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Attorney Resume—Samples and 25+ Writing Tips

You have solid trial prep skills and you can research and advocate for clients with the best of them. Show your talents to the firm with this convincing attorney resume sample.

Tom Gerencer, CPRW
Tom Gerencer, CPRW
Career Writer at ResumeLab
Attorney Resume—Samples and 25+ Writing Tips

You need a flawless attorney resume.

Why?

Because law firms get a million applications.

But—

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).

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Not looking for a resume for attorney jobs just yet? See our guide:

Haven't found what you're looking for? Check all our Resume Examples.

Here’s how to write a convincing attorney resume:

Sample Attorney Resume You Can Copy and Use

Sienna Koltun

Litigation Attorney

Personal Info

Phone: 331-220-6551

Email: siennakoltun@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/siennakoltun

twitter.com/siennakoltun

Summary

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.

Bar Association

Member in Good Standing of the State Bar of Illinois

Experience

Attorney

Williams, Prior, & Groves

2014–2019

  • 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

2013–2014

  • 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.

Legal Experience

Various

2012–2013

  • Judged MIG Moot Court Competition, writing 4 decisions.
  • Performed 9 pro bono trial preparations, Cook County Small Claims Court.

Education

Juris Doctor, John Marshall Law School

2010–2013

  • 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

2006–2010

  • Excelled in written communication coursework.
  • Awarded John H. Adkins award for academic research.

Journals

  • Journal Note: Devaluing Originalism: Virginia Law Review, June 2019

Publications

  • 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: nterpersonal skills, collaboration, communication, time managemen

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.

Firms will glance at your career summary or career objective.

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:

  1. One adjective (efficient, dedicated)
  2. “attorney”
  3. Years of experience (1+, 8+)
  4. What you’ll do, and where (advocate for clients at Charles & Marden)
  5. 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

Good Example
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.
Bad Example
Experienced attorney with a proven track record of successful litigation, trial preparation, and research. A client-focused team player with a deep knowledge of legal procedure and first-rate interpersonal skills. Recognized for a strong work ethic and ability to build lasting client relationships.

The point?

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

Good Example
Junior attorney, skilled in research and LexisNexis. Performed 9 pro bono trial preparations for Cook County Small Claims Court. Judged MIG Moot Court Competition and wrote 4 decisions. Wrote monthly column in John Marshall Law School Blog.
Bad Example
Entry-level attorney and recent law school graduate with strong work ethic and a head for research. Have not yet worked for a law firm but am aggressively pursuing my law career. Skilled in legal procedure, research, client advocacy, and LexisNexis.

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.

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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

Hard Skills

Soft Skills

Litigation

Interpersonal Skills

Trial Preparation

Communication

Mediation

Time Management

Settlements

Work Ethic

Client Advocacy

Organization

Negotiation

Problem Solving

Corporate Law

Stress Management

Tort Law

Critical Thinking

Antitrust Law

Persuasiveness

LexisNexis

Reliability

But—

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:

  1. Search the job posting for skills to put on a resume.
  2. Use them as evidence in your bullets. They’re your resume keywords.
  3. 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]

Good Example

Experience

Attorney

Williams, Prior, & Groves

2014–2019

  • 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.
Bad Example
  • Conferred with multiple clients and witnesses about case facts.
  • Developed litigation strategies and discovery plans.
  • Conducted copious legal research for active cases.
  • Conducted due diligence for retail and commercial clients.

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.

But—

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]

Good Example

Paralegal

Leadbetter & Clyde

2018–2019

  • Performed 95% of legal research in 3 successful tax delinquency proceedings.
  • Used LexisNexis to provide critical research for 100+ cases.

Freelance Legal Experience

2012–2013

  • Judged MIG Moot Court Competition, writing 4 decisions.
  • Performed 9 pro bono trial preparations, Cook County Small Claims Court.
Bad Example

Paralegal

Leadbetter & Clyde

2018–2019

  • Investigated case-related facts.
  • Proofread legal correspondence and legal documents.
  • Helped reduce administrative expenses by improving telecommunication plan.

Again.

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

Good Example

Education

Juris Doctor, John Marshall Law School

2010–2013

  • 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

2006–2010

  • Excelled in written communication coursework.
  • Awarded John H. Adkins award for academic research.

Case closed.

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.

So—

Put it right up top, beneath your summary.

This real estate attorney resume sample shows how:

Bar Association

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?

That’s average.

Big firms don’t hire “average.”

You must bring something to the table—passion. Energy. Intelligence. Reliability.

So, add extra resume sections like:

See these new attorney resume examples:

Attorney Resume—Extra Sections

Good Example

Journals

  • Journal Note: Devaluing Originalism: Virginia Law Review, June 2019

Publications

  • Article on LexisNexis linked to by Fast Company.
  • Article on trial preparation appeared in The Appeal.

Additional Activities

  • Pro bono work for local Habitat for Humanity chapter.
  • Avid competitive sailor.
Bad Example

Additional Activities

  • Sailing
  • Pro bono work

Big disparity.

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 (here are few examples of cover letters for legal jobs). Research the law firm first. Say what you love about it. Finally, display evidence of why you fit.

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Key Points

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!

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

Tom Gerencer, CPRW

Having published over 200 career-advice articles, Tom Gerencer is a career expert who covers the whole array of job-seeking topics for people at all career stages, from interns to C-suite members. His insights, commentary, and articles reach over a million readers every month. With inside knowledge of key industry players and in-depth research, Tom helps job seekers with advice across all professions and career stages. Tom holds a degree in English from Colby College.

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