What to include in a cover letter for a DA position?

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What to include in a cover letter for a DA position?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:21 pm

Good afternoon everyone,

I'm a recent graduate getting ready to apply for a few District Attorney I positions in California. I've passed the bar, of course, but my legal employment history consists entirely of law clerk positions, so I do not have any formal trial experience aside from trial practice courses and mock trial competitions.

My grades are decent, but not great. I was in the middle of the class and was not on any journals. Bad move on my part, I know. I really enjoy criminal law and have some good experience from my first and third internships and have decent letters of recommendation, though I don't know what my judges will say about me behind my back; I probably could have worked a bit harder. I'll be starting pro bono work with a local legal aid program, though not in a representative capacity (I don't want to be in the middle of representing someone if I should find myself with a job offer).

Should I keep it short and sterile and simply express my interest in the position and expound upon the information listed in my resume? Or should I try and put a little heart in it and talk about my passion for criminal law (I'm a profoundly uninteresting person, so that will be a little difficult)?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to include in a cover letter for a DA position?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:00 pm

No one really reads cover letters, so less is more.

All you really need is: which position you're applying for (be specific), when you would want to start, one sentence describing your interest,* what you're enclosing in your application (resume, transcript, writing sample, etc.), and that you look forward to hearing back from them.

* The only difference between writing one sentence and five sentences explaining your passion is going to make is that you're going to put the reader to sleep. DA's don't write much as it is (compared to civil litigants), so show them how concise you can be.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: What to include in a cover letter for a DA position?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:No one really reads cover letters, so less is more.


This isn't exactly accurate. No one reads every cover letter that's sent to them, but I think cover letters are read before an actual interview takes place (or at a minimum before an offer is made). It's pretty easy to read the 5-8 cover letters for the 5-8 applicants you're interviewing. Frankly, I don't think I've ever made it through an interviewing --> offer process without my cover letter being read (things seemed to be brought up during interviews by at least one of the interviewers that they would not have known without having read my cover letter). Reading cover letters is also an easy way of culling out applicants out of the 5-8 people who the DA (or whoever) chose to interview. For example, if you see something weird in there that suggests the person mass mailed applications and wasn't genuinely interested in the employer (e.g. if you work in litigation and you see something in the cover letter about how the applicant has a demonstrated interest in corporate).




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