Top 5 Tips for a Lawyer Resume
Whether you say lawyer, attorney, counsel, or counselor, they all do the same work — they’re licensed professionals who offer advice and representation in legal matters.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at:
- Creating a great resume objective or summary to head up your lawyer resume
- Give you some inspirational work experience resume samples
- Ways to represent your legal skills for resume
And more besides that.
Let’s do this!
Resume Preparation: Study the Job Description
The way the economy is today, there’s a lot of competition for each lawyer role out there.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the coming decade will see more law graduates from college than jobs be created or vacated.
With this, you should be sure to get the best tools and skills for the job, including an outstanding legal resume, so you look the part for the job.
Here’s a typical looking job description for a lawyer:
- Evaluation, management, and monitoring of complex cases
- Litigation across the country
- Claims risk management
- Development and implementation of resolution strategies
- Management of junior counsel, experts, and partnerships with agencies
Experience of 4-7 years is essential, with litigation experience in construction valued, working with design and construction professionals would be ideal
How would you go about applying for this example?
First, highlight the keywords that give you a better understanding of what's expected from an applicant.
Then, imagine who is an ideal candidate for the recruiter?
What are the qualities and features you need to showcase to fit into this portrait?
Let’s move on with the real examples.
How to Write a Lawyer’s Resume Summary or Resume Objective
Your attorney resume opening paragraph — is a summary of your career to date.
Writing an entry-level attorney resume?
Opt for a resume objective like this:
This shows you’re enthusiastic and engaged with the profession.
In terms of experienced attorney resume samples, check this one out:
To answer "how long should a resume summary be?" three or four short sharp sentences, packed with data and evidence and summarizing your achievements will suffice.
To get noticed, use power words rather than buzzwords on your resume
Pro-TipYour resume isn’t static, it should be updated regularly and customized for every role you go for. Dig into the job you want and the firm’s case history and client base to make your resume specific, highlighting the relevant skills and experience in the field.
Master Your Law Work Experience Section
For your legal resumes format, you want to be putting your work experience in reverse chronological order.
All your relevant experience should be there, with the most recent first.
We have a range of free resume templates you can test out for your resume.
Each template is well thought-through and has an easy-to-follow structure.
Simply fill it in with your relevant job experience and use an export feature to convert it into a PDF or DOCX format for free.
When writing resumes for high school students with no experience, include experiences like:
- Short-term freelance gigs
- Pro bono work
- Courthouse volunteering
- Clerkships and internships
And anything else that relates to your legal experience.
To make it tangible, here’s a law student resume example:
- Legal research on internship contributed to a successful civil litigation appeal.
- Volunteered at pro bono legal clinic at Austin Small Claims Court assisting in document preparation.
- Published in law review at college with articles on renter’s rights and worker’s compensation.
Sounds good, right?
You only need a little experience to serve you well when looking for law student jobs.
Need to check out a sample resume for experienced attorney?
As a rule of thumb:
- First, pick out the desired qualities in the job description
- Second, look through your history for admissible proof
A successful work experience resume sample goes like this:
Jones and Jones
- 45 arguments in front of judges during litigation and appeal with full case responsibility.
- Mediated settlements for clients with an 87% positive outcome rate.
- Client satisfaction scores averaged 98%.
- Billed 1,800 hours annually 2018-2020
- Got promoted to Senior Attorney.
What’s so good about this one?
Every statement is backed by facts and meets the demands of the job description.
If you’re wondering how to show promotion on resume, simply include any noticeable promotions you had at your last job.
This will indicate that you’ve had professional growth and your performance exceeded expectations.
"Got promoted to Senior Attorney" in our example does exactly that.
Polishing Your Skills Section: Strong Legal Resume Examples
To add skills to a legal CV, you want to include interpersonal skills and your law-specific skills at the same time.
Don’t just throw together a list of generic skills, like this:
Pick out the skills the job description is looking for instead.
Don’t forget to give evidence to back up everything so your resume doesn’t get thrown out.
Check out this example when you’re thinking, "What should my resume look like?":
- Took 45 cases to trial as lead attorney across three states, with an 87% success rate.
- Risk assessment and settlement predictions accuracy rate of 92%.
- Implemented a new risk assessment process, leading to reduction in costs and case losses across the firm.
That’s the legal skills, what about additional skills for resume? Need to know how to list language on resume?
Language skills and other abilities can go in a separate section — as long as you believe the potential employer will value them.
In that case, create a Languages and/or Additional Skills section to collate the details.
Adding a Bar Admission: Attorney Resume Samples
This isn’t a mandatory section since most law firms will assume you’re licensed or working on it.
It can still be useful to know how to list bar admission on resume.
The American Bar Association says:
Add "Esq." following your name on the top of your resume, then create a "Law License" section, like so:
Member in good standing of the Texas State Bar.
Waiting to get admitted? Use this instead:
Passed Texas Bar Exam, July 2020
When you’re applying for jobs still waiting to get admitted, you should put the details at the top of your general counsel resume.
When you’ve practiced for a few years, you can add it towards the bottom of your resume, if at all.
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create your lawyer CV. Check out our free resume builder that you can access when you register. Polish your resume and grab the attention of recruiters quickly.