In today’s competitive job market, having a great resume can make all the difference in securing your dream job. This is especially true for attorneys, where a well-written resume can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get hired.
For attorneys, a great resume should highlight your legal expertise, experience, and accomplishments in a clear and concise manner. In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to write a winning attorney resume, as well as share 10 winning attorney resume examples to inspire you.
The Importance of a Great Resume
A great resume is your ticket to getting noticed by employers and securing an interview. It’s your chance to showcase your skills, experience, and achievements in a way that stands out from the competition.
As an attorney, your resume should communicate your legal expertise and highlight your ability to provide value to potential employers. This includes demonstrating your ability to handle complex legal issues, work collaboratively with clients and colleagues, and achieve successful outcomes in legal cases.
How to Write a Winning Attorney Resume
Writing a winning attorney resume requires attention to detail and a clear understanding of what employers are looking for. Here are some tips to help you create a winning attorney resume:
- Start with a strong summary statement that outlines your legal expertise and career goals
- Highlight your education and professional qualifications, including your JD and any relevant certifications or licenses
- Focus on your experience, highlighting cases or projects that demonstrate your legal skills and experience
- Include metrics and achievements that demonstrate the value you’ve brought to previous employers
- Use clear and concise language, avoiding legal jargon and overly complicated language
Overview of 10 Winning Attorney Resume Examples
In the following sections, we will share 10 winning attorney resume examples to inspire you in your own job search. These resumes showcase a range of legal expertise, from corporate law to criminal defense, and demonstrate the key elements of a great attorney resume.
Whether you’re just starting out in your legal career or are a seasoned attorney looking for your next challenge, these resumes are sure to provide valuable insights and inspiration. So let’s dive into 10 winning attorney resume examples that will help you land your dream job in the legal field.
When it comes to crafting an effective attorney resume, choosing the right format is key. The following are three common resume formats to consider:
A. Top-down Format
The top-down resume format, also known as a functional format, is particularly suited for those with significant experience in their field. This format focuses on the applicant’s skills and accomplishments, placing them front and center.
Applicants who opt for this format should highlight their relevant skills and experience in an introductory section. This section should be followed by a summary of their work experience, again focusing on transferable skills and accomplishments rather than simply listing previous job titles and responsibilities.
B. Reverse Chronological Format
The reverse chronological format is one of the most common resume formats and involves listing a candidate’s work experience in reverse chronological order, with the most recent positions listed first. This format is particularly well-suited for those with a linear career path, i.e. those who have moved up the ladder in a single organization or who have worked in similar roles across different organizations.
In this format, an introductory section should still highlight the applicant’s most important skills and accomplishments, but the real focus should be on detailed bullet points outlining their work experience.
C. Hybrid Format
As the name suggests, a hybrid resume format combines elements of both the top-down and reverse chronological formats. This type of resume works well for those who have a varied work history with experience in different industries or those who want to highlight both specific skills and work experience.
In a hybrid format, the applicant starts with a skills-based introductory section, as in the top-down format, before listing their work experience in reverse chronological order. This format can be effective in demonstrating an applicant’s ability to adapt to different roles and industries while still emphasizing their transferable skills.
Ultimately, the choice of resume format will depend on a variety of factors, including an applicant’s experience, goals, and the specific requirements of the job they are applying for. Regardless of the format chosen, it is essential to ensure that the resume is easy to read, visually pleasing, and conveys the applicant’s skills and experience clearly and effectively.
Attorney Resume Sections
As a legal professional, having a well-crafted resume can make all the difference in landing that dream job. To help you create a winning attorney resume, we’ve broken down the key sections that should be included below:
A. Header and Contact Information
At the top of your resume, include a header with your name and contact information, including your email address and phone number. Make sure that your email address sounds professional and is easy to read. Avoid using email handles that are inappropriate or sound unprofessional, as this can come across as unprofessional to potential employers.
B. Professional Summary
Your professional summary is where you’ll make your first impression with potential employers. In this section, you should highlight your most impressive accomplishments, as well as any unique skills or experiences that make you stand out from the crowd. Try to keep this section concise and to the point, keeping in mind that employers will likely only spend a few seconds scanning your resume before deciding whether to keep reading.
In the education section of your resume, list your degree(s), the name of your educational institution, and any relevant coursework or honors. Be sure to include your graduation date, as well as any professional or academic affiliations that you may have.
D. Work Experience
The work experience section of your resume is where you’ll showcase your legal expertise and experience. We’ve provided three example sections below to help you craft compelling job descriptions that resonate with potential employers:
1. Example: Junior Associate
As a junior associate, I gained valuable experience supporting senior lawyers, managing case loads, and conducting legal research. I successfully conducted legal briefings and communicated effectively with clients and colleagues in both written and oral formats.
2. Example: Litigation Attorney
As a litigation attorney, I managed a high-volume caseload and successfully resolved numerous cases in state and federal courts. I effectively produced and reviewed discovery, conducted depositions, and was consistently praised for my attention to detail and strategic approach in the courtroom.
3. Example: In-House Counsel
As in-house counsel, I provided legal advice and counsel to senior management and executive team members. I was responsible for managing litigation, reviewing and drafting contracts, and drafting corporate policies and procedures. I was recognized for my excellent communication skills and attention to detail in all matters.
E. Skills and Certifications
In this section, highlight any relevant skills and certifications you have acquired throughout your career. This may include certifications in your area of legal expertise, proficiency in relevant software platforms, or fluency in a foreign language.
F. Pro Bono and Volunteer Experience
Including your pro bono and volunteer experience on your resume is a great way to showcase your commitment to your community and give potential employers a sense of your character and values.
Tailoring Your Attorney Resume
In order to increase your chances of landing a job in the legal field, it is important to tailor your attorney resume to the specific job you are applying for. Here are three ways to do this:
A. Targeting Job Listings
When applying for a job, it is important to carefully read the job listing to identify the skills, experience and qualifications the employer is looking for. Use this information to tailor your resume to meet those requirements. For example, if the job listing states that the employer is seeking someone with experience in environmental law, highlight any relevant experience or training you have in that area.
B. Incorporating Keywords
Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes before they are seen by a human. These systems use keywords to identify resumes that match the job listing. To increase your chances of passing the ATS screening, incorporate relevant keywords into your attorney resume. You can find these keywords by carefully reading the job listing and identifying the key phrases or skills that are mentioned.
C. Showcasing Relevant Experience and Skills
Your attorney resume should showcase your relevant experience and skills. Use the job listing to identify the most important skills and experience the employer is looking for, and make sure to highlight these in your resume. If you have experience working in a specific legal practice area, make sure to include this in your resume, along with any notable cases you have worked on. Additionally, highlight any relevant professional memberships and certifications to showcase your expertise in the legal field.
Tailoring your attorney resume to the specific job you are applying for is crucial to standing out from other applicants and increasing your chances of landing a job. By targeting job listings, incorporating keywords, and showcasing your relevant experience and skills, you can create a winning attorney resume that will catch the attention of potential employers.
Common Attorney Resume Mistakes
Creating a standout resume as an attorney can be a challenging task, but it’s important to avoid common resume mistakes that can hinder your success in landing an interview.
A. Too Much Detail
One of the most common mistakes attorneys make on their resumes is including too much detail. As an attorney, you must be thorough and detail-oriented, but your resume does not need to include every single detail of your work experience. Instead, focus on the most relevant and impressive details that showcase your skills and accomplishments. Remember, your resume should be concise and easy to read, not a long exhaustive list of every task you’ve ever completed.
B. Lack of Clarity
Another issue with attorney resumes is a lack of clarity. Your resume should be easy to understand and should clearly highlight your experience and achievements. Avoid using legal jargon that could confuse or alienate non-legal hiring managers or recruiters. Also, make sure to use bullet points and action-oriented language that effectively communicates your qualifications and achievements.
C. Failing to Highlight Key Accomplishments
Failing to highlight your key accomplishments is a mistake that can seriously undermine your chances of landing the job. As an attorney, you want to showcase your ability to generate positive outcomes for your clients or employer. Make sure to highlight your most impressive wins or any significant contributions you’ve made to your previous organizations. For example, if you successfully negotiated a settlement resulting in significant savings for your client, be sure to include this in your resume. Accomplishments like this demonstrate your value as an attorney and can set you apart from other applicants.
When crafting your resume, ensure you include the most relevant information about your experience and achievements. Make it easy to read, clear, and concise. Highlighting your wins is a must, so be sure to mention your most impressive accomplishments. Avoid these common attorney resume mistakes and let your resume speak for your success as a professional in the legal industry.
Tips for Building an Effective Attorney Resume
As an experienced copywriter and subject matter expert, I understand the importance of crafting a strong resume that highlights your skills and qualifications. Below are three tips to ensure your attorney resume stands out from the rest.
A. Use Strong Action Verbs
Start each bullet point in your resume with a strong action verb, such as “managed,” “negotiated,” “drafted,” or “advised.” Using strong action verbs not only makes your resume more dynamic, but it also shows potential employers that you are capable of taking initiative and getting things done.
B. Quantify Accomplishments
When describing your work experience, be sure to quantify your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying you “handled litigation cases,” say you “successfully managed 30+ litigation cases with a 90% success rate.” Including specific numbers and metrics demonstrates your effectiveness and helps potential employers quickly understand the breadth and impact of your experience.
C. Tailor Your Resume to the Job
Lastly, be sure to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. This means highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position. Review the job description carefully and incorporate the key phrases and requirements into your resume. This not only makes it clear to employers that you are a good fit for the job, but it also shows that you have taken the time to research and understand the position.
By following these three tips, you can create a winning attorney resume that emphasizes your qualifications and experience, sets you apart from the competition, and lands you the job of your dreams.
Resume Writing for Law Students
As a law student, your resume is one of the most important tools in your arsenal for securing employment after graduation. It’s crucial that you highlight your education, experience, and skills to stand out to potential employers. In this section, we’ll cover the key elements of a winning attorney resume for law students.
A. Education and Academic Accomplishments
Your education is the foundation of your legal career, so it’s important to highlight your academic accomplishments. Start with your most recent degree and work backwards. Include the name of the institution, your degree, and any honors or awards you received.
If you’re still in law school, include your expected graduation date and any relevant coursework. You may also want to add your GPA if it’s above a 3.0. If you’ve already completed an internship or clerkship, highlight that experience under the education section as well.
B. Legal Experience
Legal experience is a key selling point for any aspiring attorney. Be sure to highlight any internships, clerkships, or other legal positions you’ve held. For each position, include the name of the organization, your title, and your primary responsibilities.
If you’re a law student with limited legal experience, don’t worry. You can still highlight any relevant experience you have. For example, if you worked in a law firm as a receptionist or legal secretary, you can showcase the skills you gained in that role.
C. Other Relevant Experience
While legal experience is important, don’t overlook other relevant experience that could make you a more attractive candidate. For example, if you’re interested in securities law, highlighting experience in finance or accounting could be beneficial.
If you’re a student, you may also want to include any leadership positions you’ve held on campus or in your community. This can help demonstrate your communication and organizational skills.
Finally, don’t forget to highlight your skills. Hard skills like legal research, writing, and analysis are crucial for any attorney, but don’t overlook soft skills like communication, teamwork, and time management. Be sure to mention any languages you speak or software programs you’re proficient in as well.
A winning attorney resume for law students should highlight your education, legal experience, other relevant experience, and skills. By showcasing your unique talents and accomplishments, you can set yourself apart from other candidates and land the job of your dreams.
Example of a Solo Practitioner Resume
When it comes to creating a resume as a solo practitioner, there are a few key elements to consider. Firstly, being a solo practitioner means that you’ll need to showcase your experience and skills in a way that sets you apart from other attorneys who have worked for larger law firms.
To help give you an idea of what a solo practitioner resume might look like, here’s an example:
Name and Contact Information
Your name and contact information should always be at the top of your resume, making it easy for potential employers to get in touch with you.
John Doe 123 Main Street Anytown, USA 12345 Phone: 555-555-5555 Email: [email protected]
Your professional summary should be a brief overview of your experience and skills, highlighting what makes you stand out as a solo practitioner. For example:
Experienced attorney with over 10 years of experience as a solo practitioner. Skilled in managing a variety of legal cases, including commercial litigation, real estate law, and estate planning. Demonstrated success in achieving favorable outcomes for clients.
Your education should always come next on your resume, providing potential employers with an overview of your academic achievements. For example:
Juris Doctorate, XYZ Law School, 2009 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, ABC University, 2006
Your legal experience section should highlight your accomplishments as a solo practitioner, with a focus on successful cases and satisfied clients. For example:
Solo Practitioner, Law Offices of John Doe, 2009-present
- Managed a variety of legal cases, including commercial litigation and real estate law
- Successfully negotiated settlements on behalf of clients, resulting in significant cost savings
- Drafted and reviewed contracts and other legal documents for clients
- Developed and executed effective strategies for clients in a variety of legal disputes
- Maintained strong relationships with clients, resulting in repeat business and referrals
Your professional memberships should come next, providing potential employers with an overview of your involvement in the legal community. For example:
Member, American Bar Association Member, State Bar Association Member, Local Bar Association
Certifications and Awards
Finally, if you’ve received any certifications or awards in your legal career, be sure to highlight them on your resume. For example:
Certified Civil Trial Specialist, National Board of Trial Advocacy AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
A successful solo practitioner resume should showcase your experience and skills in a way that sets you apart from other attorneys in the field. By following this example, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a winning resume that gets you noticed by potential employers.
Example of a Corporate Counsel Resume
A corporate counsel is one of the most sought-after positions in the legal field. To stand out from the other applicants and land your dream job, your resume should showcase your skills, experience, and accomplishments.
Here is an example of a corporate counsel resume that can help you get started:
1234 Main Street, Anytown, USA 12345
Email: [email protected]
Experienced corporate counsel with over 10 years of experience providing legal advice to multinational corporations. Expertise in contract negotiation, litigation, corporate compliance, and risk management. A results-oriented individual who can provide excellent solutions to complex legal issues.
- Juris Doctorate, XYZ University School of Law, Anytown, USA
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, ABC University, Anytown, USA
Senior Corporate Counsel, DEF Corporation, Anytown, USA (2015 – Present)
- Provide legal advice to senior management regarding business transactions, contract negotiations, and corporate governance
- Manage the company’s legal operations, including compliance, risk management, and litigation
- Draft and negotiate a variety of commercial contracts, including supply agreements, service agreements, and software licensing agreements
- Advise on foreign investment rules and regulations in different jurisdictions, including the U.S., Europe, and Asia
- Lead a team of 5 legal professionals and collaborate with other departments to ensure proper legal compliance and risk mitigation
Corporate Counsel, GHI Corporation, Anytown, USA (2010 – 2015)
- Advised senior leadership on various legal issues related to acquisitions, joint ventures, and other strategic initiatives
- Managed complex commercial litigation, including contract disputes, intellectual property infringement, and unfair competition claims
- Reviewed and prepared legal agreements, such as employment agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and consulting agreements
- Conducted internal investigations to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and corporate policies
- Assisted with corporate governance matters, including board meetings, shareholder meetings, and proxy solicitations
- Expertise in contract negotiation, drafting, and review
- Strong litigation skills, including dispute resolution and trial experience
- Knowledgeable in corporate compliance, including FCPA, privacy, and data protection
- Ability to communicate complex legal concepts to senior management and business stakeholders
- Proficient in Microsoft Office, Westlaw, and LexisNexis
With this example, you can see how important it is to highlight specific skills, experience, and accomplishments that are tailored to the role you are applying for. Make sure to also use action verbs and quantify your achievements whenever possible. Following this structure can help you create a winning corporate counsel resume that will help you stand out from the competition.
Example of a Judicial Clerkship Resume
Are you a law student or recent law school graduate looking to secure a judicial clerkship? Crafting a strong judicial clerkship resume is essential to stand out from other applicants and position yourself as a top candidate for the position. Let’s take a look at an example judicial clerkship resume to see what key elements make it stand out.
Provide your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of your resume. It is important to ensure that your contact information is up-to-date and professional.
List your academic degrees in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Be sure to include your law school, graduation date, and any relevant coursework or academic achievements such as cum laude, law review, or moot court.
Your work experience section should focus on any relevant legal work you have done, such as internships or externships. In the case of a judicial clerkship resume, it is important to highlight any experience working in a court or with a judge. Be sure to include the judge’s name, court, and dates of your clerkship.
Skills and Qualifications
In this section, showcase your legal skills and qualifications. For example, you may want to highlight your legal writing abilities, research skills, or knowledge of a particular area of law. You can also include any relevant certifications, such as being admitted to practice in a particular jurisdiction.
Publications and Presentations
If you have published any legal articles or given any presentations, be sure to include them in this section. This can further showcase your expertise and knowledge of the law.
Honors and Awards
Any academic or professional honors and awards should be listed in this section. This can include scholarships, awards for outstanding performance, or recognition for leadership roles in organizations or competitions.
List any professional organizations you belong to and any leadership roles you may have held. This can include bar associations, legal societies, or other organizations related to your area of expertise.
Finally, be sure to include a list of professional references. This can include past employers, supervisors, professors, or attorneys you have worked with in the past. Make sure to ask your references for permission before including their contact information on your resume.
A judicial clerkship resume should focus on showcasing your legal expertise, relevant work experience, and academic achievements. Make sure to tailor your resume to the specific clerkship you are applying for and highlight any relevant experience or skills that make you stand out from other applicants. Good luck!
Example of a Public Defender Resume
If you are striving to land a job as a public defender, it is crucial to have a well-crafted resume that highlights your skills and experience. Here is an example of a public defender resume that you can use as a guide in creating your own:
- Name: John Doe
- Address: 123 Main St., Anytown USA 12345
- Phone: (123) 456-7890
- Email: [email protected]
A dedicated public defender with seven years of experience in providing legal representation to indigent clients. Proven track record of securing favorable outcomes in high-pressure, fast-paced environments. Possesses excellent communication and negotiation skills, as well as a strong commitment to social justice.
- J.D. from Anytown School of Law, 2013
- Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Anytown University, 2010
Public Defender’s Office, Anytown USA
Senior Public Defender, 2017 – Present
- Represent indigent clients in court proceedings, including arraignments, pre-trial conferences, and trials
- Conduct legal research and draft legal memoranda, motions, and briefs
- Negotiate plea agreements with prosecutors and argue on behalf of clients in front of judges and juries
- Supervise and mentor junior attorneys and law clerks
- Collaborate with social workers and other professionals to provide clients with holistic representation
- Successfully defended clients in over 50 jury trials and secured numerous dismissals, acquittals, and favorable plea deals
Public Defender, 2014 – 2017
- Conducted initial consultations with clients and prepared pleadings and other legal documents
- Investigated cases and interviewed witnesses to prepare for trial
- Represented clients in court proceedings and negotiated plea agreements
- Worked closely with public defender team to identify legal issues and develop defense strategies
- Successfully represented clients in over 20 bench and jury trials
- Litigation and trial experience
- Legal research and writing
- Negotiation and advocacy
- Team leadership and mentorship
- Cross-cultural competence
- Fluent in Spanish
By using this example as a template, you can create a public defender resume that showcases your qualifications and sets you apart from the competition. Remember to tailor your resume to the specific job description and highlight your most relevant experience and achievements. With a strong resume, you can confidently apply for public defender positions and take the next step in your legal career.
Example of a Prosecutor Resume
As a prosecutor, your primary objective is to represent the state in criminal proceedings and to ensure that justice is served. As such, your resume should highlight your experience in criminal law and your ability to work within the legal system. Here is an example of a prosecutor resume that can serve as a guide:
Name and Contact Information
Include your full name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of your resume. Make sure that your contact information is up-to-date and professional.
Your professional summary is your chance to showcase your experience and highlight your skills. It should be brief and to the point. Here’s an example:
“Experienced prosecutor with seven years of experience handling criminal cases in state and federal courts. Skilled in trial preparation, legal research, and case management. Proven track record of success in securing favorable outcomes for clients.”
List your educational background, starting with your law degree. Include the name of the institution, the degree earned, and the year of graduation. It’s also a good idea to include any relevant coursework or honors.
List the states in which you are licensed to practice law. Be sure to include your bar numbers, as well.
Your professional experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. For each position, include the following:
- Job title
- Name of the employer
- Dates of employment
- Job duties and responsibilities
Here’s an example of a professional experience section for a prosecutor:
Assistant District Attorney New York County District Attorney’s Office New York, NY 2015-present
- Conduct investigations and prepare cases for trial.
- Appear in court for hearings and trials.
- Draft legal arguments and pleadings.
- Negotiate plea agreements with defense counsel.
- Manage a caseload of 50+ cases at any given time.
Include a list of relevant skills, such as trial advocacy, legal research, case management, and negotiation. Use bullet points to make your list easy to read.
List any professional organizations or associations that you belong to, such as the National District Attorneys Association or the American Bar Association.
It’s a good idea to include a list of references on your resume. Choose people who can attest to your skills and experience, such as former colleagues or supervisors. Be sure to ask for their permission before listing them as a reference.
A prosecutor resume should showcase your experience in criminal law and your ability to work within the legal system. Use this example as a guide, but be sure to tailor your resume to your specific skills and experience. With a well-written resume, you can land your dream job as a prosecutor.
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