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A resume sample for attorneys that secures interviews and job offers. Our comprehensive guide includes all the necessary information, tips, and examples to ensure your success.

With approximately 1.3 million lawyers competing for 790,000 positions and an additional 45,000 entering the job market each year, securing a job as a lawyer is exceptionally challenging. To secure interviews with prestigious law firms and top-notch corporate entities, your attorney resume must be nothing short of flawless—akin to a brief crafted by Latham & Watkins. The good news? Crafting an outstanding lawyer resume is far easier than navigating the complexities of law school.

This guide will demonstrate:

  • A lawyer resume example that surpasses 9 out of 10 other resumes.
  • How to compose a legal resume that attracts more interview opportunities.
  • Tips and examples on effectively showcasing skills and achievements in an attorney resume.
  • How to articulate your experience on a resume for a lawyer to secure the job you desire.

 

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Attorney Resume Example

Michael Hoffman

Attorney

(312) 555-5555

[email protected]

linkedin.com/in/michael.hoffman

Summary

Dedicated Attorney with over 10 years of experience in the legal profession. Eager to support Prestige Legal Services in achieving their clients’ legal objectives while ensuring the firm’s reputation for excellence. Successfully led a team that won a landmark case in corporate litigation in 2015.

Experience

Senior Attorney

Justice Law Firm, Chicago, IL

June 2010–Present

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Managed a diverse caseload of corporate lawsuits and legal predicaments.
  • Supervised a team of junior attorneys and paralegals.
  • Provided counsel to corporate clients on numerous legal issues.

Key Achievement:

  • Won over $10 M in cases.

Junior Attorney

Elite Attorneys & Associates, Chicago, IL

Aug 2005–May 2010

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Assisted in the preparation of legal documents.
  • Conducted research to support ongoing cases.
  • Participated in court hearings and negotiations.

Key Achievement:

  • Reduced client liability by 30% through strategic negotiation tactics.

Education

Juris Doctor

University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL

Sept 2001–May 2005

Relevant extracurricular activities

  • Moot Court Board
  • Law Review Editor

Academic achievements

  • Graduated magna cum laude.
  • Received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for demonstrating excellence in the study of Corporate Law.

Skills

  • Legal research
  • Client counseling
  • Case management
  • Negotiation
  • Team leadership
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail

Certifications

  • Licensed to practice law in Illinois, American Bar Association, 2005

Awards

  • 2018, Attorney of the Year, American Bar Association

Memberships

Member of the American Bar Association since 2005

  • Delivered a lecture on “The Future of Corporate Law” at the 2017 American Bar Association Conference.

Languages

  • English—Native proficiency
  • Spanish—Intermediate proficiency

Interests

  • Reading legal thrillers.
  • Participating in community legal aid services.

 

What’s the Best Format for an Attorney Resume?

Meet the hiring manager at that renowned firm.

Her name is Katie, and she values meticulous attention to detail.

Is it any surprise that your lawyer resume must reflect that?

Make a lasting impression with the optimal legal resume format. The chronological resume format builds your case step by step.

It kicks off with your most recent accomplishments.

Utilize white space effectively, choose the best resume fonts, and employ clear headings. Ensure nothing obstructs your path to securing an interview.

Uncertain whether to submit your resume in PDF or Word format?

PDFs are currently machine-readable. Opt for a PDF unless the job posting explicitly prohibits it.

Law Resume Summary or Resume Objective?

The initial paragraph of a legal brief should inform the judge about the case’s essence.

Similarly, the opening paragraph of a lawyer’s resume should encapsulate your professional background.

For individuals with extensive experience comparable to Horace Rumpole, employing a resume summary is ideal. It highlights your most notable legal accomplishments relevant to the position.

For those recently graduated from law school, a resume objective is suitable. It indicates you as a strong candidate driven by passion and enthusiasm. However, as demonstrated later, passion alone is insufficient.

The following two examples of legal resumes provide supporting evidence.

Examples of Attorney Resumes [Resume Summaries]
Which of the lawyer resume samples below is more compelling?

WRONG
Eager general counsel attorney seeking lucrative position. Proficient in corporate law and trademark law. Extremely hardworking and willing to work long hours.

This lacks specificity and won’t generate many interview opportunities.

Instead, model your approach after this seasoned attorney resume example:

RIGHT
Results-oriented litigation attorney with over 4 years of experience. Aiming to apply proven trial, preparation, and negotiation expertise at Diversi & Leadbetter. Achieved 1600 billable hours/year with a 95% client satisfaction rate at LDP. Successfully took 37 cases to trial and settled 93 out of 100 mediations.

This attorney resume summary has the potential to secure a position at a prestigious firm like Ropes & Gray.

If your experience aligns more with a blank pleading template, review the law student resume examples provided below.

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Two Entry-Level Attorney Resume Objectives
Are you a recent law school graduate with minimal experience?

Traditionally, it was advised to emphasize your enthusiasm. That’s how the first of our law student resume examples approaches it:

WRONG
Entry-level attorney seeking junior position. Although I haven’t yet secured a full-time legal role, I’ve been diligently working in retail and bartending to support myself.
However, in today’s competitive landscape, such a generic legal resume objective lacks substance and credibility.

For a compelling attorney resume objective, you need specifics like this:

RIGHT
Motivated attorney eager to contribute to Locklin & Gates, Inc. Known for maintaining a high rate of annual billable hours. Served as judge for 5 High School Moot Court Competitions. Conducted 15 contract reviews for local artists and regularly assist with pro bono trial preparations for small claims court.
Case closed.

But how did a recent graduate acquire such diverse experience for a law student resume? Let’s explore that next.

How to Describe Your Legal Experience

Let’s take a glimpse into the perspective of our hiring manager, Katie.

Experience holds significant weight for her.

However, Katie doesn’t merely seek evidence of having held any legal job. She is specifically interested in candidates who have excelled in roles relevant to the position she’s offering.

Therefore, align your experience closely with the job description, creating a connection as robust as a well-crafted contract.

Firstly, emphasize the qualities outlined in the job description.

Subsequently, sift through your past experiences for admissible proof of those qualities.

The following attorney resume examples exemplify this strategy:

Two Experienced Attorney Resume Samples

The effectiveness of the first lawyer resume example is indisputable:

RIGHT

Litman, Day, & Phair

Attorney

2014–2018

– Successfully handled 37 case files from inception through trial and, at times, through the appeal process.
– Conducted over 100 mediations, achieving an impressive 93% settlement rate.
– Attained a 95% client satisfaction score based on exit surveys.
– Consistently maintained a minimum of 1600 annual billable hours.

This presentation builds a compelling case, akin to the legal prowess of Johnny Cochran. It features measurable achievements that impeccably align with the job description.

Conversely, the subsequent lawyer resume example falls short in this regard:

WRONG

Litman, Day, & Phair

Attorney

2014–2018

– Trial lawyer for a busy firm with a large roster of high-end clients.
– Responsible for conducting client mediations and settlements.
– Conducted all aspects of trial work, including preparation, depositions, and delegating lesser staff to office staff.

Certainly, your experience is evident. However, the question remains: were you more of an Atticus Finch or a Saul Goodman? In other words, what impact did you make?

The most effective legal resumes incorporate specific metrics and numbers.

Crafting an attorney resume without prior legal experience? In that scenario, refer to the two law school resume examples provided below.

How to Write a Resume for an Attorney with no Experience

The unfortunate reality?

As reported by the New York Times, 40% of law students remain jobless even ten months after completing their degree.

If you lack experience, think about enhancing your law student resume by engaging in:

– Pro bono work
– Volunteering at courts
– Judging high school moot court competitions
– Pursuing small freelance jobs
– Undertaking an internship or a judicial clerkship

Observe how these strategies come to life in two entry-level legal resume examples.

Two Attorney Resume Samples [No Experience]

The initial example of an attorney resume experience section is discarded:

WRONG

Attorney Experience: None yet in the real world.

Other Experience:

Retail
Bartending

This lacks organization.

However, with specific details, you can craft a legal resume sample like this:

RIGHT

Attorney Experience

2017–2018

Conducted legal research contributing to a successful appeal.
Performed monthly pro bono trial preparation for San Diego Small Claims Court.
Judged Gainsboro High Moot Court Competition, writing 5 decisions.

Elle Woods couldn’t have said it better. You might already possess the material for a law student resume like that.

 

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Is Your Education Section Criminal? It Might Be

You understand that a comprehensive legal resume should showcase a strong education section. However, did you realize there are two approaches, and only one will secure the interview?

Certainly, initiate with:

– College Name and Location
– Years in School
– Degree

But supplement them with 3-5 bullet points.

Specify these with academic accomplishments that secure the interview as if it were mandated in a mandamus.

The attorney resume examples below offer insight.

Lawyer Resume Examples [Education]

Suppose you’re seeking a position requiring trial preparation and litigation. The initial attorney resume sample adheres strictly to the legal requirements:

**RIGHT**

**Juris Doctor**

*Whittier Law School, 2010–2013*

– Engaged in coursework focused on trial preparation and litigation.
– Served as a member of the Moot Court Honors Board.
– Authored a weekly column on trial law.
– Delivered 5 legal arguments in Moot Court, contributing to the team’s victory in state finals.

The verdict? This attorney was actively preparing for this job during their academic years.

In contrast, the following attorney resume example lacks the necessary details:

**WRONG**

**Juris Doctorate**

*Whittier Law School, 2010–2013*

– Completed all coursework.
– GPA 2.9

This attorney resume example fails to advocate for your employment prospects. However, with added details, you can position yourself in the realm of Erin Brockovich.

How to Put Skills on a Resume for an Attorney

Persuading the hiring manager of your legal prowess is the key to securing an interview. However, if it were a straightforward task, everyone would excel at it. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward modification you can apply to your lawyer resume to achieve this.

The attorney resume examples provided below serve as Exhibits A and B, tailored for a job opportunity that requires skills in reviewing pleadings, drafting discovery requests, and effective time management.

Attorney Resume Examples [Skills]

In the first legal resume excerpt, an attempt is made to present a broad array of skills without substantiating evidence:

**WRONG**
*Attorney Skills:* Leadership, collaboration, drafting discovery requests, litigation, corporate law, tax law, trademark law, environmental law, drafting discovery requests, time management, criminal law, divorce law, Jude Law…

The issue here is the mere listing of skills without supporting evidence, which essentially amounts to presenting nothing.

To rectify this, focus on the skills specified in the job description and then, akin to Joe Pesci in *My Cousin Vinny*, provide concrete evidence demonstrating your proficiency. The following attorney resume example illustrates this approach:

**RIGHT**
– *Reviewed 20% more pleadings per month* than the company average.
– *Drafted discovery requests 15% faster* than any other company lawyer.
– Logged *10% more billable hours* than the five other attorneys in my group.

This approach transforms the attorney resume skills section into more than just a list, making it a compelling invitation for an interview with BuckleySandler.

For a starting point, consider the skills listed below, and explore additional legal job descriptions online to uncover more relevant law resume keywords.

 

 

Soft Skills

Hard Skills

Legal Skills

Interpersonal Skills

Law Knowledge

Mediation

Communication

Legal Procedure

Trial Preparation

Collaboration

Tech Skills

Tort Law

Dependable

Research

Product Liability Law

Work Ethic

Writing

Negotiation

Detail Oriented

Client Management

Antitrust Law

Analytical

Upselling

Settlement

Time Management

Client Service

Litigation

Organization

Project Management Skills

Client Advocacy

Persuasiveness

Documentation

Corporate Law

How to Show Bar Admission on a Resume

“How should I include my bar admissions on my resume?”

Hiring managers may not consistently scrutinize your bar status, and if it’s not prominently displayed on your lawyer resume, they might overlook it. According to the American Bar Association’s recommendation:

1. Add “Esq.” after your name.
2. Incorporate a dedicated “Law License” section immediately following your resume summary, structured as follows:

 

How to Add Other Sections for an Effective Resume

Recall Katie, our hiring manager?

Who would she prefer to hire?

Someone merely fulfilling the requirements? Or a lawyer fully immersed in legal work, living and breathing it?

In a lawyer’s resume, this entails incorporating specific “additional” sections:

– Volunteer work
– Journal work/notes
– Non-journal publications
– Conferences
– Moot court experience
– Community involvement
– Student organizations

The lawyer resume examples provided below illustrate this approach.

Attorney Resume Examples [Other Sections]

WRONG
Interests

– Paint by Numbers
– Walking my Dog

Remember, we want to showcase your passion for law.

With that in mind, model your legal resume after this example:

RIGHT
Journals

– Journal Note: Rethinking Zauderer CA. L. REV. May 2017

Conferences

– Legalweek – Spoke on a panel about trial preparation 2015
– ABA Spring Conference

Additional Activities

– Volunteer to walk dogs bimonthly at a local animal shelter.
– Avid mountain biker, hiker, swimmer, surfer.

How About a Cover Letter for an Attorney?

Do you even need a cover letter for a lawyer resume?

Absolutely, and you can bet your bar association membership on it.

The sad truth is, most hiring managers spend just seven short seconds on each resume. However, your attorney cover letter can turn that into ten minutes. How?

By making a connection.

Start by addressing the hiring manager by name.

Then, demonstrate your understanding of the position.

Lastly, prove how you can successfully fulfill it.

Follow this (truncated) attorney cover letter example:

“I’ve been following Diversi & Leadbetter’s articles in the Harvard Law Review for some years now. I’m intrigued

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