How to write a law internship cover letter (with example)

Updated 7 September 2023

Securing an internship opportunity is typically a key step in the early part of your law career. Such opportunities are highly competitive with a limited number of openings, so making a strong first impression is essential for being a successful candidate. Knowing how to use your cover letter to make a favourable impression is a valuable employability skill. In this article, we define what a law internship cover letter is, look at how to write one and provide a template and example as a reference.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What is a law internship cover letter?

A law internship cover letter is essentially a letter of introduction to a prospective internship provider. As part of your application materials, it typically accompanies your CV and any other application documents, such as your academic transcript. A cover letter supports your CV, emphasising key details that make you a competitive candidate for a recruiter. This document lets a hiring manager learn more about your motivations, skills and experience. This shows them why you are an excellent intern choice.

An internship can be a crucial part of your legal training and early career. You might pursue internship opportunities while completing your undergraduate degree to gain practical experience and make yourself more competitive for employment opportunities upon graduating. Even if you're not studying for an undergraduate law degree, you may still wish to pursue a legal internship if you're considering a postgraduate law conversion course. Internship providers typically look to recruit candidates with certain personality traits and abilities. Your CV details much of this, but a cover letter is your chance to provide personal context.

Related: Can you become a lawyer without going to law school?

How to write a law internship cover letter

The format and structure of your cover letter can be as important as the actual content. Follow the steps below to ensure you draft a properly structured, effective cover letter:

1. Put your details in a document header

One key structural element of a cover letter is properly displaying your name and contact information. This ensures that recruiters can easily contact you with follow-up questions or invite you to an interview. Putting these personal details in a professional header containing your name, email address and contact number makes them easy to find.

Related: How to create an effective CV header (with tips and examples)

2. Introduce yourself to the recruiter

Begin the body of your letter by addressing the reader. Use the recruiter's name if you know it. If not, Dear Hiring Manager or a similar generic salutation is acceptable. After this, briefly introduce yourself. Summarise your experience, education and relevant training. Consider mentioning your current studies. Talk about your progress in your studies and how much relevant practical law experience you have, if applicable. Summarise your future aims and how they align with the internship opportunity.

Related: When and how to use 'Dear Hiring Manager' in a cover letter

3. Explain what motivated you to apply

Use your cover letter to explain your career motivations to the internship provider. Specifically, focus on what about this opportunity interests you. Research the nature of the internship and the employer. For example, you've focused your legal studies around humanitarian and human rights issues, so you're approaching a human rights solicitor's firm as it aligns with your overall ambitions and values. Try to showcase your passion. Doing so might better motivate the recruiter to offer you an internship opportunity.

Related: How to write a competitive law student CV (plus examples)

4. Show the recruiter why you're well suited to the internship

Try to highlight why the recruiter wants you as part of their team. Talk about your training, strengths, aptitudes and anything that increases your value to the organisation as a potential intern. If you have any relevant academic achievements, highlight them. Perhaps you've undertaken elective modules in specific legal areas. Showcase anything about you the recruiter might value. Beyond your technical competencies and academic aptitude, this also includes soft skills such as communication.

Related: 7 key strengths to help you advance your career prospects

5. Encourage follow-up contact

As you bring your letter to a close, encourage the internship provider to continue a dialogue with you. Include a call to action for follow-up contact. This reinforces your interest in and enthusiasm for the opportunity. Write politely, thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration. Encourage them to contact you if they have any queries or if there's anything further they require from you at this stage of the application process.

Related: How to follow up on a job application (with example)

6. Use a complimentary close to finish

After you've completed the body of the letter, sign off using a complimentary close. If you addressed the cover letter to a specific person, consider using Yours sincerely. If you were more general in your salutation, perhaps write Yours faithfully. Then, sign your name. If sending your cover letter electronically, use an electronic signature or type your name. If delivering a physical application, finish your cover letter with a handwritten signature. Thoroughly proofread everything you've written, correcting any spelling or grammar mistakes before sending your internship application.

Related: What is an electronic signature? (Plus types and benefits)

Template cover letter for a law internship application

Here is a template you can use to help establish the overall structure of your letter when applying for a law internship:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City]


[Company name]

Dear Hiring Manager,

[Express excitement for the position, including the role title and the company name.] [Introduce yourself by explaining why you're applying for the job, how it aligns with your career goals and what specifically draws you to the company.]

[Explain your relevant experience and qualifications without repeating what's in your resume.] [Highlight one to two relevant achievements with facts and data when possible.] [Explain why you'd be a good fit for the company.] [Optional: address employment gap or career transition.]

[Express gratitude]. [Summarise qualification]. [Restate interest in role]. [Call to action + availability and preferred contact method].

[Complimentary close],

Related: How to write a legal intern CV (with template)

Example cover letter for a law internship application

Here's an example cover letter that a candidate for a legal internship might write:

Jacob Timmins 07443 364910 | | Liverpool

13th January 2023

Dorman & Condemine Solicitors

Dear Hiring Manager,

I write this letter in support of my application for your summer legal internship programme. I am an undergraduate law student, soon to enter my second year of studies. For my first year, I achieved first-class honours-level marks in all my modules. It's my ambition to forge a career providing community legal support, which is why I'm approaching your well-respected firm specifically.

It was the services you provide that first set me on the path to a career in law. When I was a child, my family used your firm's legal advice to help sort probate issues following my grandparents' passing. We were all comforted by the support you offered, and I became fascinated by the profession. In fact, I completed my high-school work experience at your offices. I studied law at A-Level, receiving the law award for the highest marks in my college and securing a scholarship to study law at university.

I'm on a path to develop the most comprehensive legal skill set I can. In addition to my core studies, I'm also a member of the university law society. This year, my group won an inter-university mock trial competition. I also volunteer in community engagement projects through my university and independently. I am a high academic achiever, strong communicator and highly motivated individual. This internship is a great opportunity for me to develop my legal experience, but I feel my talents can be a great benefit to your organisation also.

It was your firm and its mission that first sparked my interest in the legal profession. I cannot think of anywhere I'd rather begin taking my first steps on my career journey than with your prestigious organisation. Please find attached a full copy of my CV, my academic transcript and references. If you have any queries or require anything further from me at this stage, please contact me. I'm readily available by phone or email, according to your preferences.

Yours faithfully,
Jacob Timmins

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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