An Open Cover Letter: The anthem of all law student job seekers
Dear XYZ LLP
By now you have received applications from a large number of law students applying to a very small number of opportunities in the legal field. I, like many of them, would be qualified to begin my career at your firm. I have various experiences, stories, and skills that could be applied to a law firm setting, and I, like all others, wish to apply these skills and experiences to your firm.
Getting in to law school is a fantastic accomplishment, which required unbelievable dedication and a demonstration of our intelligence. Law school itself continues to pose intellectual challenges, and the majority of the law students rise to the occasion: completing assignments, writing exams, and handing in papers. Outside the classroom, many of us commit to extra-curricular activities in order to give back to our communities, apply legal knowledge, and contribute to a wide variety of opportunities available for further learning. Some of us also have outside interests, families, jobs, goals, hobbies and friends, which shape who we are and what we will bring to our place of employment.
As you as a law firm sift through the massive number of qualified candidates, I cannot help but defend every single person who will not get a job at your firm. Because they deserve one likely as much as, or even more, than whomever you ultimately choose. We as law students want to commit to firms so we can begin our careers as lawyers with some much needed training and development that is missing from our $100,000 (or more) legal education. We accept this financial commitment on the basis that—at some point—we will be able to offer stability for our families and ourselves and be able to pursue a life in a field that we have come to love. We love the law for its depth, for its challenge, and for the platform it provides to help people in need. For the vast majority of us qualified students however, we will be beginning our careers outside the world of law firms in order to pay off the mountain of debt we incurred to become lawyers. This is not your fault or a reflection of our abilities, but rather the reality of desiring to work in a country and in a market that cannot adequately support the talent it takes on.
I would be a fantastic addition to your law firm, I would commit myself to bringing in new business, I would learn your systems and adapt to your culture, and I would seek to be the best employee possible. I will not however, attempt to distinguish myself from any one else who desires to work at your firm, so at this point I am simply trying to say that if you choose me, great. If you do not, also fantastic. I will not allow myself to base my worth, or my level of success, on the results of the job application process.
The collective of qualified law students will find a way to use what we have learned in order to improve our standing in the world and improve the world around us. If it is not with your firm today, we will look somewhere else tomorrow.