That is where we can help you. You do not have to be the next Ernest Hemingway to write a convincing resume for your next job.
In this guide, we will,
- Show you how to select the perfect lawyer resume template for your requirements
- Give you the best attorney resume tips that every law firm is looking for
- Provide you with perfect attorney resume samples to refer
- Also, show you how to write a perfect resume for any law firm, step by step
Getting an interview was never this easy, especially for an attorney. Without further due, let’s get started.
Additional Information About The Attorney Resume
The job of an attorney is to apply knowledge of law in different situations. Some lawyers work in the business world providing services to corporations and corporate clients on business transactions while others work directly with court actions advocating on behalf of the clients.
The average annual pay for an attorney position is $87,000, however many more earn more than that (Payscale.com).
It is no wonder the pay scales of lawyers have attracted many to go to law schools and become lawyers, making the available job positions more competitive.
The only way to face this competition and get the attorney job position in your dream law firm or corporation is to write the perfect lawyer resume.
If you want to create your next attorney resume fast and better than 95% of the other attorneys resumes, try our resume templates.
Attorney Resume Examples
Check our well-optimized attorney resume examples which you may use freely in writing your own
How to make an Attorney Resume
What would you do first when you get a new client case?
You would probably start doing your research, talk to the client, collect the data and organize them to plan your approach.
It is very similar to writing your resume. You need to understand what the potential employer is asking for from you. Based on that, you make a plan. Then you collect the information you are going to put in your resume.
Following are some of the bullet points you need to keep in mind,
- Read the job description several times to pick the keywords
- Use a standard layout and a structure
- Keep the resume to one page
The layout Attorney Resumes
The layout is the plan of what you are going to write in your resume. In other words, the headings.
When you have your headings finalized, it is a matter of putting in the right information.
Here is what a standard attorney resume would include,
- Header with name and contact information
- Professional/ Objective summary
- Work experience
- Additional sections
You can change the order of the sections based on your seniority, experience, and job requirements.
The structure of the Attorney Resume
The structure is how you are writing each section in the resume.
There are basically three main structures used to write resumes.
- Reverse Chronological
For an attorney resume, we recommend using reverse chronological order. In this, you write your experience in reverse chronological order where you list your most recent experience first and proceed backward.
Why should we use this?
Like the attorneys in a law firm, HR managers are also busy people. They get several hundreds of resumes for every position they advertise if it is a reputed law firm. Therefore, a hiring manager spends less than 10 seconds reading one resume.
When we have listed our most recent experience first, it saves them time and they love it. Pleasing the HR manager will definitely benefit you in the shortlisting.
Consider these points as you write your resume:
- Send your resume in PDF or MS Word formats
- Ensure the font is readable and clear
- For body text, use a font size of 12-14, and for headings use a bigger font size (about 15-16). Bold the headers
Start with the Header of the Attorney Resume
The header is the easiest part to write in your resume right?
But did you know there are a couple of mistakes most candidates make in this section?
Yes, that is true.
These mistakes are not critical, but they send a bad signal about your overall personality to the HR manager.
Let us tell you how to avoid them.
Example of a good header / Example of a bad header for AttorneyConsider the following when you write your header section
Beginning: Start with your name. State the name you use. Starting with your title is not the best way
Email: Use a professional email address. Do not use your current work email, as this is not a professional practice
Address: You do not need to include your full address in your resume. State the city and the country only if you find it necessary
Social media: Adding the link to your updated LinkedIn profile would send a valuable message to the recruiter
Is a photo required in the Attorney Resume?
You may think adding a photograph might be beneficial to your resume since popular job search websites such as Linkedin encourage users to add a profile picture.
However, most organizations are against the practice of including a photo with the resume as it is illegal in the US to discriminate against someone based on their looks when they apply for a job based. So many consider it discrimination. Naturally, most law firms in the USA are strict about not accepting resumes with photographs of the candidate.
For the safe side, we recommend that you do not put your photo on your resume.
Professional summary for an Attorney
Attorney jobs are super competitive. That is why your sales pitch matters. The art of convincing a HR manager is a little different from convincing a judge. If you can do the second, the first is not difficult.
Your professional summary is your sales pitch, your opening statement. These are a couple of sentences that you use to create a statement about your experience, expertise, and skills.
Here is a sample professional summary for an attorney.
Do you recognize the difference between the above two examples?
Do you realize why the second one convinces the hiring manager 10 times more than the first one?
The second example is,
How to recognize what to write in your resume summary if you have experience in many areas?
Read the job advertisement. They mention what they are looking for and your duties. Show them you are exactly the person they have been looking for all this time.
Work Experience in the Attorney Resume
The work experience section is probably the most important section in any resume.
Most hiring managers straightaway jump into this section, read the first few lines, make the decision and dump the resume.
Though you spend hours and days writing your resume, this is the reality.
The work experience section is the deciding section of a legal resume. However, most candidates write this section completely wrong making the recruiter’s life easier to shortlist.
95% of the legal resumes fall into this category, though we will show you how to stand out from the crowd and jump on to the 5% of the best resumes.
Describe your professional experiences on your Attorney Resume
List your experiences in reverse chronological order. This means you should begin by stating your current or previous position and work backward to list the rest of your legal experience.
Align your experience with the job description. Minimize risk for the hiring manager by stating you have experience in what they are looking for.
Use numbers to quantify the experience and achievements. Numbers do magic and save you space. Further, it proves you are a lawyer. Because they do not try to prove a point without facts.
Examples of professional experiences for an Entry Level Attorney
Examples of work experience for Senior Attorney
Education in the Attorney Resume
To be an attorney needs a set of specific educational qualifications. Even if the required academic qualifications are not listed in the job description, you should state them in the lawyer resume.
The qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctoral degree in law in most cases. However the academic path one takes to become a lawyer would be different from another. Here, we discuss the benefits of different resume formats for the education section.
Should you start with education or work experience for an Attorney Resume?
If you are applying for a senior attorney position, you should give priority to your experience. If the position you apply for is a junior one, and you have a solid academic background, you may list your education first.
The rule of thumb is that you list your strengths first!
How to properly list your education section in an Attorney Resume?
When presenting your educational credentials, follow a consistent resume format
- Indicate your degree type and major
Eg: Bachelor’s degree in Law
- Indicate the year of graduation and the year of commencement
- The university or institution and the location
Eg: Columbia University, NY
- Awards, honors, or achievements (if any)
- Indicate your grade point average if it is above 3.0
Example of the education section of an Attorney Resume
Skills to put in the Attorney Resume
The skills section of your lawyer resume adds a colorful elegance to your profile if you use the right template. Check out our templates to find what suits your personality and the requirements.
Most candidates make the mistake of listing a set of generic skills in this section. Hiring managers hate to see this approach in lawyer resumes.
Your lawyer resume should include a mix of soft, hard, and IT skills required to be successful in your next job.
What are the main skills sought for in an Attorney Job Description?
Recruiters generally look for the following top skills in an attorney resume.
- Communication skills and phone etiquette
- Time management
- Work ethics
- Interpersonal skills
- Law knowledge
- Legal procedure
- Product liability law
- Project management
- Criminal law
- Tax law
- Legal counsel
- Legal analysis and research
What skills for a Junior Attorney?
Focus on writing skills that demonstrate your operational skills when you’re applying for an entry level attorney position since recruiters are expecting a doer.
- Communication skills
- Time management
- Expertise in procedure
- Catastrophic personal injury defense
- Environmental law
- Drafting legal memoranda
What skills for a Qualified Senior Attorney?
Focus on writing skills that demonstrate your managerial skills as well as operational skills when you’re applying for a junior attorney position since recruiters are expecting a doer who can also lead a team of attorneys.
- Communication skills
- Negotiation skills
- Leadership skills
- Work ethics
- Expertise in employment law
- Experience in dual state licensure
Additional Headings for your Attorney Resume
Use additional headings to send a pleasant surprise to the recruitment managers. If they are in a state of Go No Go situation, this will surely help your resume to get shortlisted.
Use these sections to state that you have so much more to offer your potential employer than mere law qualifications.
However, do not include unrelated sections to fill the resume.
Computer skills and certifications in an Attorney resume
Any skills certifications related to law or a related field would boost your resume rating by a large margin.
Here we have listed some of those skill certifications for lawyers.
- Certificate in legal technology
- The graduate certificate in paralegal studies
- Certificate in environment law
- Certificate in international human rights and humanitarian law
- Arbitration and dispute resolution certificate
Also, consider listing any relevant IT or computer certifications you have completed.
Interests in an Attorney Resume
If you have a set of particular interests that are related to the position you apply for, you may list them.
Volunteer work is the best example. Any interest that makes you better in communication, negotiation, physical appearance, or mental stability would also be valuable.
Languages in an Attorney Resume
Consider listing a few languages you speak fluently, and also state the level of fluency along with that.
Check out our resume examples where you can find plenty of beautifully designed templates to showcase your languages and fluency in a matter of minutes.
Summary: Key Points for Writing a Perfect Attorney Resume
- Make sure your name and contact information are at the top of the resume
- Highlight your greatest accomplishments, experience, and skills in a 2-3 sentence statement and you will get a great resume summary
- Use reverse chronological order when listing your experience. Use numbers as proof of your statements as much as possible
- If your education is stronger than your experience, put education first
- Write a mix of soft and hard skills in the resume skills section. Do not just state generic skills as most law candidates do
- Adding certificates, interests, and languages to your resume will be a pleasant surprise for the hiring manager
Write a Cover Letter That Goes With Your Attorney Resume
A cover letter that complements your lawyer resume would be the ideal combination to send to the HR manager.
When writing the cover letter focus on writing it in a concise half-page stating your particular interest in joining the organization and how your experience, expertise, and skills would benefit them to close more client cases in less time making them more money.
Eventually, that would be the consideration for most employers.
If you apply for a particular position without fulfilling the expected qualifications or experience stated in the job advertisement, the cover letter would be a good opportunity to give the hiring manager a sales pitch communicating your interest and passion for the position. We always recommend including a cover letter with your resume regardless of if they ask or not in the job description.
Frequently Asked Questions for an Attorney Resume
How do you write a resume for a lawyer?
As in most other resumes, a lawyer resume also should include the following:
- Header with name and contact details.
- Professional summary / objective summary
- Work experience
- Additional sections such as skills certifications, interests, and language fluency
If you would like to take a shortcut, try our online resume builder that will help generate an attorney resume template suitable for your job application.
What do law firm hiring managers look for in a resume?
The main sections of your resume that the law firm hiring manager looks for are your experience section and education sections.
Write concise descriptions for each experience in previous positions highlighting your achievements and how you used your knowledge of law to make critical decisions. Quantify your achievements as much as possible.
What should be on a law school resume?
A law school resume would be the same as a law firm resume with few differences.
For a law school resume, write an objective summary highlighting your interest and passion to learn the law and to join the particular institution.
Education would be prioritized in most cases as you may not have much experience of practicing law.
What are some skills to put on a resume?
Soft skills to put on a resume
- Time management
- Work ethics
- Interpersonal skills
- Emotional intelligence