Legal Cover Letters Harvard

The Journal of Law & Gender is seeking submissions for our spring student note. Submissions should be about the wide world of law and gender, sex, or sexuality. Notes must be no more than 15,000 words. Intersectional notes are especially encouraged. Please remove your name from the file and email to hlsjlg@gmail.com by January 20th at 11:59pm.

The JLG Student Note Competition is a writing competition only open to HLS students. The winner(s) will be published in the Summer 2017 issue of JLG. Feel free to send any questions you have regarding this process, as well as completed submissions, to hlsjlg@mail.law.harvard.edu. For instructions on submission materials, please see below.

Q. What’s a Student Note?
A. A Student Note is a law review article written by an HLS student. Student Notes are no longer than 15,000 words, which is a little shorter than a regular, full-fledged article, but they are otherwise similar in content, consisting of original, in-depth analyses and commentary on a legal or policy issue. Topics and styles can vary quite a bit. For some examples of Notes that JLG has published, check out the old volumes of JLG (http://harvardjlg.com/print-journal/archive/) and take a look at the pieces listed under “Student Writing,” “Notes,” and “Comments.”

Q. What’s the JLG Student Note Competition?
A.
The JLG Student Note Competition is a writing competition whose winner(s) will be published in the Summer 2017 issue of JLG. The Note Competition is open only to HLS students.

Q. What should I be doing now?
A.
Perhaps you have already begun thinking about gender-related legal topics that interest you based on materials you have encountered in class or on your own, and you have begun formulating some original ideas or arguments. If you have not yet begun actual research and/or writing related to such topics, it is probably a good idea to start soon. Keep in mind that you can submit something that you are preparing (or have prepared) for class: think of the papers you have to write for your various classes this semester and see if you can think up of gender-related topics to write about for them.

Q. What’s the selection process like?
A:
The deadline for articles will be January 20, 2017. The Executive Submissions Editors will, along with the JLG Senior Board, pick the winners.

Q. My paper is ready. How do I submit a piece?
A.
Submissions should include your paper along with a cover letter. The cover letter should include:
1. Author’s Name, Year, and Contact information
2. Abstract of the paper
3. Explanation of the papers original contribution, if it is not already in the abstract
Please email your submission (your paper and cover letter) to  hlsjlg@mail.law.harvard.edu with “2017 Student Note Competition” in the email subject line.

Q. I think I may want to submit a piece but I’m not sure. Can I get help?
A.
Yes! Our Senior Board can help with questions and concerns such as: choosing/refining a topic, conducting research and writing, format and style, logistics of writing a paper in conjunction with a seminar or as an independent 2-credit writing project, requirements of the Competition, benefits of publishing, etc. Please contact hlsjlg@mail.law.harvard.edu if you are considering submitting a piece but feel apprehensive for whatever reason. If you decide to submit a note, please send it to  hlsjlg@mail.law.harvard.edu with the above materials.

Cover Letter Advice


The cover letter is a sample of your written work and should be brief (preferably one page), persuasive, well-reasoned, and grammatically perfect.  

A good cover letter:

  • Tells the employer who you are (e.g., a first-year student at YLS) and what you are seeking (e.g., a summer intern position);
  • Shows that you know about the particular employer and the kind of work the employer does (i.e., civil or criminal work, direct client service, "impact" cases, antitrust litigation); 
  • Demonstrates your writing skills;
  • Demonstrates your commitment to the work of that particular employer and converys that you have something to contribute;
  • Shows that you and that employer are a good "fit;" and
  • Tells the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.

 Determine to whom you should address the cover letter. If you are applying to law firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For NALP member firms, use the NALP Directory to obtain contact information. (NALP also provides a useful mail merge feature for generating multiple letters). For other employers, you can refer to their websites, or contact the office to determine to whom your materials should be directed. 

 Although there are many ways to write a cover letter, the following format has worked well for students in the past.

  • In the first paragraph of your cover letter, explain why you are sending your resume to the employer: “I am a first-year student at Yale Law School and am seeking a position with your organization for the summer 20xx.” If you are applying to public interest employers and are eligible for SPIF funding, you can mention that here.
  • Use the second paragraph to explain your interest in the employer, including your interest in the employer’s geographic location, reputation, specialty area, or public service.
  • In the third paragraph, stress why this employer should hire you. Elaborate on the qualifications that you possess that will make you an exceptional summer intern or attorney.
  • The final paragraph should thank the employer for taking the time to review your application and tell them how to reach you. You may wish to state that you will contact the employer in a couple of weeks to follow-up and then actually do so. This is especially true with public interest employers who are often understaffed and will appreciate your extra effort.

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