How To Write an Attorney Resume
As an attorney, you’re no stranger to crafting briefs and legal documents, but when it comes to writing your resume, it can be harder to effectively and persuasively describe your qualifications and what makes you a good fit for the position. We’ve compiled a list of tips with examples and templates to help you write a lawyer resume that will allow you to take the next step in your career.
1. Craft an outstanding profile with a summary of your attorney qualifications
The profile summary is a short paragraph of just a few sentences that talks about who you are as an attorney and how you can be an asset to a law firm. This is where you should mention the type of law you work in and where you excel compared to other lawyers, such as finding precedents to base your case on or representing clients in litigation. If you’re an entry-level applicant, you can focus on your research skills and how you can collaborate with other lawyers and the firm’s legal team members.
Senior-Level Profile Example
Civil Litigation lawyer with over 15 years of experience representing clients in personal injury cases. Able to take depositions and has a proven track record of securing substantial settlements on behalf of clients. Consistently takes the initiative and delivers creative solutions that achieve positive results for clients and the firm. Works well in a dynamic and collaborative environment.
Entry-Level Profile Example
An enthusiastic, highly motivated attorney with over a year of experience and a solid academic record in law and business. Able to apply extensive research skills to independent assignments or collaborations with legal research and litigation teams. Adept at building strong professional relationships with colleagues and clients.
2. Outline your attorney experience in a compelling list
Being an attorney is all about results, and you can use the professional experience section of your resume to show how you’ve been able to put your skills to work to get clients the results they’re looking for. In addition to describing your duties and responsibilities, add your win percentage and how many cases you worked on per month. This gives a hiring manager a better idea of what you can bring to the firm.
Senior-Level Professional Experience Example
Schaff, Turner, and Morner LLP, New York, NY | December 2010-Present
- Meet with potential clients to evaluate their cases and decide if the firm would take them on as clients – approximately 20 clients per month
- Represent and advise clients in matters involving civil litigation with a focus on personal injury and auto accident claims
- Courtroom experience and oral advocacy: lead negotiations for settlements before trial, lead counsel during jury trials, and status and settlement conferences in State and Federal Court
- Take and defend depositions of witnesses and experts
Entry-Level Professional Experience Example
Law Offices of Isaac L. Brooks, West Des Moines, IA | June 2019-Present
- Assist attorneys with transactional and litigation practice
- Research and draft legal memoranda in the areas of real estate, contracts, and other civil litigation
- Draft answers, complaints, motions, responses, and settlement agreements
- Assist attorneys at real estate closings
- File pleadings at state and federal courts
3. Add attorney education and certifications
Your resume should also include your education and any relevant credentials. List your Juris Doctor degree, including where you went to school, when you graduated, and any other degrees you may have. You’ll also want to include a list of credentials and the date you were awarded them, such as when you were admitted to state bars or if you can represent clients with the U.S. Patent Office or in immigration court.
- [Credential Name], [Awarded Year]
- Admitted to Iowa State Bar Association, June 2019
- [Degree Name]
- [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] – [Graduation Month and Year]
- Juris Doctor
- New York University, New York City, NY – July 2002
4. List key attorney skills and proficiencies
As an attorney, you have to wear a lot of hats. There’s research and case law to read through, you have to be able to communicate what’s going on in layperson’s terms to clients, and you have to be able to work professionally in high-stakes and often high-conflict situations with other attorneys and the judge. Distilling these skills into a bulleted list can be difficult, but it’s an important part of creating a resume that gets you a job offer. We’ve provided a list of key skills and proficiencies for attorneys below to help you get started.
|Key Skills and Proficiencies
|Attention to detail
|Case preparation and strategy
|Client counseling and management
|Complex legal concepts
|Knowledge of laws
|Legal research and analysis
|Negotiation and persuasion
|Teamwork and collaboration
|Trial and courtroom experience
1. What are the most in-demand skills for attorneys that should be featured on a candidate’s resume? Please include both hard and soft skills. -
Prospective attorneys should detail their relevant experience and expertise in the field of law of the prospective employer. A prospective candidate should also be able to manage a case from inception to completion; and prepare, proofread, and file legal documents and discovery. A candidate should emphasize their ability to write and think analytically, be comfortable in a team or individual setting, and be able to delegate work as needed to legal assistants and paralegals.
2. What work experience and/or other accomplishments are hiring managers seeking in an attorney?-
Hiring managers are looking for candidates with knowledge of the law that the prospective employer specializes in and can manage various cases with multiple deadlines. Therefore, candidates that are detail-oriented, organized, and able to multitask are desirable. Candidates should also have excellent communication skills, as the attorney usually is the primary contact for clients and opposing counsel. Attorneys should highlight their extensive legal research and writing skills and familiarity with electronic databases like Westlaw or LexisNexis..
3. What else, in addition to a resume, should an attorney candidate be prepared to provide hiring managers?-
A prospective attorney should provide a cover letter along with his/her resume detailing the relevant experience and skills in the field of law of the employer. A writing sample should also be submitted highlighting a candidate’s ability to think critically and analytically. The writing sample should be no more than 10 pages, preferably a document filed in court (redacting the privileged and confidential portions) and not merely an internal memo.
4. What advice would you give an attorney candidate about their job search? -
A prospective attorney seeking a position should attend networking events such as bar association events, law school alumni events, and even fundraisers and/or charity events that local law firms sponsor. Finally, a candidate should have an updated LinkedIn profile as their LinkedIn profile is the first website a prospective employer will often seek out upon researching a candidate.
How To Pick the Best Attorney Resume Template
Using a template to help you create your attorney resume can save you time and make it easier to plug in your skills, qualifications, and work history into an already formatted design. But it’s still important to put some thought into the template you choose. Ideally, you should look for well-organized templates that can be quickly scanned or read. There should be a place for a profile summary, past work experience, key skills, career highlights, and education to ensure you have all the space you need.
Lawyer Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples
123 America Street, Seattle, WA 99999
A seasoned litigator with expertise in environmental litigation and regulatory compliance. Proven trial, preparation and negotiation skills. Conducted over 500 mediations with a 91% settlement rate.
Senior Counsel, Abraham, Martin & John LLP, Seattle, WA
March 2016 – Present
- Assist businesses with water quality permit compliance, stormwater pollution prevention, hazardous waste spill cleanup, and cost recovery litigation
- Advise clients on a broad array of environmental litigation issues, including crisis management, incident response, and civil/criminal enforcement actions
- Provide legal advice on the potential implications of climate change on complex business decisions, including long-term environmental compliance
Junior Attorney, Bruski and Clark, LLP, Tacoma, WA
October 2012 – February 2016
- Researched legal issues and drafted documents including internal strategy memos, motions, and briefs
- Independently produced client-ready documents and provided supportive assistance on complex transactions involving energy and environmental regulations
- Created corporate client reports for senior counsel
Legal intern, CGH Law Group, Portland, OR
June 2015 – November 2015
- Assisted with drafting and negotiating a broad range of agreements in a timely manner with vendors, contractors, and collaborators
- Performed legal research, writing, and analysis as assigned
- Established and maintained a database of the firm’s clients to ensure each is up-to-date on licensing and federal regulations
Juris Doctor, Law
University of Idaho College of Law, Moscow, ID, September 2013 – June 2016
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Washington State University, Pullman, WA, September 2008 – June 2012
- Impeccable solution-finding and problem-solving skills
- Thorough understanding of federal energy and environmental regulations
- Strong ability to facilitate negotiation and conflict resolution through mediation
Frequently Asked Questions: Lawyer Resume Examples and Advice
What are common action verbs for attorney resumes?-
When writing the professional experience section of your resume, it’s easy to run out of words and feel like you’re repeating yourself. And finding a unique action verb to start every bullet on your resume can take some creativity (and maybe a good thesaurus). To help, we’ve created a list of common action verbs that can be used to describe job duties and responsibilities on your attorney resume. You may also find some ideas in the job description of the position you’re applying for.
How do you align your resume with a job description?-
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects around 10% job growth for lawyers through 2031, which is faster than average. As you look at and apply for positions, tailor each resume to the specific job description. To do this, you can skim the description to find key skills, qualifications, keywords, and job duties and then add those to your resume as they fit in the various sections. Usually, it is easiest to work these topics into the key skills and professional experience sections.
What is the best attorney resume format?-
There are a few styles regarding resume formats, but the best choice for an attorney resume is usually reverse chronological. This is the traditional format for resumes, with your professional experience making up the bulk of the resume, and you list your previous positions, starting with the most recent and working backward. If you’ve had an extensive career, you may limit this section to only those that are the same type of law or highly relevant.
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Make sure to include a matching attorney cover letter with your resume. The cover letter is where you can provide more detail on who you are as a candidate, your professional accomplishments, and why you’ve chosen to apply to this particular firm. If you need help drafting the cover letter, these examples can help.