Lawyer Resume Example

Win over any hiring manager with our case-closing lawyer resume guide with tips and tricks.

Flor Ana Mireles
Written by Flor Ana Mireles • Last updated on May 28, 2021
Lawyer Resume Example
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Lawyers are known for advising and representing a variety of individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, careers in law, and especially lawyers, are currently at a 4% growth rate. In fact, there are over 813,900 lawyer jobs currently in the U.S.

Now, to become a lawyer you do need the following:

  • Doctoral or professional degree in law
  • You must pass your state's written bar examination

Typically, becoming a lawyer requires 7 years of education, which includes 4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school.

Given you've already completed your school, got your law degree, and passed your state's bar exam, now it's time to get out into the field.

Whether you've just become a lawyer or you've got a handful of resolved cases in your briefcase, you should always keep your resume up to date and professionally formatted. Luckily for you, our guide is here to help you do just that.

In just 6 steps, we're going to help you create a resume that is sure to win any hiring manager over.

Here's what we'll be covering:

  1. Formatting your resume like a professional
  2. Writing an impressive resume summary
  3. Adding your admissions
  4. Refining and describing your work experience
  5. Including your education
  6. Listing your key skills

1. Format your resume like a professional

You're a professional, and your resume should reflect that.

There's a lot of opportunity in the world of law, but in order to be selected for the lawyer positions you are applying for, it's crucial to correctly format your resume.

There are three ways to choose from to correctly format your resume:

  1. Reverse-chronological, which emphasizes your previous work experience
  2. Functional, which highlights your key skills
  3. Hybrid, which combines the previous formats

As a lawyer, you can work with whichever of these three formats you feel most comfortable with. However, we recommend formatting your resume in reverse-chronological format in order to highlight the work you've done.

If you're new to the field and have more skills to offer than actual experience, considering selecting to format your resume in a functional way.

If you've got both and really want to impress hiring managers with your skills and experience, then going with a resume formatted in a hybrid style will help your resume stand out while maintaining that professional look.

Tip: Since hiring managers are receiving a plethora of resumes and applications for their job listings, it's crucial to make your resume stand out. Make sure to look over the posted job description and implement some of the details and keywords listed when creating your resume.

In addition to the way in which you format your resume, be sure to include the following sections as well:

  • Contact information
  • Resume summary
  • Admissions
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Skills

Take a look at our guide on how to format your resume if you want to learn more.

2. Write an impressive resume summary

In the busy world we live in, resumes are often looked at for only 6-7 seconds.

Therefore, including a resume summary at the top of your resume gives hiring managers a glimpse at what you can bring to the table, which can help take your resume to the next level and guarantee it is read.

A resume summary is a 1-2 sentence blurb that summarizes everything your resume consists of. Including shows hiring managers that you respect their time. Not to mention, it also makes your resume look more professional, which is beneficial to showcase you're a skilled lawyer.

Here are some things to mention in your resume summary:

  • Years of experience
  • Area of expertise
  • Relevant qualifications
  • Career achievements
Tip: Sometimes, it's easier to write your resume summary after you have already written your resume. That way, it's easier to pick and choose what you want to include.

Here's an example of what your resume summary can look like:

Innovative and successful lawyer with 10+ years of experience ensuring the legality of commercial transactions and adept at drafting and reviewing policies for companies. Equipt at tackling cases with tenacity and a member of the New York State Bar in good standing.

Here's what your resume summary should not look like:

Successful lawyer with 10 years experience dealing with a variety of cases in corporate settings.

Need more help writing a professional resume summary? Our guide on writing resume summaries has tons of examples.

3. Add your admissions

Adding an admissions section to your resume is crucial because it shows hiring managers that you are qualified for the position.

In other words, your admissions section is the section in which you are going to place your state bar information.

Passing the state bar is necessary because it is what makes you eligible to practice law in your state.

Tip: Be sure to place this section towards the top of your resume.

Here's how you can write your state bar information:

New York State Bar | November 2010

Tip: If your state bar is in good standing, include it in your resume summary. This way, hiring managers can know from the get-go you have the necessary qualifications to be a lawyer for what they need and are looking for.

Need more help writing the perfect resume? We have a guide that can help you do just that.

4. Refine the work experience section of your resume

While it is important to have a resume summary, include your state bar admissions, and even detail your education, the work experience section of your resume is really what drives your resume and your chances of getting hired home as a lawyer.

Think of your work experience section as the core of your resume.

Therefore, it is important for your work experience section to be refined and professionally presented.

Be sure to only include relevant work experiences on your resume as well as 5-7 bullet points using good active verbs stating what you did on the job.

Tip: When refining and describing your work experience, it is important to go in reverse-chronological order so hiring managers know what was your most recent job experience and what you learned or mastered in that job.

Here are some job descriptions you can include in your resume under work experience as a corporate lawyer:

  • Defined and developed legal policies and procedures while advising on all major business transactions.
  • Negotiated with opposing parties to avoid litigation, reach resolution, and achieve the goals of the corporation.
  • Drafted and reviewed contracts and internal policies in accordance with regulations.
  • Implemented a global intellectual commercial strategy over a 2-year period.
  • Reduced corporation's reliance on external legal counsel and costs by over 70%.

If you've done attorney work as a lawyer, you can include this in your work experience, too. Here are some job description examples:

  • Drafted agreements for the company.
  • Interacted and corresponded with and addresses miscellaneous issues.
  • Resolved issues regarding the estates of deceased individuals.
  • Processed and ensured compliance with levies, liens, garnishments, and other relevant court orders.
  • Managed and directed outside counsel with respect to major and minor litigation including interpleader actions, bankruptcies, and Federal and State litigations involving affiliates.
  • Provided advice on and/or drafted contracts between company and outside vendors.

If you've done legal work on a government or state level, we've got some job description examples for you, too:

  • Reviewed, drafted, and supervised the drafting of complex legal documents as needed and interacts with senior agency executive personnel.
  • Supervised and trained staff in the preparation of transactional and administrative documentation and processes.
  • Provided legal direction, advised on matters of legal strategy, and served as liaison with the Law Department and other City or State agencies as and when needed.
  • Served as legal counsel to the agency’s managerial and executive staff.
  • Advised and made recommendations on questions of law, fact, and administrative policy.
  • Performed the duties of the supervisor in his temporary absence.
  • Supervised support staff as needed.
Tip: Be sure to alter and include job descriptions for work you have actually done. Mistakenly including miscellaneous job descriptions in your resume may hinder your credibility and ability to be hired.

Want more tips and tricks on how to write your work experience description? Check out our guide on describing your work experience.

5. Include your education

To become a lawyer, you need a minimum of a Doctoral or professional degree in law.

To assure you have a chance at working on a case or being the corporate lawyer of a company, it is crucial to add your education to your resume.

With that said, here is how you should be listing your education in your resume:

Yeshiva University | Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

New York City, NY

2005 — 2009

Juris Doctor Degree (J.D.)

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY

2004 — 2008

B.A. Political Science and Government

Need more helping listing your education? Don't know if to include your GPA? We have a guide that will help you list your education in 2021 with examples and tips.

6. List your key skills

Just because key skills land as the last step in this guide doesn't mean it is not important. In fact, it may just be what makes you a more suitable candidate for the position.

Listing impressive and relevant skills gives hiring managers more reasons to hire you because, based on your resume, they know you have the qualities they may be looking for.

Here are some examples of key skills you can include in your lawyer resume:

  • Analytical and Logical Reasoning
  • Leadership
  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Arbitration and Litigation
  • Legal Research
  • Case Interpretation
  • Corporate Transactions
  • Client Service
  • Stress Management
Tip: Oral communication is a crucial key skill to become a good lawyer. If you're confident in your talking skills, be sure to put this at the top of the list.

If you've got additional space, be sure to include the languages you speak as key skills in your resume. This may help you get the job in places where the local language may be different.

Having trouble identifying your skills? We have a guide with 100+ key skills you can include in your resume.

Key Takeaways

Sometimes, being a lawyer is not an easy task. Let our guide help you not stress your resume.

Here's a quick summary of everything we've covered:

  1. Format your resume like a professional
  2. Write an impressive resume summary
  3. Add your state bar admissions to show you're qualified
  4. Refine and describe your work experience
  5. Include your education
  6. List your key skills

Now, you're ready to take on any case. Good luck!

Flor Ana Mireles
Flor Ana Mireles is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and a background in English literature, music, marketing, and business. She is also the self-published author of two poetry collections and the lead singer of South Florida rock band Leather and Lace. Flor has experience in social media and getting crafty and artsy. When she is not writing, she's spending time in nature, reading, or listening to music.
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