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Legal Resume Samples and Tips
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***Even More Legal Resume Samples at the Bottom of the Page***
Hear ye, hear ye. This page is the Legal Resume Format Guide. If you’re a lawyer, or hoping to get into a legal practice, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about writing this kind of resume. We make it fast, easy, and simple, just like the resume builder software we stake our name to. If you want to build your resume this way click the link in the sidebar.
Ready to write your resume? Put on your white powdered wig and prepare for judgment.
All law resumes should contain the following sections:
1. Contact Details: “I AM -- THE LAW!” Sylvester Stallone yelled so eloquently in the hit 1995 movie Judge Dredd. You may be the law, too, but how would anyone know without your contact details?
Your name, phone number, address, and e-mail are the necessary components to prevent this resume from being dropped straight into the trashcan.
2. Career Objective: In this section, you’ll be writing two sentences that capture the main qualifications and experience that make you the PERFECT candidate for this job. In other words, you’re pulling golden nuggets out of your professional and educational career and adding them to your legal resume, identifying your ability to do this job with the most effectiveness and efficiency.
THIS is how you capture the attention of the hiring firm, make them read through your entire resume, and end up getting an interview.
Notice how they’ve mentioned the type of law they've been practicing (yellow), how long they’ve been practicing law (orange), the degrees that they’ve earned (green), and the licenses they’ve acquired (pink).
It may be that you’re not a practicing lawyer, but do many of the other jobs associated with law. There’s too many to list, so you’ll need to consider what licenses, certificates, and other “content rich” information you can include in your career objective to keep the hiring firm interested.
See how this Criminal Law Clerk does it:
- A Criminal Law Clerk with over 10 years of experience in legal research, Microsoft Office Suite and, communication. Possesses a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies, Doctor of Jurisprudence and, a Pennsylvania State Lawyer License.
3. Professional Experience: The legal industry is as vast as the responsibilities within it but here are a few points to consider before writing your professional experience section.
Below is an excerpt from an Attorney resume:
CARTER & ASSOC. Goodman, MS
Legal Attorney June 2003 – Present
- Researched and analyzed complex cases and documents for upcoming trials.
- Handled cases dealing with custody battles and child support, settled 90% of cases out of court.
- Wrote up depositions, reviewed evidence and assigned legal assistant misc. legal administrative tasks.
- Provided guidelines and assistance to attorneys in preparing cases and upcoming proceedings.
- Studied constitution, statutes, decisions and, ordinances of judicial bodies.
Mention the types of clients, the size of the case in dollars, the percentage of outcomes in your favor, the size of your team and the types of third parties you liaised with.
Here's a Legal Case manager example:
BROOK LEGAL Covina, CA
Legal Case Manager August 2001 – Present
- Guided 60 staff in assessment of legal risk management activities and trained staff in legal procedures.
- Made sure staff followed legal procedures and standards and continued to do so with each case.
- Assigned the responsibilities of interpreting legal information, monitoring legal compliance issues, and statutory obligations.
- Handled the responsibilities of providing regulatory support and contract management activities.
You may have held several jobs before becoming involved with law. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to leave off any experience that is more than 10 years old. Obviously, any job experiences that you have related to law will make it easier for you to tailor those job descriptions to fit the needs of the company. For instance, maybe the company needs a legal assistant.
In your past job, you may have kept cases organized by creating a filing system, keeping track of dates and deadlines, keeping documentation of decisions, inputting information into management software, etc. That’s great, relevant job information that will make it more likely you’ll pick up the job and bolster any previous work experience section.
Explain the types of cases and clients, size of team, deadlines met and your ability to be adaptable to changing conditions.
What if you were a legal secretary in your last job? There are still many related skills to what a legal assistant needs to do. The point is, make sure you’re not writing your job responsibilities just to fill up your resume. Here’s a sample of what one should look like.
4. Education Section: The education section of your resume is important for a law resume. You should write the name and location of the universities you attended, the degrees you’ve earned, the dates that you graduated, and your GPA (if above a 3.4).
You may have a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.), which indicates that you have deeply studied a certain niche of law, such as environmental law, maritime law, tax law, etc. In this case, your coursework will be highly relevant to the job you’re applying for.
See the example below for more help:
L.A. UNIVERSITY Los Angeles, CA
Bachelors in Paralegal Studies, June 1997
- Graduated with a 3.8 G.P.A
- Major in Torte and Jurisprudence
- Member of the Junior Paralegal Club
- Head of the debating society
- Articles in Student Law Magazine
5. Additional Skills: The additional skills section is where you should mention any extra skills you have that could help you perform better or be more flexible on the job.
For a lawyer, having software skills, bilingual ability, excellent public speaking skills, persuasive ability, leadership skills, technical writing ability, and general communication skills are all beneficial to write down. Here, look at this:
- Experience in legal services and judicial system
- Knowledge of litigations, laws and, contract procedures
- Excellent negotiation and communication skills
Adding good additional skills will really help you out in your job hunt, just make sure you don't include any skills that you don't really have, as that could cause significant difficulties in the future.
6. Licenses & Certificates: If you’ve passed the bar exam, then you’ve received a license to practice law. List your licenses and certificates in this section!
How much is the legal industry worth?
The US Legal industry is approximately a $300 billion market. In a lawsuit happy place like the USA that means there's a lot of money to be made if you plan to go into this industry.
What's a lawyer salary like?
According to US News Money Careers the average salary for a lawyer is $130,310 with salaries increasing approximately 45% since 2008. This steep increase in salary in just 5 years signifies healthy times in the legal industry.
Of course there are many other jobs that do not just include working as a lawyer, but a lawyer's job is a strong barometer of the legal industry as a whole.
Who are the richest lawyers in the world?
#3: John Branca, the entertainment lawyer.
Branca studied at the UCLA School of Law and has represented such high profile musicians as Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Justin Timberlake and Steve Tyler. He’s also handled mergers between two titan music publishers of ATV with Sony.
His net worth is estimated at $50 million.
#2: Willie E. Gary, the corporate lawyer.
Gary studied Law at the North Carolina Central University and is seen as a leading figurehead for black lawyers owning a black law firm and winning lawsuits against such corporate behemoths as Disneyland and Anheuser-Busch.
His net worth is estimated at $100 million
#1: Wichai Thongtan, the government lawyer.
Wichai has represented clients as large as the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Wichai is also a businessman and has shares in a variety of companies.
His net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion.
What are some of the strangest law cases ever?
Check out this video to find out the top 10 strangest law cases:
- The man who sued God for worldwide mass destruction
- A man sentenced for calling a policeman a pig. His sentence? To stand next to a pig with a sign saying “This is not a policeman”
- Using a deceased son’s ashes in court to call acquittal on unpaid driving tickets
- The man who sued himself for drunken misconduct that was against his own religious beliefs
- A law telling teachers they must warn students that Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is not the only view on Global Warming
- Suing the phone directory for $100,000 in damages due to an attorney’s name listed under the “Reptiles” section of the directory
- A man sued a cable company claiming that the cable company made TV addictive and his family fat
- 2 PETA protestors sued the Division of Fish & Wildlife for not managing their deer population after the protestors hit a deer while driving
- A 12 year old girl overturned her father’s grounding in court
Where are the best schools to study law?
Check out this article wrote about the best law schools for aspiring lawyers. Although these schools are rated highly it doesn't mean you have to go there. Some of the most successful practitioners of law studied at an array of different universities. If you are determined you will succeed.
Where to apply for Law Jobs?