Paralegals provide an exceptionally valuable service to lawyers and their clients. They are often responsible for doing the leg work that leads to great outcomes in court. So it’s hardly surprising that the demand for paralegal professionals is projected to increase by 12% in the current decade.
The rising demand also often translates to better pay and work perks. Gone are the days when paralegals were treated as mere “helpers” to “the real” legal staff. As the American Bar rightfully states:
Paralegals can be delegated any task normally performed by a lawyer, as long as the lawyer supervises the work, except those proscribed by law. [Respectively], the paralegal staff can be a profit center for your practice.
With more and more firms agreeing with the above sentiment, the timing couldn’t be better for job searchers. All that’s left for you is to create a persuasive paralegal resume and pair it with an equally eloquent cover letter.
We’ll help you with the former. Check out this sample paralegal resume you can use as a reference, paired with some helpful writing tips.
Paralegal Resume Example (Word version)
Plain Text Version
Paralegal with nearly four years of experience in the criminal justice system. Strong commitment to achieving fair outcomes and advocating for disadvantaged communities that are often unfairly targeted by the legal system. Brings a wide range of legal (legal research, case preparation, petition drafting, client interviewing) and soft skills (active listener, high emotional intelligence, tactful negotiator) to the table.
Franklin County Public Defender’s Office
September 2018 – Present
Worked as a paralegal on more than 450 cases in a four-year period. Responsible for ensuring that public defenders were prepared with accurate and up-to-date case information. Currently working as the sole paralegal team with an above-average track record in the areas of acquittals, dismissed cases, deferred adjudication, and mental health/substance treatment referrals.
Able to work cooperatively with private and state attorneys.
- Conducting client interviews
- Filing legal paperwork
- Legal research
- Writing proofreading and editing briefings
- Reviewed plea agreements
Immigration Law Associates
May – September 2018
As a bilingual individual, I was also able to provide translation services to Spanish-speaking migrants in need of help. I was also trained to take dispositions, prepare legal case documents, and draft petitions for employment-based immigration.
- Attended courtroom proceedings and depositions
- Assisted attorneys and paralegals with recordkeeping
- Observed client and witness interviews
Columbus Community College
Paralegal Studies – Associate in Applied Science
President Association of Legal and Law Enforcement Professionals
Columbus Technology North
High School Diploma/Certified Office Worker
Memberships and Awards
- Association of Paralegal Professionals – Gold Member
- Tri-State Society For Legal Ethics – Associate Secretary/Treasurer
- Columbus Chamber of Commerce
- Paralegal of the Year – City of Columbus Lawyer’s Association 2020
How to Write a Paralegal Resume
The above resume example showcases how a paralegal with limited work experience can build a compelling case for the employer.
To help you write a similarly effective resume, we’ve lined up some extra tips.
Mix Passion and Practicality
People often enter legal careers because they have a passion for law and justice. That’s wonderful, and you can reflect that in your resume. For example, you might talk about your passion for advocating for people who have been injured on the job or unfairly discriminated against because of their gender, age, or race.
However, you should also pair such burning enthusiasm with some illustrations of how you are actually delivering value for the clients and the law firm. Always back “passion claims” with concrete examples of duties, accomplishments, or client outcomes. Speaking of which…
Always Mention Accomplishments in Addition to Duties
Your duties are the things you do as part of your job on a daily basis. Your accomplishments are the admirable things you achieve as a result of doing your job well. Keep this in mind as you discuss your work history.
For example, it’s important to discuss what you do each day. You might mention that you regularly review case evidence and depositions. At the same time, you should also include how this has led you to find outcome-changing information in nearly half of the cases you’ve worked on. The easiest way to present your work through the lens of outcomes and accomplishments is by using strong verbs.
Associations Are Important
It’s not just what you know. It’s who you know! This is certainly true in the legal field. Networking is key, and so is your reputation. No, your resume has no place to name drop. However, you should include any memberships that you have in community or law-related organizations. This can give you some extra points from the employer.
Show Your Career Growth
The real point of a resume is to show how you have grown professionally over time. The education and work history sections of your resume should reflect this. For example, you might want to show increasing responsibilities over time and the evolution of your hard skills.
Imagine filing a brief to be read by a judge, that’s full of spelling errors. Since this is a job that requires attention to detail and excellent writing skills, be sure to proofread and edit your resume. Try using a spelling and grammar-checking app, then ask a friend or family member to read your resume out loud to you. This way you can not only catch some grammar goofs, but also get a better sense of how you come across as a professional.
Final Tip: Format Carefully
An attractive resume is going to stand out. It’s also more likely to be read than one that isn’t so nice looking. There’s also the matter of readability. A busy hiring manager will always give preference to someone who submits a document with easy-to-discern sections, subheadings, and other elements that make a resume easy to scan.