Law is a well-paid and well-rewarding career. Top lawyers earn compensation well above $150K — and senior partners enjoy even higher salaries. But it can be also a highly competitive and sometimes even cut-throat environment.
Career advancement can be really challenging as you’d be competing against equally talented, smart, and determined lawyers. So when it comes to resume writing, you need to make an extra effort.
Below is a working sample lawyer resume you can use as a reference point for writing, followed by several actionable tips.
Lawyer Resume Example (Word)
Lawyer Resume (plain text)
Authorized to Practice in Colorado and New Mexico
Meticulous, result-oriented, and compassionate immigration lawyer with over 8 years of experience in providing legal representation for clients from diverse backgrounds. Proven track record of achieving successful outcomes in complex immigration cases including undocumented long-term residents; clients, with pending deportation orders; and aliens in the detention center.
Senior Immigration Lawyer, Rogers & Rogers PLLC, Denver, Colorado
June 2019 – Present
- Provide expert legal representation for clients in a wide range of immigration cases, including family-based petitions, immigration relief filings, and deportation defense.
- Develop and execute personalized strategies for achieving successful outcomes in cases, concerning clients in detention centers or those with pending deportation orders.
- Build and maintain strong relationships with local government agencies, NGO firms, and civil groups, fighting for better immigration policies.
Immigration Attorney, Horrowitz Firm, Albuquerque, NM
June 2015 – May 2019
- Worked as part of a legal team, providing legal representation for clients seeking asylum, employment-based immigration, and business immigration.
- Successfully managed a large caseload of immigration cases (up to 10 cases per month), achieving desired outcomes for clients.
- Established a new process for collecting and processing client intake documents to increase the staff’s productivity.
Associate Immigration Attorney, LMN Law Firm, Albuquerque, NM
August 2014 -June 2015
- Assisted senior attorneys in immigration cases, including motions, appeals, and petitions for case reopening.
- Conducted legal research and drafted legal memoranda on various aspects of immigration law, including the impact of changing immigration policies on clients’ cases.
- Conducted client pre-assessments, in-take meetings, and depositions in a safe, welcoming atmosphere.
Juris Doctor (J.D.), University of Colorado Boulder,
September 2011 – May 2014
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, magna cum laude,
University of Colorado, Colorado, DE.
September 2008 – May 2011
- Passed the Albuquerque, NM, State Bar Examination in 2014
- Passed the Denver, Colorado State Bar Examination in 2015
How to Write a Lawyer Resume
As a lawyer, you know what makes a good case. Your resume (and your cover letter too) should build a strong case for hiring you. In other words, both should provide unambiguous, logical arguments that would persuade the firm to select you among other candidates.
To create a compelling narrative, start with a quick resume outline, which charts the main sections — resume summary, work experience, and education.
Work on short and impactful resume bullet points for each job description. Add your educational credentials, and then apply some polishing touches such as the following.
Be Upfront About Mention Your Authorizations
Lawyers must be authorized to practice in specific locations (and in specific niches). State upfront, where you’re legally allowed to work. In the sample above, this mention is placed in the professional title. Alternatively, you can include it in the summary area.
If you’re an entry-level lawyer and have yet to pass the bar exam, mention the anticipated date for obtaining your license. Doing so gives a potential employer a clear-cut timeline and saves you from a potentially awkward conversation during the interview.
Use Action Verbs
Similar to your defense speeches, prioritize strong verbs and factual statements. Focus on describing the impacts you’ve made and the outcomes you’ve achieved. In the sample above, the author mentions creating a new document management process, which led to higher team efficiency.
If possible, also use quantitative data points as an illustration of your abilities. For example:
- Worked on over 25 cases, concerning violations of consumer rights
- Maintained an average win rate for trial cases of 75%
- Negotiated over 55 amicable settlements in complex divorce cases
Showcase a Range of Skills
It may be tempting to primarily focus on your legal skillset — areas of practice, types of cases, and type of litigation you’re experienced in. But many firms also evaluate the candidates’ personalities and soft skills to ensure they’d be a cultural fit.
Strum College of Law recommends highlighting the following groups of skills on your lawyer resume:
- Professional skills — such that are mandatory to perform a specific legal job. These are often listed within the job posting (e.g., working knowledge of a certain area of law, litigation competencies, etc.)
- Functional skills — such that are elated to people, information, and things that are transferable from one field to another. For example, these can include your knowledge of specific software, customer service skills, etc.
- Personal/Adaptive Skills — specific personality and character traits that set you apart from other people. For example, “self-starter”, “continuous learner”, “team player”, “pedantic”, etc.
Make sure that your lawyer’s resume includes a mix of the above.
Final Tip: Try the P-A-R Formula
P-A-R stands for Problem-Action-Result. It’s a quick writing formula you can use to effectively describe your work experiences on a resume and in a cover letter.
To create impactful statements, first articulate the problem (a challenge or a responsibility). Then describe the action you took to resolve/perform it, and round up with a result (accomplishment).
A sample P-A-R work experience entry for a lawyer can look like this:
“Filed an emergency motion with the Colorado Supreme Court to prevent client deportation 10 days before the initially stated date”.
P-A-R formula offers an easy way to add substance and impact to all the claims in your resume.