Writing a resume is hard work, but with our best resume tips and advice, it's a piece of cake. Here are over 50 of our professional resume dos and don'ts, along with resume mistakes to avoid.
You need a flawless attorney resume.
Because law firms get a million applications.
Rarely do they see a stand-out candidate.
To get hired by firms like Sullivan & Cromwell, you need to bring something to the table.
Your crisp attorney resume needs to show that in detail.
Don’t worry. If you can make it through a 24-hour exam, you can write an evidence-rich resume.
In this guide:
- An attorney resume sample better than most.
- How to write a resume for attorneys that works at big firms.
- How to make an attorney job description partners notice.
- Why you can’t just list attorney skills (and what to do instead).
Create a job-winning resume with little effort. Hack your way through ATS software with our 18 beautiful templates—give our builder a try!
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Sample Attorney Resume You Can Copy and Use
Efficient litigation attorney with 5+ years of experience. Seeking to use strong research and litigation skills to advocate for clients at Charles & Marden. At WPG, averaged 1500 billable hours a year. Handled 120+ mediations with 91% settlement rate and settlements of $1M–$50M.
Member in Good Standing of the State Bar of Illinois
Williams, Prior, & Groves
- Developed 45 case files, bringing 10 to trial.
- Achieved 91% settlement rate for 120+ mediations.
- Billed an average of 1500 hours per year.
- Reached 5 settlements in excess of $5M and one of $50M.
Junior Associate Attorney
Leadbetter & Clyde
- Logged 15% more billable hours than firm's average.
- Presented oral arguments in 3 tax delinquency proceedings.
- Used LexisNexis to provide critical research for 100+ cases.
- Judged MIG Moot Court Competition, writing 4 decisions.
- Performed 9 pro bono trial preparations, Cook County Small Claims Court.
Juris Doctor, John Marshall Law School
- Pursued a passion for legal research.
- Presented 3 legal arguments in school Moot Court.
- Wrote monthly column on legal procedure.
BS in Accounting, Bradley University
- Excelled in written communication coursework.
- Awarded John H. Adkins award for academic research.
- Journal Note: Devaluing Originalism: Virginia Law Review, June 2019
- Article on LexisNexis linked to by Fast Company.
- Article on trial preparation appeared in The Appeal.
Hard Skills: Trial preparation, litigation, legal procedure, client advocacy, LexisNexis
Soft Skills: Interpersonal skills, collaboration, communication, time managemen
Not looking for a resume for attorney jobs just yet? See our guide:
Here’s how to write a convincing attorney resume:
1. Select the Right Attorney Resume Format
Law is a conservative field.
You wear a suit. You cover your tattoos.
You also need a professionally-attired, well-formatted resume.
Put your work history in the reverse-chronological resume order.
Then use these attorney resume formatting tips:
Attorney Resume Format
- Use 1-inch margins.
- Choose a clear resume font like 10–12pt Avenir Next or Helvetica.
- Make resume sectionsfor Heading, Summary, Experience, Education, and Skills.
- Add white space to respect the partners’ eyes.
- Keep a 1-page resume length if you’ve got less than 7 years of experience.
- Save your resume as a PDF. They present well on any screen. (And yep, they’re ATS-readable.)
Expert Hint: On your business card, print, “Law Offices of [YOUR NAME].” It’s much more hirable than “entry-level attorney,” “unemployed,” or, “seeking work.”
2. Write an Attorney Resume Objective or Summary
Your attorney resume must make its case fast.
If it doesn’t grab them in 6 seconds, they’ll move on to the other 500 resumes.
So—put these in your heading statement:
- One adjective (efficient, dedicated)
- Years of experience (1+, 8+)
- What you’ll do, and where (advocate for clients at Charles & Marden)
- Best attorney moments (averaged 1500 billable hours...)
Your header statement goes up top, but—
Write it last. That way you’ll have precedent to draw on.
See these associate attorney resume examples:
Attorney Resume Summary—Example
The second of those experienced attorney resume samples sounds great! If you can believe its claims.
Most employers won’t.
Meanwhile, the first example offers evidence.
You can do that in a resume for attorneys with no experience too.
See this next attorney sample:
Entry-Level Attorney Resume Objective
What’s the difference?
The first of these entry-level attorney samples has done due diligence. The second is just listing skills.
Expert Hint: Can’t get hired with your attorney resume? Volunteer. Even a few days or weeks of attorney volunteer work will help a skimpy resume. Plus you’ll build contacts.
3. Prepare Your Attorney Job Description and Skills Section
What attorney skills does your resume need most?
Here’s a partial list:
List of Attorney Skills for Resumes
Don’t exhibit all of them. You’ll look fungible.
Instead, create a custom-fitted resume.
To write a job-winning attorney work experience section for your resume:
- Search the job posting for resume skills to list.
- Use them as evidence in your bullets. They’re your resume keywords.
- Show the size of those skills by adding numbers (i.e. pack your resume with achievements.)
For a job that wants an attorney who can bill, develop case files, and reach settlements—
See these experienced attorney resume samples:
Attorney Job Description for a Resume [Sample]
Those aren’t equal.
The first of the lateral attorney resume examples above is worthy of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
It shows case file development, settlement, and billing. That’s the firm’s entire wish list.
Need to write a resume with no experience?
Let’s say the job duties involve research, LexisNexis, writing, and trial preparation.
See these samples:
Entry-Level Attorney Resume Job Description [Sample]
Fit the job like the first of those entry-level attorney resume examples.
They asked for research, LexisNexis, trial prep, and writing and you’ve done it.
Now they know it.
4. Make the Perfect Education Section
That Juris Doctorate did not come easy.
Use it to stand out like Jack McCoy, with a skills-heavy education section for your resume.
This attorney resume sample shows how:
Attorney Resume Example—Education
That litigation attorney resume education section shows research, writing, and other attorney skills.
5. Highlight Your Bar Association Membership
Your bar association membership can get you hired.
It’s great networking. Plus it’s proof you’re not some Slippin’ Jimmy.
Put it right up top, beneath your summary.
This real estate attorney resume sample shows how:
Member in Good Standing of the State Bar of Illinois
Expert Hint: There are 778,700 attorney jobs, but 1.3 million attorneys in the US. You may need to send your resume for attorneys to 150+ job postings before you’re hired.
6. Complete Your Attorney Resume with Extras
What do you bring to the table?
Does your attorney resume just show you went to school and worked a bit?
Big firms don’t hire “average.”
You must bring something to the table—passion. Energy. Intelligence. Reliability.
So, add extra resume sections like:
- Association memberships (ABA, NLA, local bar association, etc.)
- Conferences (CodeX FutureLaw, ABA events)
- Journal notes or publications
- Pro bono work
- Freelance work
- Additional activities
- Fitness activities
- Languages you speak
See these new attorney resume examples:
Attorney Resume—Extra Sections
The first of those attorney resume examples could get in at Kirkland & Ellis.
It’s the details.
Expert Hint: Write a cover letter for your resume for attorney jobs. Research the law firm first. Say what you love about it. Finally, display evidence of why you fit.
Here’s how to write an attorney resume:
- Use the attorney resume template up top. It makes a solid first impression with your best legal achievements.
- Prove you have the attorney skills the job needs. List hours billed, Moot Court appearances, and other big accomplishments.
- Create a heading statement with highlights from your resume for attorney jobs.
- Write “additional” resume sections to show what you have on offer.
Got questions on how to write great resumes for attorney jobs? Not sure how to put attorney on a resume? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply!