Court Clerkship Cover Letter

Judicial clerkship cover letter

View this sample cover letter for a judicial clerkship, or download the judicial clerkship cover letter template in Word.

Law clerks like yourself know how to make lots of pieces fall in line—but how are you at putting together your cover letter? To be considered for top judicial clerkship jobs, your cover letter must demonstrate your skills and experience, as well as your passion for working with people. For writing tips, view this sample cover letter for a judicial clerkship, or download the judicial clerkship cover letter template in Word. 

Additionally, you can learn about legal careers and look for law clerk jobs on Monster.

Judicial clerkship cover letter template

Melissa Burns, J.D.
55 Prescott Rd. | Sometown, VA 55555 | (555) 555-5555 |

November 8, 2017

The Hon. Mary Jones
Justice, Supreme Court of Virginia
5 Courthouse Dr.
Sometown, VA 55555

Dear Justice Jones:

I am writing to apply for the judicial clerkship for the Supreme Court of Virginia advertised on Monster.

As a recent honors graduate of XYZ University Law School, I offer a record of achievement both in the classroom as well as through experience as…

  • A judicial intern for The Hon. Walter Jeffries (4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Commonwealth of Virginia)
  • An active participant in the “Innocence Project” (concurrent with my law school studies)

For the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, I was chosen for a highly competitive judicial internship. I helped with docket management, performed legal research for civil and criminal cases, drafted memoranda for judicial opinions and assisted the judge during appeals and other court proceedings. My work for The Hon. Walter Jeffries cemented my passion for appellate law, and I was described by the judge as…

“…one of the finest judicial interns I’ve ever worked with…demonstrated a discerning intellect and substantive knowledge of the law and applicable standards for case review and appeals…a hard-working individual with a clear passion for and promising future in appellate law…”

The Hon. Walter Jeffries, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Commonwealth of VA

During my yearlong participation in the Innocence Project, I helped investigate and litigate wrongful convictions of inmates throughout the Commonwealth of VA. In this role, I interviewed potential clients and witnesses; reviewed case files and collected records; and drafted pleadings and briefs. One of the cases my team worked on led to the reversal of a wrongfully convicted death row inmate, and also helped change state laws regarding exculpatory evidence.

Since I plan to practice in the area of appellate law, this clerkship would be an invaluable experience and opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of Virginia’s highest court of appeals. If selected, I will be focused on exceeding your expectations and serving the court with excellence and integrity.

I can be reached at (555) 555-5555 or Thank you for your time.


Melissa Burns, J.D.

Enclosures: Résumé, Commonwealth of VA Application, Responses to Supplemental Questions, Sealed Official Transcripts from XYZ University Law School, Reference Sheet, Three Letters of Recommendation

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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