Risky Cover Letter Move?

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huskydog
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Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by huskydog » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:03 pm

My cover letter for one firm that I feel like I have a natural fit in is based almost all on my current 1L summer job at a different firm/different location. Is it risky that most of my cover letter beyond the standard education background is all based on my current law firm expceirence on why I am applying there and a good fit? I could add in another paragraph on my teamwork skills based on my debate club exepreince as president of the debate club in undergrad. I am K-JD and I have no other professional work experience/internship to speak to to further eleborate my skills/fit but I could talk about my legal reserach/writing skills through my law school clubs but currently my CSO says to use my current firm experience and it doens't matter that I use my current firm experience to talk about my other skills. In other words, how would firms view a 1L to 2L OCI New York cover letter that is lacking in a diversity of experience to back my points as they all draw heavily on a single experience, albeit it is a legal experience that is almost identical to the SA position and firm I am applying to now.

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Stanford4me
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by Stanford4me » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:55 pm

Tagged and will respond when I'm free this afternoon.

huskydog
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by huskydog » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:06 pm

Stanford4me wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:55 pm
Tagged and will respond when I'm free this afternoon.
Can I followup on this when you have the chance? Thanks!

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Stanford4me
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by Stanford4me » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:37 pm

Just to give a holistic response --

You're talking about a cover letter you're wanting to use for a specific firm during OCI that focuses, almost exclusively, on your currentl 1L summer gig? Can you share the range of school you're att? HYS/CCN/T14/T50/Strong Regional/ etc.

huskydog
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by huskydog » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:26 pm

Stanford4me wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:37 pm
Just to give a holistic response --

You're talking about a cover letter you're wanting to use for a specific firm during OCI that focuses, almost exclusively, on your currentl 1L summer gig? Can you share the range of school you're att? HYS/CCN/T14/T50/Strong Regional/ etc.
"You're talking about a cover letter you're wanting to use for a specific firm during OCI that focuses, almost exclusively, on your currentl 1L summer gig? "-- Yes but I think for other firms in the OCI I will give a similar one that focuses very heavily on my current gig.
Lower T14 as in closer to the boundary of non T-14. Also, K-JD without any internships in undergrad like people who did banking , consulting, etc so I dont have other expereince to draw on to say something like I developed my legal writing in my current gig, teamwork in my undergrad internship at a bank and research skills in my consulting internship etc

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Stanford4me
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by Stanford4me » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:29 pm

I don't think it's risky at all to emphasize the current work you're doing, especially since it's some of the only experience you have at this point. Firms know a few things i) a lot of student won't have much (if any) substantive experience, and ii) a lot of students are still going to be figuring out what practice that want to work in.

I think the response you'll garner will range from firms who like that you've emphasized this work, because it aligns with the type of work they do, to firms who look at it almost apathetically, because they don't believe that a rising 2L really knows what kind of work they want to do.

Obvious caveat is to not emphasize your current work if you're sending to a firm that does little to none of that kind of work (from at least a substantive point of view, you can still highlight transferable skills that exist regardless of area).

Hope that helps. Happy to answer any follow up ?s you might have.

huskydog
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by huskydog » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:09 pm

Stanford4me wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:29 pm
I don't think it's risky at all to emphasize the current work you're doing, especially since it's some of the only experience you have at this point. Firms know a few things i) a lot of student won't have much (if any) substantive experience, and ii) a lot of students are still going to be figuring out what practice that want to work in.

I think the response you'll garner will range from firms who like that you've emphasized this work, because it aligns with the type of work they do, to firms who look at it almost apathetically, because they don't believe that a rising 2L really knows what kind of work they want to do.

Obvious caveat is to not emphasize your current work if you're sending to a firm that does little to none of that kind of work (from at least a substantive point of view, you can still highlight transferable skills that exist regardless of area).

Hope that helps. Happy to answer any follow up ?s you might have.
Thank you, sorry, I missed the reply earlier.

By firms looking at it apathetically, does that mean no harm or gains (For a rising 2L to base his/her cover letter all on his/her 1L summer in big law)?

By the caveat, if a firm say does not do arbitration but if they have some litigation that is still within your realm of transferable right even though it is different practice areas or do you mean a narrower realm?

Do you have any views on expressing on your cover letter if you want to do litigation vs transaction? I am doing both in my internship and on my cover eltter I talk about both (my cover letter is all based on my current job since I am k-jd with no real work experience or legal experience) but I am not sure if law firms want you to just pick one because I am not concluding what I like more.

Thank you

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Stanford4me
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by Stanford4me » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:57 pm

huskydog wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:09 pm

Thank you, sorry, I missed the reply earlier.

By firms looking at it apathetically, does that mean no harm or gains (For a rising 2L to base his/her cover letter all on his/her 1L summer in big law)?
Correct. In my experience, if you don't emphasize and particular experience firms won't care because they don't expect you to have a particular practice selected as a rising 2L. They will, however, look for you to emphasize general, transferable skill that apply regardless of practice area.

By the caveat, if a firm say does not do arbitration but if they have some litigation that is still within your realm of transferable right even though it is different practice areas or do you mean a narrower realm?


Correct. there are definitely transferable skills from arbitration to litigation (fact finding, reviewing pleadings, legal research, etc.) that you can emphasize in that scenario.
Do you have any views on expressing on your cover letter if you want to do litigation vs transaction? I am doing both in my internship and on my cover eltter I talk about both (my cover letter is all based on my current job since I am k-jd with no real work experience or legal experience) but I am not sure if law firms want you to just pick one because I am not concluding what I like more.

Thank you

I don't think it really matters. Once you get to the interview/callback stage firms will want to discuss what areas you feel inclined to practice in, but this isn't meant to commit you to a particular practice and MOST firms will expect that you'll want to test out multiple practice groups (this obviously doesn't apply to highly specialized firms).

When I was an SA my firm sent out a questionnaire before we started asking us to assign levels of priority to the various practice areas in the office.

Personally, I'm skeptical of any law student (and a k-jd in particular) who claims to know what practice they want to go in. The only exception would be if you had pre-LS work experience directly related to the practice you want to end up in.

huskydog
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Re: Risky Cover Letter Move?

Post by huskydog » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:18 pm

Stanford4me wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:57 pm
huskydog wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:09 pm

Thank you, sorry, I missed the reply earlier.

By firms looking at it apathetically, does that mean no harm or gains (For a rising 2L to base his/her cover letter all on his/her 1L summer in big law)?
Correct. In my experience, if you don't emphasize and particular experience firms won't care because they don't expect you to have a particular practice selected as a rising 2L. They will, however, look for you to emphasize general, transferable skill that apply regardless of practice area.

By the caveat, if a firm say does not do arbitration but if they have some litigation that is still within your realm of transferable right even though it is different practice areas or do you mean a narrower realm?


Correct. there are definitely transferable skills from arbitration to litigation (fact finding, reviewing pleadings, legal research, etc.) that you can emphasize in that scenario.
Do you have any views on expressing on your cover letter if you want to do litigation vs transaction? I am doing both in my internship and on my cover eltter I talk about both (my cover letter is all based on my current job since I am k-jd with no real work experience or legal experience) but I am not sure if law firms want you to just pick one because I am not concluding what I like more.

Thank you

I don't think it really matters. Once you get to the interview/callback stage firms will want to discuss what areas you feel inclined to practice in, but this isn't meant to commit you to a particular practice and MOST firms will expect that you'll want to test out multiple practice groups (this obviously doesn't apply to highly specialized firms).

When I was an SA my firm sent out a questionnaire before we started asking us to assign levels of priority to the various practice areas in the office.

Personally, I'm skeptical of any law student (and a k-jd in particular) who claims to know what practice they want to go in. The only exception would be if you had pre-LS work experience directly related to the practice you want to end up in.
Thank you!
If you don't mind I had two final follow-ups.

When you say you are skeptical about a K-JD saying interest in an area (because of the current law firm exepreince in that area) will you take off "points" and make it less likey you will hire us or would it just have no effect but no gains either [if we did say we have an interest]

When you say "Correct. In my experience, if you don't emphasize and particular experience firms won't care because they don't expect you to have a particular practice selected as a rising 2L. They will, however, look for you to emphasize general, transferable skill that apply regardless of practice area. "

If we do emphasize our current experience, is it optional to talk about general transferable skills like teamwork and LRW? My impression is that when I say in my firm I currently research about say competition law and produced client updates/memos/presentation etc I think it is a natural inference for the recruiter to think oh this person has LRW experience too. In other words, would saying I wrote memos on different areas of the law at my law firm be the same as a general paragraph on someone who did say a research position in criminal law and hence would have a general tarnsferable skills paragraph on LRW while I do not need another paragrph devoted just to LRW? I have always thought a paragraph on teamwork was a bit immature and not adding much value but idk I have never had a job to know how cover letters are actually treated

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