how to write a lawyer resume

by Anibal Legros PhD 9 min read

  1. Use good design to ensure your lawyer resume stands out. ...
  2. Lead with your lawyer profile or summary statement. ...
  3. Showcase your specialized skills. ...
  4. Use action words to strengthen employment history. ...
  5. Focus on relevant education. ...
  6. Demonstrate that you're tech-savvy. ...
  7. What is your ideal legal practice area?
Mar 2, 2022

How do you write a good resume for a lawyer?

9 Tips for Writing a Great Legal ResumeKeep it short and sweet. ... Education or experience first? ... Provide a brief narrative with action verbs. ... Tailor your resume for each job. ... Think simple elegant layout. ... Emphasize relevant professional skills. ... Highlight your publications. ... Keep hobbies and interests pertinent to the role.More items...•

How long should a lawyer's resume be?

Two-Page Resumes Are The Norm For Lawyers Unless you are an entry-level attorney, chances are your resume will be two pages. Don't try squeezing all the information into a single page just to fit that one-page myth. Your resume should be as long as it needs to be in order to properly convey your experience.

What do law firms look for on resumes?

List a strong GPA and any relevant awards or honors. Law firms first look to see whether students meet their academic criteria. If you are applying to a firm that has a GPA cutoff that you meet, list your GPA. Otherwise, the firm may assume that you fall below the cutoff and decline to consider you further.

Do Lawyers use CV or resume?

Law school graduates and experienced lawyers often use CVs to highlight their knowledge and skills and to secure employment. If you want a position at a law firm or private practice, it's important that you understand how this application tool can impact your application.

How do I make my legal resume stand out?

Use good design to ensure your lawyer resume stands out. ... Lead with your lawyer profile or summary statement. ... Showcase your specialized skills. ... Use action words to strengthen employment history. ... Focus on relevant education. ... Demonstrate that you're tech-savvy. ... What is your ideal legal practice area?More items...•

What should a legal CV look like?

Tips for writing a CVKeep it short – about two pages.Explain any gaps, such as time spent on a career break.Put the most important information first.Tailor your CV to the role you're applying for.Make sure it highlights the key skills employers are looking for.Give examples as evidence to back up your skills.More items...•

Should you put your bar score on your resume?

When applying for positions immediately after being admitted, it is probably best to put bar information at the top of the résumé. After practicing for a time, most attorneys put this section as the last on their résumé.

What is a JD resume?

Be consistent in all sections of your resume. For example, if you use the abbreviation “B.A.” for your undergraduate degree, use “J.D.” for your law degree; if you write out Bachelor of Arts, write out Juris Doctor. The same applies to state names (either spell them all out or abbreviate them all).

What does JD stand for in law?

Juris DoctorTo become a lawyer, you'll need to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. The J.D. degree is the “first degree of law,” according to the ABA. Most full-time, ABA-accredited law school programs are three years, but part-time and online hybrid J.D. programs can take four years.

What skills do you need to be a lawyer?

Examples of lawyer skillsAnalytical and research skills. Lawyers rely heavily on their ability to perform deep research into topics related to cases they work on. ... Attention to detail. ... Organizational skills. ... Time management. ... Persuasive communication. ... Written communication skills. ... Interpersonal skills. ... Technical skills.More items...•

How to write a lawyer's CV?

The bullet point list of your past positions should be listed in reverse chronological order (most recent jobs first), and each job should have a sub-list of your accomplishments, achievements and milestones (based on your duties and cases). Make sure to use strong action verbs and powerful nouns and adjectives, and avoid overly complex grammatical structures that bloat your descriptions. Be detailed without being too wordy.

How to impress recruiters as a lawyer?

You can impress recruiters with concise, action-oriented descriptions of your cases and how you resolved them. Also give examples of how you coped with working under tight deadlines or when the stakes were high. These specifics will tell firms that you know how to deal with pressure, a key attribute for a lawyer. Focus on your achievements, challenges, and accomplishments to turn this section into a showcase for your growth as a lawyer.

How long is a resume scan?

The recruiting firm SocialTalent suggests a 30-second resume scan (the phase where a hiring manager decides whether to move on to the next applicant) broken down as follows:

What is hybrid resume?

A hybrid resume format may suit you if you are a career changer or are entering the legal job market for the first time. Functional resumes are not favored by recruiters. You should only consider using this format if you are in a highly technical or specialized field as it allows you to emphasize your skills over your work history.

How much of the work lawyers do could be automated?

Up to 23 percent of the work that lawyers do could be automated by adapting technology that already exists, according to a McKinsey Global Institute analysis. In light of this, make sure you highlight your social side (while not ignoring your competencies). This emphasizes your value as a human employee.

What do civil rights lawyers do?

Civil Rights: These lawyers fight for individual rights and often work for non-profits or public interest firms.

What does an animal lawyer do?

Animal: Ensure animal welfare; these lawyers usually work for animal rights organizations or law firms.

What should the opening paragraph of a resume for a lawyer tell the judge?

A brief's opening paragraph should tell the judge what the case is about. Likewise, the opening paragraph of a resume for a lawyer should summarize your resume. If you've got more experience than Horace Rumpole, use a resume summary. It shows your best legal achievements that fit the job.

How to tailor an attorney resume?

Tailor your attorney resume to each job you apply to. Do that by reading the job offer carefully. Pay special attention to the skills and responsibilities in it.

What happens if a lawyer is not featured on your resume?

If it's not prominently featured on your lawyer resume, she may move on.

What to say to a mandamus interviewer?

Stipulate them with academic achievements that get the interview like it was ordered in a mandamus.

What is the coursework for a lawyer?

Coursework includes interpersonal, intercultural, and mass communication, public speaking, and theories of persuasion. Fancy suits, 6-figure incomes, and a deadly combination of wit and cunning that win arguments. Those are just a few things that come to mind when people think of lawyers.

What is a lawyer known for?

Lawyers are known for being articulate, organized, and precise. Clients and big law firms expect you to digest a lot of information in a short amount of time, keep discovery and client files organized, and be precise in your contracts and arguments.

How do lawyers win?

Some lawyers like to win by finding precedents like the NFL precedent case that resulted in a $765 million settlement and can now be used as a precedent in relevant athlete-related injury. Other attorneys, however, win by going after the opposing party’s argument or credibility.

What is an effective resume?

Licenses and Certification. An effective lawyer’s resume is well-articulated in that it clearly explains the kind of legal work you do and your ‘style’ as a lawyer. Law encompasses a huge area of life and there are so many ways to be an effective lawyer.

Does the lawyer's email tell you what he does?

His email also tells people what he does, and there’s an extra link to one of the lawyer directories where he’s listed, so that’s a plus.

Do lawyers read resumes?

The lawyers who will read your resume are busy, and they prefer to read well-organized documents that highlight important information right off the bat.

How to write a lawyer resume?

As a lawyer, you’re trained to make a concise, persuasive argument—your lawyer resume should lead off in the same manner. Think of your lawyer profile (also known as a summary statement) as your opening statement. In two to four sentences, your profile should succinctly summarize who you are as a lawyer, illustrate what you bring to the table, and highlight your accomplishments.

What does a lawyer's resume show?

By reflecting your understanding of current trends within your desired profession, your lawyer resume can convey a level of professionalism and real-world competence that hiring managers are looking for in an employee.

Why is keyword important in resume?

This keyword integration is especially important if you’re applying for a job at a larger firm to ensure you’re not prematurely eliminated from consideration due to a screening algorithm. Did you know 75% of recruiters and hiring professionals use a recruiting or applicant tracking system (ATS) that screens resumes based on keywords?

Why do employers scan resumes?

In addition, legal hiring managers and other employers often scan resumes quite quickly, especially when there’s an influx of applicants. Including keywords and key phrases helps grab their attention so your application doesn’t get lost in the (digital) pile.

How to make your resume more relevant to the law firm?

To set yourself up for greater success with each individual law firm, start by editing various sections of your legal resume to make them more relevant to the specific position you’re seeking. This customization is also important to help you get past resume scanning software.

How many pages should a resume be?

Resumes should only be one page, or two at most, so you may have to leave room for more relevant information.

What is the skills section on a resume?

It’s just a shortlist of your top skills, highlighting your strengths at the top of your legal resume. However, before you list off the first few positive attributes that come to mind, consider what an opportunity this section actually is.

How long should a resume be?

You can exceed the one-page rule if you have five or more years of relevant legal experience, but at the most, keep it to no more than two pages.

What to include in an interview for personal injury?

For instance, If you're trying to get an interview for a role as a personal injury or medical malpractice attorney, it might be helpful to include your previous work experience as a medical professional or to highlight a certificate you received in the medical field. Revealing your varied background can help differentiate you from other candidates when the experience is integral to the job.

Why is it important to include personal interest on your resume?

If you include a skill, achievement or personal interest on your resume, it's important that you can talk about it intelligently and without hesitation. Demonstrating certainty in your knowledge, experience, accomplishments and skills can help establish trust and respect about what you told the employer on your resume so they can effectively determine whether you're a good fit for the job.

Why do you use bullet points in your resume?

Beginning bullet points with action verbs can better highlight your responsibilities and achievements linked to your relevant work experience . Perfecting how you use language on your resume can show employers that you are proactive in your general approach to work. Some recruiters or large firms also use applicant tracking systems to quickly scan resumes and check for keywords, so it's helpful to use the target words they're searching for, such as those contained in the job description.

Why is a good resume important?

A strong resume can give you a lead over other qualified candidates you're competing against for a lawyer position. During your job search, a great resume can attract the attention of the hiring manager to get you an interview over several other worthy applicants. It's also helpful in creating a powerful first impression of you that tells your prospective employer you will be an asset to their firm before you've even had the opportunity to meet them.

What is the purpose of each highlight on a resume?

To make your resume most effective, each point, highlight or description on your resume should serve a specific purpose, generally of telling the employer why you're the best candidate for the job.

How to avoid getting too personal on resume?

If you do mention a hobby, personal interest or other defining characteristics about yourself, try to keep it related to the role you're interviewing for and avoid polarizing, off-putting or overly identifying information.

Why do lawyers use CVs?

Law school graduates and experienced lawyers often use CVs to highlight their knowledge and skills and to secure employment . If you want a position at a law firm or private practice, it's important that you understand how this application tool can impact your application. In this article, we explain the ways a CV differs from a resume, list steps a lawyer can take to write an impressive CV and offer helpful reference material.

Is CV design the same as resume?

While CV design is similar to that of a resume, there are some specific features that separate the two. Using a CV template helps to ensure a smooth flow to your document and it may even make you feel more confident about using this unique application tool. Templates also allow users to take advantage of the aesthetic appeal and organizational components of a CV formatted by a professional designer.

The ultimate guide to writing a resume as a lawyer

A resume guide for lawyers that provides writing tips, examples, and more. Topics covered include choosing a resume format, writing a resume summary, key lawyer skills, work experience, and education.

1. Pick a resume format that emphasizes experience

When choosing a resume format as a lawyer, you want to select the format that will best emphasize your experience in the field. In this case, your two best options are the reverse-chronological resume or the Curriculum Vitae (CV) .

2. Showcase your experience and specializations in your resume summary

Your resume summary is an essential component of your resume, as it helps to introduce you as a professional to employers.

3. Highlight your diverse skill sets as a lawyer

Working as a lawyer requires you to have many different kinds of skills, from general abilities such as legal research to more complex and specialized areas of expertise.

4. Prioritize your strengths and accomplishments as a lawyer in your work experience section

Your work experience section is highly important as a lawyer. This is the section where you will showcase your greatest strengths, key responsibilities, and major accomplishments within previous positions. As such, your work experience section should prioritize each of these to the fullest.

5. Accurately and succinctly list your educational credentials as a lawyer

As a lawyer, you are required to have earned a degree through a law school program and pass the bar examination in your state of residence. These credentials are extremely important to include accurately in your resume’s education section .

How long should a lawyer's resume be?

Keep your lawyer resume simple and informative. Stick to a one-page resume if your work experience is limited to 10 years.

What is a legal resume?

A legal resume is a resume that is designed for to-be-lawyers and lawyers in all stages of their career such as: An advocate resume is a legal resume for advocates. A law student resume is a legal resume for law students. A general counsel resume is a legal resume for general counselors.

What is a general counsel resume?

A general counsel resume is a legal resume for general counselors. An entry-level attorney resume is a legal resume for entry-level attorneys. They are all legal resumes for different legal professionals. You need a legal resume to get shortlisted for your dream job.

What is the shortest route to an impeccable resume?

Most people will tell you that the shortest route to an impeccable resume is a highly informative professional experience section. And they're right.

Why is location important on a resume?

Your location is another important element of your law resume. It gives the recruiter a fair idea of the place of your residence, which further helps him/her identify if you would be up for a job-switch in another city or state.

What is the final stage of a resume?

In the final stage of resume-writing, your job is to conclude your legal resume.

Does the ATS scan your resume?

The ATS often scans your resume, and when information is presented haphazardly, it reduces the ATS-compatibility of your legal resume.

How to add value to your attorney resume?

Afterward, describe your job duties and specific accomplishments to show a hiring manager how you can add value. Consider arranging this information in two to four bulleted points per work experience . If you recently graduated from law school, it may be helpful to include internships to supplement your work history as a licensed attorney.

How to write a resume for a job?

Provide your full name, location, phone number and email address so a hiring manager can know how to reach you. Consider writing your name in the largest font size, then listing the rest of this information underneath to maximize clar ity. This formatting strategy may help a hiring team recall your information more easily in the future as they review different job applications.

How to introduce legal writing?

Introduce the document by summarizing your legal background, area of law and accomplishments. Afterward, emphasize some favored legal tasks , as hiring managers for firms and agencies often appreciate a candidate who shows dedication to their field. It may be helpful to focus on writing a precise and persuasive statement, as this resume element can provide an opportunity to show some expertise in legal writing. Be sure to highlight your qualifications by aligning your statement with information from a job description.

Why do associate attorneys need a resume?

Preparing a high-quality resume can help associate attorneys find a job position in a new law firm or agency. It can demonstrate to a hiring manager that a candidate has the necessary legal background and skill set to succeed in this career path. By learning some ways to create this type of resume, you can determine which strategies to use during your next job application process.

How to list your degree in law?

List your bachelor's and Juris Doctor degrees, then details about your admission to a state bar association. Then, include the type of bachelor's degree you earned, your graduation dates and the year you received a law license. If you're an entry-level attorney with fewer work experiences, it may be helpful to list your educational background first to emphasize your expertise. You can also describe classes you completed or any articles you published in a student-run journal that may contain relevant information to a hiring manager.

What is an associate attorney?

An associate attorney is a licensed lawyer who typically works in a private or public firm as a regular employee. They often support a firm's owners, called senior partners, in managing their caseload and representing clients who must appear in court. Associate attorneys are often responsible for researching previous cases, drafting documents for a firm's clients and devising legal strategies. They can also perform similar duties for a corporation or a legal department in a governmental bureau.

How to present work history on resume?

Select a resume format that can help you present your work history and qualifications in a logical order. Consider separating each element into a different section with a defined header. It may be helpful to list all work and educational experience in reverse-chronological order to better demonstrate your career progression. Be sure to choose a font type and size that's accessible to different readers, as multiple people in a firm or agency may review your application materials during the hiring process.

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