Professional General Counsel Cover Letter Examples for 2024

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Your general counsel cover letter must immediately highlight your legal expertise and leadership abilities. Make it clear why you are the standout choice for the role. Emphasize your track record of providing sound legal advice and your capacity to steer the company through complex legal landscapes. Let them see your value by showcasing tangible achievements that align with the demands of the position.

Writing a general counsel cover letter can be a challenging task. Like many, you've probably started your job search and realized a compelling letter is required—one that goes beyond rehashing your resume. It should spotlight your proudest professional achievement through a memorable story, maintain a formal tone, and steer clear of tired clichés. Remember, conciseness is key; your cover letter should capture attention within one page. Let's craft a letter that sets you apart.

Discover our guide on writing your general counsel cover letter with tips and tricks on how to:

  • Introduce your profile to catch recruiters' attention;
  • Use professional templates and examples to make sure your general counsel cover letter follows the best industry standards;
  • Settle on your most story-worthy achievement to shine a light on what makes your application unique;
  • Write a general counsel cover letter, even when you lack professional experience.

Ready to start with the basics: upload your resume to Enhancv's AI, below, to see the general counsel cover letter it would write for you.

General Counsel cover letter example

Carla Jensen

San Francisco, CA


Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm reaching out regarding the General Counsel position. Having delved into the core values and recent endeavors of your company, the alignment with my professional expertise and the impact I've shown at industry-leading pet care organizations is clear.

While serving as General Counsel for Petco, I orchestrated the international expansion plan which saw us enter 5 new markets with great success. Not only did this involve complex legal navigation, but the deployment of a nuanced risk management framework which cut lawsuits by 45%, safeguarding the company's reputation as it scaled.

I am eager to bring this strategic approach, together with my years of leadership and legal acumen, to your esteemed company. My dedication to continuous professional development and passion for animal welfare fit seamlessly with your organization's ethos for excellence and social responsibility.

Carla Jensen, General Counsel
What makes this cover letter good:

  • Specific Achievements: The cover letter mentions a key achievement (orchestrating international expansion and reducing lawsuits) which demonstrates the candidate's strategic legal acumen and success in a similar role.
  • Alignment with Company Values: The candidate explicitly aligns personal values with those of the prospective employer, suggesting a good cultural fit and an understanding of the company's ethos in excellence and social responsibility.
  • Leadership and Expertise: Mentioning the role of General Counsel at Petco showcases the candidate's leadership experience and legal expertise within the same industry, indicating readiness for the role and the ability to contribute from day one.
  • Quantifiable Impact: By quantifying the reduction in lawsuits, the candidate provides tangible evidence of their ability to create a positive, impactful change within an organization.

What should your general counsel cover letter look like - formatting and organizing your information

Have you ever wondered what are the must-have sections you need to include in your general counsel cover letter? Our builder sets those up for you with:

  • Header - dedicated to your contact information, the role you're applying for, and the date (don't forget to include your name);
  • Greeting and opening paragraph - to create a personalized and memorable experience for recruiters;
  • Body paragraph - emphasizing your skill set and knowledge that aligns with the role and helps you to stand out;
  • Closing paragraph - leaving a great impression and ending with an optional signature.

Use a cover letter template to discover the best formatting for your general counsel cover letter: that is single-spaced paragraphs and wrapping your content in a one-inch margin.

Ensure that both your resume and general counsel cover letter are in the same font. Stand apart from the crowd by using modern, yet simple fonts, like Chivo and Rubik, instead of the overused Arial and Times New Roman.

Did you know that the Applicant Tracker System (or ATS) won't be assessing your general counsel cover letter? Instead, submit your profile in PDF to recruiters to keep the same formatting and the design intact.

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The top sections on a general counsel cover letter

  • Header with Contact Information: This section should contain your name, address, phone number, email, and the date, facilitating easy contact and reference, especially important for a general counsel who must demonstrate attention to detail and professionalism from the outset.
  • Opening Greeting: Address the hiring manager or committee directly, if possible, which shows due diligence in researching the firm or organization, a crucial skill for a general counsel who will need to navigate various professional relationships.
  • Introductory Paragraph: Begin with a brief overview of your legal experience and expertise, highlighting your understanding of the multifaceted role of a general counsel, which is key to capturing the recruiter's attention immediately.
  • Experience and Skills Body Sections: Include specific examples of legal achievements, knowledge of compliance and regulatory frameworks, and any experience with corporate governance, risk management, or litigation, as these are pivotal competencies for a general counsel.
  • Closing and Call to Action: Conclude with a strong, forward-looking statement expressing your eagerness to further discuss how your qualifications align with the company's legal needs, demonstrating the initiative and proactive approach vital for a successful general counsel.
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Key qualities recruiters search for in a candidate’s cover letter

  • Legal expertise and qualifications: Essential to provide sound legal advice and navigate complex legal issues unique to the organization’s industry.
  • Corporate governance knowledge: Critical for ensuring the company adheres to laws and regulations and for advising on corporate structure and policy.
  • Risk management capabilities: Necessary for identifying and mitigating legal risks to protect the organization's interests.
  • Strong negotiation and communication skills: Key for effectively representing the company in transactions and disputes while maintaining relationships with stakeholders.
  • Business acumen: Important to align legal strategies with business goals and to contribute to the company's overall strategic planning.
  • Ethical integrity and professional judgment: Fundamental to maintaining the trust of the organization and ensuring compliance with ethical standards in all legal matters.

Personalizing your general counsel cover letter salutation

Always aim to address the recruiter from the get-go of your general counsel cover letter.


  • the friendly tone (e.g. "Dear Paul" or "Dear Caroline") - if you've previously chatted up with them on social media and are on a first-name basis;
  • the formal tone (e.g. "Dear Ms. Gibbs" or "Dear Ms. Swift") - if you haven't had any previous conversation with them and have discovered the name of the recruiter on LinkedIn or the company website;
  • the polite tone (e.g. "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear HR Team") - at all costs aim to avoid the "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam", as both greetings are very old-school and vague.
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List of salutations you can use

  • Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],
  • Dear [Mr./Ms./Dr.] [Last Name],
  • Dear [Hiring Committee],
  • Dear [Company Name] Team,
  • Dear [Department Name] Manager,
  • Dear [Job Title Hiring Manager],

Get creative with your general counsel cover letter introduction

Recruiters are going to assess plenty of candidate profiles for the role. Thus, anything you do to stand out will win you brownie points.

Use your general counsel cover letter introduction to share something memorable about your experience.

But before you go down the rabbit hole of creativity and humor, align your message with the company culture.

For example, if you are applying for a role in some startup, use those first two sentences to tell a funny story (about your experience) to quickly connect with the recruiter.

Intro Paragraph
With a track record of providing robust legal guidance and fostering proactive compliance cultures, I am drawn to the innovative spirit that propels [Company Name] to industry leadership. It is the firm's commitment to ethical business practices and continuous growth that align closely with my professional philosophy and legal expertise.

What to write in the middle or body of your general counsel cover letter

Here's where it gets tricky.

Your general counsel cover letter body should present you in the best light possible and, at the same time, differ from your resume.

Don't be stuck in making up new things or copy-pasting from your resume. Instead, select just one achievement from your experience.

Use it to succinctly tell a story of the job-crucial skills and knowledge this taught you.

Your general counsel cover letter is the magic card you need to further show how any organization or team would benefit from working with you.

Body Paragraph
Leading the legal framework redesign for a $500M merger, I harnessed my expertise in M&A and compliance to reduce potential liabilities by 25%. This involved meticulous contract analysis and strategic risk mitigation, underlying my dedication to protecting and advancing corporate interests through judicial acumen and proactive legal stewardship.

Ending your general counsel cover letter: a closing paragraph with a promise

If you're thinking of finishing your general counsel cover letter with a "Sincerely yours" or "Thanks for the consideration," you need to read on.

End the final paragraph of your general counsel cover letter with a twist:

  • a promise - of how you'd grow as a professional, part of the company, or improve organizational metrics;
  • a call to action - prompt interviewers with some follow-up actions if they are interested in your profile.

A personalized ending would surely help you to stand out by being a memorable candidate.

Closing Paragraph
I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to discuss how my expertise aligns with your needs and to schedule a meeting at your earliest convenience.

Addressing limited to no experience in the general counsel cover letter

There's nothing to worry about if you lack professional experience.

Your general counsel cover letter could bridge the gaps in your professional history by focusing on what matters most to recruiters, that's either:

  • skills - focusing on transferable ones you've gained, thanks to your life experience (e.g. volunteering, certificates, etc.);
  • achievements - select the most relevant and noteworthy one from your history (e.g. education, projects, etc.);
  • motivation - describe how you envision your professional growth in the next up to five years, thanks to this opportunity.

Key takeaways

Winning at your job application game starts with a clear and concise general counsel cover letter that:

  • Has single-spaced paragraphs, is wrapped in a one-inch margin, and uses the same font as the general counsel resume;
  • Is personalized to the recruiter (using their name in the greeting) and the role (focusing on your one key achievement that answers job requirements);
  • Includes an introduction that helps you stand out and show what value you'd bring to the company;
  • Substitutes your lack of experience with an outside-of-work success, that has taught you valuable skills;
  • Ends with a call for follow-up or hints at how you'd improve the organization, team, or role.
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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about a career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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