Legal Assistant Resume: Example and Tips
Legal assistant work includes management of a law firm’s day-to-day activities. This mid-level job requires a strong work ethic and problem-solving skills, plus an understanding of the law and legal processes.
Use our writing tips and resume examples construct your own professional legal assistant resume, and showcase your skills in an organized manner.
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Featured Resume Example: Legal Assistant
Name: RITA SULLIVAN
Address: City, State, Zip Code
Diligent, recently relocated legal assistant seeking new position. Looking to apply communication, comprehension and scheduling skills at larger firm. Ready to take on a role that will greatly expand knowledge of law and personal skill set.
- Manage schedules, take calls for office’s senior leadership.
- Improve average phone and email response time by 90 minutes over previous assistant. Draw up contracts and other paperwork.
- Assisted litigation attorneys with research, depositions, trial preparation, discovery and document drafts for court submittal.
- Promptly answered multi-line phone system and greeted callers enthusiastically.
- Welcomed each new arrival pleasantly and confirmed identification.
- Received packages and mail at front desk and dispersed to correct employees.
- Took calls, answered emails, directed office visitors to appointments.
- Managed and cleaned front desk area; decorated according to holidays or seasonal themes.
- Served as primary liaison with building management and office refreshment vendors.
- Fluent in legal terminology
- Advanced word processing
- Exceptional telephone etiquette
- Document filing
- Litigation support
- Billing Statements
Top 4 Characteristics of a Best-in-Class Legal Assistant Resume
- Summary Your summary should bring attention to must-have skills such as litigation support, billing statements and fluency in legal terminology. In 2-3 statements, give readers a snapshot of these skills and your career thus far. For example: “Diligent legal assistant with 3 years’ experience in litigation support. Proficient with legal terminology and managing billing and invoicing.”
- Skills To stand out, scan the description of the job you’re interested in, and take note of key phrases that match your abilities. Incorporate any skills that match your own in this section, such as proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel. Be sure to include soft skills that show how you approach your work, such as excellent oral and written communication, and the ability to prioritize tasks.
- Work history In your resume, put the spotlight on skills that are most relevant for the job. For example, if the potential job calls for research and case support, feature a work history example such as “Assisted litigation attorneys with research, depositions, trial preparation, discovery and document drafts for court submittal.”
- Education In addition to your highest education achievement (e.g., college degree), include any training or certifications you’ve undertaken that apply to legal assistant work, such as a paralegal studies certificate, or certifications in office software or management.
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Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume
- DO create the right “elevator pitch” for your summary. To stand out in the crowd, use the concept of an “elevator pitch,” creating a compelling first impression within a few clear, concise sentences. Communicate your strengths and career accomplishments thus far. For example: “Efficient administrative assistant looking to pivot to position as legal assistant. Experienced in research and scheduling skills, and armed with excellent communication skills.”
- DO customize your resume for different job applications. Every job opportunity has different requirements. Instead of submitting the same resume for every job, customize your resume for each job, gearing your skills and work experiences to match each job description. For example, if the job requires heavy usage of word processing skills or spreadsheets, mention your skills and/or previous work experiences that show your proficiency.
- DO check your resume for typos and mistakes. Legal work requires a good eye for detail and a dedication to accuracy — silly mistakes present the opposite impression. Make sure you double-check your resume before you send it in, and make sure any misspellings or grammar errors are cleaned up.
- DON’T add false information to your resume. Honesty is always the best policy — make sure your information is 100% accurate. The presence of false information in your document can lead to serious consequences if you’re found out.
- DON’T make your resume too long. It takes only 7.4 seconds for recruiters to scan a resume, on average. Don’t hang yourself up with an overlong resume, and risk losing the employer’s attention. Look to keep your resume to around one page, and focus on only the specific abilities and work accomplishments that speak to what the job requires. Use short, concise sentences and bullet points.
- DON’T forget to focus on keywords. Employers often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes and make sure they have the right content pertaining to the specific job. To get a passing grade from an ATS, look over the job description and pick out phrases that define what the job requires, such as “trial and discovery preparation” or “proficiency in Microsoft Office programs.” When filling out your resume, make sure these keywords are addressed. For example, you could list “Certified in Microsoft Office” in your skills section, or note an experience in your work history section that involves trial and discovery preparation.
Legal Assistant Resume FAQ
- 1. What are the skills you should emphasize for the legal assistant position?
- 2. What are some examples of training and certifications that fit this position?
- 3. How should you format your resume?
- 4. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?
1. What are the skills you should emphasize for the legal assistant position?
- Communication skills
- Software skills (e.g., spreadsheets, billing software and online calendar programs)
- Research skills
- Writing skills
- Trial and discovery preparation
- Multitasking ability
- Ability to work well in a fast-paced environment
- Organization skills
2. What are some examples of training and certifications that fit this position?
Here’s some examples of training and certifications that can add weight to your resume:
- Certified Legal Assistant (CLA), National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- Any bachelor’s degree and one year of experience as a legal assistant
- Registered Paralegal (RP) certification for qualifying legal assistants, National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- NALS (the Association for Legal Professionals)
3. How should you format your resume?
If the legal assistant position you’re applying to requires a few years of experience, use a combination resume format, which gives equal weight to your skills as well as relevant experiences from previous jobs (for example, administrative work from a previous role that shows you can handle similar office tasks). For legal assistant roles that don’t require much experience, use the functional format, which allows you to provide an expanded listing of all your relevant skills, organized in subcategories (e.g., “Soft Skills,” “Office Skills”).
To learn more about formatting your resume, visit our resume format page.
4. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?
To move up to a more senior position such as paralegal or office manager, look to:
- Gain more experiences in office administration or management, including leading and mentoring more junior members of the team.
- Expand your knowledge of software needed for the job, such as specific invoice or scheduling systems.
- Acquire a certification in office management or administration.
Resume Examples for the Next Step in your Law Career
- Banking Attorney Resume
- Chief Legal Officer Resume
- Document Review Attorney Resume
- Legal Intern Resume
- Lawyer Resume
- Paralegal Resume
- Legal Receptionist Resume
- Legal Secretary Resume