How To Write a Law and Legal Resume

When writing your resume for legal jobs, use each section to show you have strong knowledge in your specialized field. Hiring managers want to know where you gained important skills such as legal research, public speaking, or settlement negotiations. They also want to see how you’ve applied those skills to help clients, attorneys, and other colleagues. The tips and examples below will help you draft a powerful resume that gets you interviews for your next legal job.

  • Entry-Level
  • Mid-Career
  • Senior-Level
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Brainstorm the top sources of your law knowledge, then identify the ones most relevant to your target job. These points should form the basis of your summary profile. For instance, if you’d like to work in family and custody law, cite any years of experience you have in that area already. Or, if your work experience is limited, focus your profile on your legal education and any related internships you’ve done.

Keep your profile short and to the point. Even a one-sentence headline can work here if it captures the scope of your legal background.

(Note, most job seekers find it easier to write their profile last.)

Profile Example

Attorney with 12 years of experience representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits. Won multimillion-dollar settlements for clients in cases related to misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and medication errors. Strong experience overseeing paralegals and mentoring law students on malpractice lawsuits and other personal injury cases.

Use the experience section to give examples of your applying law knowledge effectively – this helps hiring managers envision the value you’d generate for their firm. Under each legal position in your work history, brainstorm your various duties and achievements. Then identify and elaborate on the ones that overlap with your target job.

For instance, say you’re after paralegal jobs focused on accurate documentation. Spell out the types of legal records you’ve helped prepare and organize, such as motions, subpoenas, or witness lists. Also, describe any ways in which you streamlined reporting procedures to provide better support for lawyers at the firm.

Or, say you’d like to represent clients in the area of commercial leasing. For any similar jobs you’ve held, describe how you helped clients negotiate favorable contract terms and qualify for rent savings. Express these highlights in terms of a clear percentage or dollar amount.

Professional Experience Example

Staff Attorney, McGill Law Firm, Chicago, IL | September 2014 to present

  • Meet with potential clients and review their medical documentation to determine if claims have merit
  • Investigate whether medical professionals breached standards of care
  • Prepare for trials by filing motions and writing legal briefs in support of each client’s case
  • Source expert medical witnesses to testify on behalf of clients
  • Ensure all documents are filed well in advance of state statutes of limitations
  • Negotiate settlement offers with defendants, ensuring final amounts are adequate to replace clients’ lost income or cover ongoing medical needs

School degrees and certifications are usually key to a law resume since they provide the foundation of your required legal knowledge. Flesh out these sections with plenty of relevant detail, especially if you have limited work experience. For each higher education degree, consider including any law-related majors, minors, coursework, or school activities. Also, consider giving a brief description of any training or certificate programs you’ve done that are not well-known but still applicable to your target job.

If you’re just out of school, your education experiences may be your main selling point. Feel free to place your education section above your professional experience section, particularly if the jobs you’ve held so far don’t pertain to the legal jobs you’re now pursuing.

Below are templates and examples to help you format your education and certification details. Note optional template areas appear in [brackets].



Degree Name — [Major, Minor], School Name, City, ST | [Year]
[Academic honors and awards]
[Select legal coursework]
[Law-related school activities]


Juris Doctor, University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, NM | 2020
3.82 GPA | magna cum laude
Served as Editor-In-Chief of the UNM Law Review. Distributed research assignments; edited submissions for clarity; ran editorial meetings; and collaborated with writers, editors, and graphic designers to publish each issue on time.



Certification Name or Title, [Awarding Organization] | [Year]


Registered Paralegal, The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Minneapolis, MN | 2012

Add a key skills section to show the various ways you can apply your law knowledge in a work setting. This section should focus on specific legal disciplines and software programs, but you can also include more general soft skills like collaboration and client relations. Just make sure each item overlaps in some way with your target job.

Below are some common skills and keywords to consider for your law resume:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Case management Client communications
Client counseling Contract and lease negotiations
Debt collector negotiations Dispute resolution
Expert witness sourcing Junior staff mentoring
Legal document preparation Legal file digitization
Legal procedures Legal research and analysis
Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel) Practice management software
Professional courtroom practices Public speaking and presentations
Rules of civil procedures Settlement negotiations
Task prioritization Team collaboration
Time management Trial document preparation
Writing, editing, proofreading  

As with most vocations, legal professionals should use a resume template that’s clear and straightforward. Opt for a layout that lets the hiring manager quickly review your best career details. Select a traditional resume font, and avoid any template with a colorful or elaborate design. Also, ensure the template complies with applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by employers to screen resumes.

Law and Legal Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Example #1
  • Example #2
  • Example #3

Kimberly Clarkson
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Carolina Beach, NC 28425 |


Certified paralegal with over 10 years of experience including five years in North Carolina family and custody law. Draw on deep knowledge of common legal practices, documents, and standards. Quickly adapt to new work challenges and industry conditions.

Key Skills

  • Legal file digitization
  • Legal research standards
  • Strategic time management
  • Task prioritization
  • Team collaboration
  • Trial document preparation
  • Writing, editing, proofreading

Professional Experience

Staff Paralegal, Legal Assistance of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC | January 2018 to present

  • Conduct legal research for family court and custody cases
  • Prepare motions, subpoenas, complaints, and witness lists for attorneys
  • Manage case files and associated documents
  • Serve as liaison between attorneys and clients to ensure positive, productive communications at all points
  • Screen potential clients for subsidized legal assistance

Paralegal, Cowell Law Firm, Greensboro, NC | June 2012 to December 2017

  • Contributed to legal research for upcoming trials
  • Prepared motions, subpoenas, complaints, and witness lists
  • Digitized physical documents in the electronic filing system

Legal Assistant, Anker & Collo, LLC, Durham, NC | September 2010 to May 2012

  • Helped draft motions, subpoenas, complaints, and other legal documents
  • Assisted with legal research for upcoming trials
  • Uploaded physical documents to the digital legal filing system


Bachelor of Arts — Legal Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill | 2014

Associate of Arts — Paralegal Studies, Alamance Community College, Durham, NC | 2012


Family Law Paralegal Specialist Certificate, Duke University, Durham, NC | 2017

Registered Paralegal, The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Minneapolis, MN | 2012

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Expert Advice
Advice from a Recruiter: Erica Pizem

Erica Pizem - Legal Recruiter and Expert Contributor, LinkedIn

Meet our Expert: Erica Pizem is a licensed attorney based in New York City, leveraging her expertise in recruiting within the legal industry.

1. What are the most in-demand skills for law and legal careers that should be featured on a candidate’s resume?-

A candidate that is interested in pursuing a law or legal career should make sure to emphasize that they are fully capable of managing their own caseload independently and can handle cases from inception to the discovery phase and to the trial phase if needed. A candidate should be able to prepare various legal documents and be familiar with motion practice. Additionally, a candidate should have excellent supervisory skills so that they can delegate work if needed and have excellent communication skills so that they can communicate with clients. Moreover, a candidate should be detail oriented, a team player, and able to multitask.

2. What work experience and other accomplishments are hiring managers looking for in law and legal candidates?-

Hiring Managers are interested in candidates with exceptional writing and research skills. A candidate should have the relevant skills in the legal area that he or she is applying for. For example, a candidate applying for a litigation role should make sure they have deposition skills and/or trial experience. Additionally, a candidate should be familiar with Microsoft, Adobe, and legal research databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis.

3. What else besides a resume should a law and legal candidate be prepared to provide hiring managers?-

In addition to a resume, a candidate applying for a legal position should submit a cover letter outlining his or her interest in the role and why they are a good fit. Writing samples and letters of recommendation and/or references from a recent job experience should also be submitted. And, if a candidate has an incredibly high LSAT score, a copy of the LSAT score can be submitted as well.

4. What advice would you give a law and legal candidate about their job search? -

I would advise prospective law and legal candidates to utilize job posting sites such as LinkedIn and it can’t hurt to message a legal recruiter explaining his or her background, relevant skills, and interest. Also, it is very common for a local law firm to advertise a job posting in the local law school job posting site so make sure to take advantage of the law school’s job posting site. Additionally, a candidate should make sure to attend local networking events.

Frequently Asked Questions: Law and Legal Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for law and legal resumes? -

One of the best ways to enhance your resume is by starting each bullet point with a strong action verb. Dynamic verbs help you keep the hiring manager’s attention and show how you’ve applied your legal skills. The following list can help you find a good mix of action verbs for your law resume:

Action Verbs
Advised Advocated
Analyzed Argued
Collaborated Communicated
Consulted Created
Defended Demonstrated
Developed Documented
Edited Improved
Interpreted Justified
Litigated Monitored
Organized Presented
Prevented Ranked
Recorded Redacted
Represented Researched
Supervised Won
How do you align your law and legal resume with a job posting?-

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that jobs for legal professionals will grow faster than the average for all U.S. jobs between 2022 and 2032, with nearly 92,000 positions available each year.

You can get more interviews in this growing field if you tailor your resume for each application. Look closely at the job post and highlight words that are repeated, emphasized, or otherwise seem important. Compare these highlighted phrases to the language you’re using in your resume, particularly the profile and key skills sections. Then seek ways to align your resume language with the job post while not copying phrases or misstating your background.

For example, if the hiring manager seeks someone collaborative, you may want to call out that aspect of your experience in your profile and key skills sections. Or say the firm has many non-English speaking clients. You could highlight your foreign language skills both in your profile and as a separate section farther down the document. With adjustments like these, you can make your resume more relevant to each job opportunity.

What is the best law and legal resume format? -

Most legal professionals should use the combination (or hybrid) format. True to its name, this format combines two important features of other resume formats: the chronological format’s experience section and the functional format’s profile section. (The resume examples on this page all use combination format.)

By fusing these two features, a combination resume offers the best of both worlds. The experience section lets you outline your recent work history – essential information for most law firms. At the same time, the profile section lets you display your career highlights at the top, regardless if they’re from that work history or another part of your background. As a result, you can present yourself clearly and strategically. With this format, you give hiring managers the best view of your experience and strengths, so they can make an informed decision to call you for an interview.

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Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume
To increase your chances of an interview, write and submit a strong cover letter. The key to a good cover letter is tailoring it to each job opening. Read our cover letter guide to learn how. For other related examples, see our lawyer and paralegal cover letter guides.
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