Best Lawyer Resume Example + Guide + Tips

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert
Last Updated: January 03, 2024
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Lawyers are professionals who provide legal advice and assistance to their clients. They perform legal research, draft legal documents and provide advice on legal matters. Lawyers can specialize in many different areas of law, such as criminal law, family law, corporate law or environmental law.

You need a great resume to get a job as a lawyer, and we’re here to help you learn how to write a resume for the lawyer position you want. Our lawyer resume samples and guide will help you make the most of your design skills and attention to detail to ensure you stand out to employers. 

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Start by editing this sample lawyer resume template, or explore our library of customizable resume templates to find the best template for your lawyer resume.

Lawyer resume example (text version)

CARLA PHAM

City, State, Zip Code
000-000-0000
email@email.com

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

Driven and detail-oriented lawyer with nearly a decade of experience working in law. Excel at leveraging research and close collaboration with clients to avoid or win litigation. Can expertly manage and delegate tasks to ensure clarity and efficiency in all areas of work

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATION

  • Have achieved desirable settlements in over 80 percent of cases.
  • Expert at clearly articulating legal subtleties and complexities to clients and coworkers.
  • Remain informed about evolution of business-relevant laws, adjust plans for future strategy accordingly.

WORK HISTORY

General Counsel, 11/2016 to Current
Company Name, City, State

  • Negotiate and reach settlements with other parties; have successfully avoided litigation in all but three cases over three years.
  • Advise executives, other employees, and third-party clients regarding law as it relates to their jobs, rights and opportunities.
  • Stay up-to-date on changing laws, update all employees as it relates to their work.

Paralegal, 01/2014 to 05/2016 Shannon & Stuhlbarg LLC
Company Name, City, State

  • Performed research and drafted thorough briefings to assist attorneys in trial preparation.
  • Mentored, trained and continued to supervise two junior paralegals.
  • Oversaw travel arrangements, scheduled meetings external and internal.

Administrative Assistant, 08/2009 to 10/2012
Company Name, City, State

  • Took thorough notes while managing all senior leadership schedules.
  • More efficiently categorized proprietary digital database that reduced future research and contract drafting time by 15 percent.
  • Took thorough notes during meetings with all partners or executive staff.

SKILLS

  • Patent law
  • Finance knowledge
  • Residential mortgage lending regulations
  • Equity programs
  • Corporate transactions
  • Broad-based compensation programs

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science, Political Science, City, State

5 essentials of a top lawyer resume

  1. Contact details

    Place your contact information at the top of the page. It must include your full name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and professional email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile and professional website, add them as well.

  2. Professional summary

    A professional summary is a concise, three- to five-sentence statement that tells the hiring manager who you are and what you bring to the table. Include some of your top skills in your summary, along with one or two notable accomplishments

    Here’s a great sample lawyer resume summary:

    “Dedicated and highly skilled professional lawyer with over eight years of experience in a wide variety of legal areas, including corporate law, contract law, family law and criminal law. Experienced in providing comprehensive legal advice and counsel to individuals, businesses and public interest groups. Highly organized and detail-oriented with excellent written and verbal communication skills. Committed to upholding the highest standards of professional legal practice.”

  3. Skills

    A lawyer’s job is to ensure that their clients receive the best possible outcome from any legal proceeding they may be involved in. They must be well-versed in legal principles, statutes and procedures to effectively provide sound advice for their clients. They must also have strong relationship-building and interpersonal skills to work with clients and paralegal staff. They must be able to communicate effectively with their clients and other lawyers to ensure that their clients get the best possible outcome.

    On your lawyer resume template, create a skills section so hiring managers can see your skills at a glance. Add a bulleted list of five to eight job-relevant skills in this section, like in our sample resume for a lawyer. Include a mix of hard skills such as research and soft skills such as negotiation.

  4. Work history

    A lawyer resume must include a job history section. In reverse-chronological order, list your current and previous employers and provide company names, locations and the dates you worked for them, plus three to five measurable achievements. 

    If you’re applying for your first job, use this section to highlight extracurricular activities, coursework, presentations, volunteer experience and community service.

    As a lawyer, your resume’s measurable achievements might look like this:

    • Stayed current with relevant laws and regulations by analyzing case law, statutes, regulations and legal precedents regularly.
    • Drafted more than 200 legal briefs for clients in a variety of legal matters.
    • Negotiated settlements on behalf of clients in over 150 cases
  5. Education

    Like in our lawyer resume sample, a resume for a lawyer must include an education section. List the names of the schools you attended and the years you graduated. If you haven’t graduated, list the school you’re attending and some of your classes. 

    Educational requirements for lawyers vary depending on the jurisdiction in which they practice. Generally, lawyers must have a law degree from an accredited law school and must pass a bar examination administered by the state in which they wish to practice. 

    In some cases, they may also be required to have a minimum amount of supervised legal experience. Most states require lawyers to have a Juris Doctor degree, which is a postgraduate law degree, to practice.

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Do’s and don’ts for building a lawyer resume

  • Use measurable achievements to describe your lawyer abilities and work experience. For example, “Developed and implemented effective legal strategies in over 250 cases.”
  • Use action words such as negotiate, council and litigate to make an impact on your lawyer resume.
  • Tailor your lawyer resume to your target job.
  • Use keywords from the job description throughout your lawyer resume.
  • Format your lawyer resume so that it is easy to read by ATS software and human eyes.
  • Lie about your lawyer experience and skills.
  • Boast that you’re the “best lawyer ever.” Instead, showcase your accomplishments, like“Won American Judicature Society (AJS) Award for Excellence.”
  • Include irrelevant personal information such as your ethnicity and age.
  • Add skills and experience not relevant to being a lawyer.
  • Forget to proofread. A lawyer resume must be error-free.

Top 4 tips for acing a lawyer interview

  1. Research first.

    To make a great first impression, learn about the potential employer’s history, goals, values and people before your first interview. Talking about the company knowledgeably shows genuine interest, dedication and commitment, which hiring managers like to see.

    Some things to consider when researching a law firm: 

    1. Reputation of the firm: Research the firm and its lawyers’ reputation in the legal community, such as its ratings with Martindale-Hubbell, U.S. News & World Report, and Chambers and Partners.
    2. Practice areas and size: Evaluate the firm’s practice areas and the size of the firm to make sure they match your needs and interests.
    3. Culture and diversity: Learn about the firm’s culture, such as its values, mission statement, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    4. Compensation and benefits: Research the firm’s compensation and benefits, such as salaries, bonuses and non-monetary benefits.
    5. Work-life balance and career development: Investigate the firm’s policies on work-life balance and career development, such as flexible work arrangements, mentorship and training opportunities.
  2. Practice makes perfect!

    To practice for your interview, start by reviewing the most common interview questions, such as: 

    Ensure you’re ready to answer lawyer-specific questions, like:

    • Can you describe a complex legal issue you successfully handled?
    • How do you handle high-pressure situations in negotiations?
    • How do you handle difficult clients or opposing counsel?
    • Are you comfortable working with other departments, such as finance or marketing?
    • Are you comfortable with managing a large caseload?

    Think back to some of your recent work experiences and write down one or two possible answers as you review potential questions. Then ask a friend or relative to help you practice. Ask your interview partner for a review and work on improving your weaknesses. You’ll feel confident and ready when it’s time for the real thing. 

  3. Ask questions.

    Your interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions at the end of your session — and they will expect you to have at least two or three questions for them. 

    Some questions you might ask for a job as a lawyer might include the following: 

    • What type of clients will I be expected to handle?
    • What is the typical workload for lawyers in this position?
    • What is the current caseload of the legal team?
    • Are there particular areas of law the team tends to focus on?
    • How does the team collaborate to ensure an effective resolution of legal issues?
  4. Gather references.

    Have professional references ready if the hiring manager requests them after your interview. Being prepared in advance can make a great impression. Have a list of two or three former co-workers and a manager who can speak highly of your job qualifications. 

    If you’re applying for your first full-time job, ask a former professor, volunteer coordinator, classmate or community leader who can vouch for your character and skills.

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