in the field of ______ since the commencement of my legal studies. This affinity initially first developed became interested in [whatever field - Labor and Employment Law?] while I worked working as Paralegal for Littler Mendelson in their Workers’ Compensation and Employment Groups. During my time at Littler Mendelson there, I gained first-hand experience on experienced the adversarial nature of litigation [not super fond of this - what did this person actually do? observe court proceedings? work on motions? what was their litigation experience exactly?] and learned the importance of persuasive writing [not super fond of this either - something about learning what makes for effective persuasive writing would probably be better]. By pProofreading, editing, and writing various court pleadings for attorneys honed [or improved/developed] my legal writing skills , I was able to calibrate my passion for writing towards the legal field [what? no. I don't even know what this means], and more specifically, for the familiarized me with issues central to Workers’ Compensation and Employment law Groups.

After working at Littler Mendelson for 4 years, I was hired as a Law Clerk for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. [was this after starting law school? before? the titles of Law Clerk here and Summer Associate below sound like the author went to law school after being a paralegal, but if so, that should be made clear. This is why it's useful to start off by identifying year in school and school, so the reader knows exactly who they're dealing with. In fact, it might be helpful to use LS to bookend these sections a bit more: "I first developed an interest in L/E law as a paralegal..." "After working as a paralegal, I decided to attend law school, and during my 1L summer, I worked as a Law Clerk for...." "During my 2L summer, I worked as an associate at Firm 123..." Not claiming that's the best wording, but it would probably help the reader here to know which experience was pre-LS and which was during. Of course, if I misunderstand and none of it was during, that needs to be cleared up, too], I reviewed complaints, conducted legal research, and wrote a plethora of [too vague - can you give a number? otherwise, just "wrote"] persuasive briefs for my supervising attorney. On a number of occasions,I also accompanied supervising attorneys to court to assist in the deposing of potential witnesses and experts. I felt that myThis experience in the Public Defender’s Office provided me with an insight into the procedures and processes of the court system not readily attainable by attorneys. [??but you went to court with attorneys who presumably got the same insight into the procedures and processes? do you mean non-attorneys?]

Two years after I started working at the Public Defender’s Office later, I was offered a position as a Summer Associate at the 123 Firm, where I was able to utilize [never never never use the word "utilize"] further developed the my legal skills I developed in my previous two jobs [though you could probably cut everything after 123 Firm]. I wrote multiple memorandums, client letters, and pleadings while also assisting supervising attorneys in Ddiscovery for those cases as well. I felt that tThis internship [internship sounds weird in this context - for profit institutions can't offer unpaid internships, and a summer associate position is usually called that, or just a job, not called an internship], in particular, provided me with the necessary experience of merging my passion for taught me how to combine persuasive writing with myknowledge of thecourt’s processes in orderto photograph [no] best advocate for my client’s position in the most favorable light.

[also, did either the Law Clerk position or the Summer Associate position focus on L/E law? the letter opens as if that's going to be the focus - selling the author as a L/E person - but that gets dropped after the first legal position. If the author is trying to present themselves as a L/E person, did they take any relevant classes in LS? I would try to pare down even further description of the duties in each legal position and highlight what related to L/E specifically, and what would be most relevant for the position for which the author's applying.]

Once you have had an opportunity to review my resume, please do contact me at XXXXXXXXX for further reference. [this just reads awkwardly to me - I usually say something like "I would be happy to speak to you further about this position, and may be reached at [number]. Please let me know if you have any questions or I can provide additional information."]

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DwightSchruteFarms

GertrudePerkins
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:38 pm

Re: Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

Postby GertrudePerkins » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:34 am

A. Nony Mouse already did the heavy lifting, but I just wanted point out a few words that really jumped out as bad to me: "affinity" "utilize" "plethora" "calibrate" and (WTF?) "photograph". Also, the plural of "memorandum" is "memoranda." The overall effect was of someone trying a bit too hard, kind of like when high school seniors feel compelled to insert words they only learned for the SAT into their college applications.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:27 pm

You mentioned you had an SA, but then in the same paragraph called it an internship. Also, this is so bad it seems fake, like it was taken from a legal writing book as an example for students to practice their editing skills.

Too wordy, seems desperate, and uses redundant phrases. You don't need to say "multiple memoranda," because memoranda is plural - of course there is more than one. Write like a normal person. No one ever says "I was able to calibrate my passion...."

Someone already said this, but "photograph my client's postion" - what the hell?

Why is "Discovery" capitalized?

"Please do contact me"? No, say "Please contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx."

Go through and everywhere you see a word that could be deleted without changing the sentence’s meaning, do that.

Good luck.

DwightSchruteFarms
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:19 am

Re: Please Critique My Friend's Cover Letter

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:32 pm

Thank you all for the help! I think I've edited the majority of it down and I'm sending it back to him




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