How to Write a Perfect Lawyer Resume (with Examples and Tips)

lawyer resume example
Created by CakeResume

In the US and many other places in the world, the terms legal advocate, lawyer and attorney are used interchangeably in a broad sense.

Their responsibility is to represent another person or entity in the legal system or the court of law to advocate for their rights or needs. 

However, a lawyer is more like an umbrella term while an advocate and an attorney requires a more specialized training.

Both advocates and attorneys represent their clients in the court of law but advocates do not have direct contact with their clients.

Whether you are writing a lawyer resume or an advocate resume, the importance of a well-written resume cannot be overstated. A dazzling lawyer resume boosts your overall competitiveness among other candidates.

How to write a lawyer resume

Before drafting your lawyer resume, here are some crucial steps to follow to understand the basics. 

Step 1: Understand the differences between a CV and a resume.

A lawyer resume briefly summarizes your experience, skills, and accomplishments.

A lawyer CV is, on the other hand, a detailed summary of your affiliations, research, and accomplishments and is typically used for academic purposes.

Step 2: Choose the right resume format for lawyer jobs.

There are three common lawyer resume formats at your disposal.

  • Chronological resume format:
    The chronological format   lists your previous positions and education background in reverse chronological order, starting from the most recent  ones on the top followed by your less recent ones.
    
  • Functional resume format:
    This format stresses your competence rather than your experience.
    
  • Combination resume format:
    The combination resume format is the combination of the chronological resume format and the functional resume format.

Step 3: Refer to lawyer resume examples & templates.

It’s also  good to start with consulting other advocate resume examples and lawyer resume examples online. Be sure to make additional changes to customize your own ones when using a lawyer resume template.

Step 4: Tailor your lawyer resume for the role. 

Tailoring your lawyer resume means perfecting it so that it matches the requirements in the job description. 

Step 5: Craft a lawyer cover letter.

For lawyers and advocates, a cover letter is a must because it acts as a supplement to your lawyer resume. Later in the article, we will be showing you a more in-depth guide on how to craft a cover letter for lawyers.

Step 6: Proofread.

Finally, have your lawyer resume proofread and checked by professionals and you’re all set!

What to put on a resume for a lawyer

1. Resume Header

A resume header contains your personal information such as your name, address and your socials. 

Example of a lawyer resume header:

Jan Kowalski

Address: Chicago, IL
E-mail: [email protected]
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jankowl2050

2. Resume Title

A resume headline or a resume title is the key to grabbing HR’s attention. It should be a giveaway of who you are and what you have accomplished. 

Example of lawyer resume headlines: 

  • Insightful lawyer with 10 years+ of experience
  • Well-educated lawyer with 5 years of experience

3. Lawyer Resume Summary

A resume summary is extremely important. It encapsulates your accomplishments and your experience in 3 sentences. 

Example of a lawyer resume summary: 

Impact-oriented lawyer with more than a decade of experience in providing legal advice to avoid litigation, assisting corporations, and writing contracts. Pays attention to details and minimize all possible risks. Able to speak 3 languages fluently.

4. Lawyer Resume Objective

A resume objective briefly describes prospects for your career. A well-written career objective for your lawyer resume  strengthens your resume. 

Example of a lawyer resume objective: 

Ambitious lawyer with 3 years of expertise in ensuring the legality and the legitimacy of transactions between corporations. Seeking a more dynamic environment to apply knowledge and expertise in business law. 

5. Skills

There are two types of skills you want to include on your lawyer resume, which are hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are measurable skills while soft skills are practical skills.

Example of hard skills for a lawyer resume: 

  • Legal writing
  • Foreign languages
  • Professional responsibilities
  • Wills and trusts

Example of soft skills for a lawyer resume: 

  • Resilience
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Negotiation

6. Work Experience

For the work experience section on your lawyer resume, please use the reverse chronological order. 

List the name of the organizations that you previously worked at, their locations, the span of your employment and your duties and achievements. 

Example of work experience on a lawyer resume: 

XYZ Law Firm, New York, US.
Legal Counsel, 2014 - 2018

  • Negotiated and closed more than 30 collaboration contracts.
  • Provided legal advice to senior management and managed legal risks.  
  • Developed intellectual property strategies for more than 50 corporations and individuals.

7. Education

In the education section, you should mention the name of your study, school and the duration in reverse chronological order. 

If you have an outstanding GPA (3.7/4.0 or above) or accomplishments that are worth mentioning, make sure to add them too. 

Example of education on a lawyer resume: 

BSc International Relations
University of Alberta (Alberta, Canada)
2005 to 2009

8. Additional Information

This section is where you mention any certificates, personal projects, awards, hobbies, and other references that support the above-mentioned information.

Tips for writing the best lawyer resume

👍 1. Customize the resume for lawyer jobs.

With so many resumes to process, hiring managers are more likely to value the ones with higher relevance. You want to put the most relevant prominent experience and skills on top of your lawyer resume where recruiters can see at first glance. 

👍 2. Quantify results on resumes.

Numbers speak louder on a resume. Sentences like “assisted more than 40 corporations in the court of law” weigh more than a sentence with no numbers, such as “experienced corporation lawyer” on the resume

👍 3. Craft an ATS-friendly resume.

ATS stands for Applicants Tracking Systems. It scans  applicants’ resumes in search of relevant keywords. Make sure you adopt keywords that are highlighted in the job requirements.

👍 4. Adopt resume action words.

Action verbs are words that accentuate your skills and experience. Verbs such as “assisted”, “organized”, and “processed” are all powerful action verbs.

👍 5. Include both hard skills and soft skills on your lawyer resume.

Be sure to mix hard skills and soft skills in the experience section and in your lawyer resume summary. It leaves a better impression on  the readers.

How to write a lawyer cover letter

Like other cover letters, a lawyer cover letter is a brief introduction of you, your background, your motivation, skills, and last but not least your prospects.

It can further show your enthusiasm for the job and add value to you as a promising lawyer that the resume cannot do.

1. Contact Details

Include your full name, phone number, and address. You can also provide information such as your social media if applicable.

2. Introduction

Greet the hiring manager, and then state your ambition for the position.

3. Motivation

This is where you state the reasons for your application. Show your genuine interests in the job  and career objectives that you want to achieve as a lawyer.

4. Qualification

Be very specific about your relevant skills and qualifications. It is optimal to state your previous experience to back up the statement.

To stand out among the candidates, state one unique trait of yours that is different from others.

5. Closing

Thank the hiring manager for taking his/her time to read your lawyer cover letter. Remember to mention if there is any attachment, such as a portfolio or a resume.

Lawyer resume sample

Jan Kowalski

Address: Chicago, IL
E-mail: [email protected]
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jankowl2050

Professional Summary 

Impact-oriented lawyer with 5 years of experience in providing legal advice to avoid litigation, assisting corporations with intellectual properties, and writing contracts for different parties. Pays attention to details and minimizes all possible risks. Able to speak 3 languages fluently.

Skills

  • Legal writing
  • Contracts 
  • Wills and trusts
  • Resilience
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Fluent in German, French, and Spanish 

Work Experience

XYZ Law Firm | New York, US.
Legal Counsel

2018 - 2020

  • Negotiated and closed more than 30 collaboration contracts .
  • Provided legal advice to senior management and managed legal risks.
  • Developed intellectual property strategies for more than 50 corporations and individuals.

XYZ Corporation | New York, US
General Council
2015 - 2018

  • Devised plans and strategies for 15+ business transactions to avoid litigation.
  • Negotiated with 20+ corporations on contracts..
  • Wrote contracts and policies for intellectual properties.

Education

LL.M. Master of Laws 
Harvard Law School, US
2012 to 2014

MSc Political Studies 
University of Alberta, Canada
2010 to 2012 
GPA: 3.7

BSc International Relations 
University of Alberta, Canada
2005 to 2009
GPA 3.9

With CakeResume, you can easily create a lawyer resume online, free download your resume’s PDF formats, and utilize ATS-compliant templates. Land your dream job and create your lawyer resume online (free download) now! 

--- Originally written by Yu-Jen Shih ---

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