Associate Attorney Resume Sample & Writing Guide

When you are seeking an Associate Attorney role, whether coming straight from Law School or looking for a foot in the door to becoming a partner eventually, it is essential first to review a top-notch Associate Attorney resume sample.

The legal field is a pressure cooker of competition because the supply of candidates far outweighs the demand. Therefore, your Associate Attorney resume should pack a punch right from the get-go to get noticed by prospective hiring managers and recruiters alike. Being the best of the best means nothing if not reflected in your resume application.

How to transform a resume into an interview-winning document, will be explained below in our Associate Attorney Resume Guidelines and resume templates for Associate Attorneys below.

Associate Attorney Resume Examples

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Associate Attorney Resume Writing Guide

Resume Sections

1. Contact Information:
Include mailing address, personal email, and phone number (Avoid using work numbers or emails). Alternative contact channels, such as LinkedIn or Facebook Messenger, may also be listed.

2. Career Summary:
This is your opening statement for the resume content that is about to follow, so make it count. Tailoring your career summary per the job you apply to is a smart idea to grab the attention of recruiters quickly.

Your abstract should contain 4-5 lines highlighting legal industry tenure, technical competencies, most impressive achievements, qualifications, and a one-liner regarding law school education.

3. Qualifications Summary:
Associate Attorneys are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Law as a minimum but also be completing a Juris Doctor (J.D) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

Provide accurate information about qualifications you have attained per institution, qualification name, and dates. Don’t forget to include qualifications you are currently completing too.

4. Relevant Legal Experience:
When writing your experience section, think of the tasks you have completed in terms of value to the organization and not merely duties. Also, sprinkle the responsibilities from the job advertisement through your experience section (if you have done them, of course) to amplify your fit for the role.

Remember that your resume is not a deposition document and needs first to be easy to read, and secondly, no more than two pages. Use reverse chronological format to list your experience from the most recent position backward.

5. Skills Summary/Key Skills:
Do your research on the company’s career page or ‘’work for us’’ tab and write down a few keywords relating to the type of people they employ. Then read through the job advertisement a few times to identify the most prominent skills.

Now, include these skills in your resume’s skills section. This approach will assist in emphasizing your suitability for the position.

6. Licenses/Certifications/Relevant Coursework/Training:
To be an Associate Attorney, you need to have passed your Law School Admission LSAT exam, attended three years of Law School, and passed the State Attorney’s Bar Exam for the state that you want to practice in.

You are also required to participate in continuous professional development education every three years. Quite a mouthful of information, but very important to list in your Qualification Section.

Include dates, hours accumulated, institution names, etc. similar to how you recorded your degrees previously. If you are a Summer Associate, in other words, you still need to complete the bar exam; you can just include your LSAT results and the Law School you are currently attending with an estimated completion date.

What to Highlight in an Associate Attorney Resume

Associate Attorneys are early-career lawyers who start working at law firms after completing law school and passing the state’s bar exam. They would generally work under the guidance of a Senior Attorney, Law Firm Owner, or Law Firm Partner.

Regardless of your experience as an Associate Attorney, there are a few vital aspects that you need to highlight on your resume to show prospective employers that you are a good fit for the position they have vacant.

Start with your work setting. Do you work for a private or corporate legal office? State, local, and federal governments also employ associate Attorneys. This is important because of protocols and structures followed. You may have a better chance of moving from a corporate law firm to a private law firm, both working with business enterprise clients because the legal structures are similar.

The same goes for working in state government and moving to a federal government office. (This is not to say they you cannot apply for a job at a corporate firm coming from a local government office).

Next on the resume case is the type of clients you advise or represent. Explain to the reader that you are focused on businesses and enterprises or high-level individuals for example, and also what the scope of your court exposure has been thus far. You may further categorize your client experience into percentage civil cases dealt with vs. the number of criminal cases handled.

The third point is relevant to your specialty. If you are a Junior Associate, you may have worked in a few specific areas, but as you gain more experience, Associate Attorneys focus on one particular area of the law to become a recognized expert in their field. What is your specialty? Below we have provided the main specialties of the law fraternity that an Associate Attorney may receive exposure to:

  • Environmental:
    In this area, you will deal with issues about the environment representing waste disposal companies, mines, and advocacy groups.
  • Taxation:
    You may either be working for ‘’Uncle Sam’’ or represent clients that owe money to “Uncle Sam” or need assistance with structuring their tax bill most efficiently.
  • Intellectual Property:
    Associate Attorneys representing and advising clients in terms of the laws on creative works such as songs, books or films as well as trademarks, inventions, or patents.
  • Family:
    This sector deals with a variety of legal issues related to family aspects such as alimony, divorce, adoption proceedings, or custody rulings.
  • Securities:
    If you are a legal, financial guru, you are probably working in securities, know your way around legalities of buying and selling stocks, dividend disclosure regulations and initial public offering agreements
  • Government:
    A vast field where legalities are present in every aspect of government for local, federal, and state issues. You may work for the Department of Education or even the CIA!
  • Private Sector:
    The majority of Associate Attorneys work in the private sector for either Law Firms or Private Companies.
  • Immigration:
    A growing legal sector primarily due to the fast-changing nature of immigration laws and subsequent changes to applications and proceedings involving an enormous volume to paperwork and red tape.
  • Estate Planning:
    Two key areas that Associate Attorneys would be handling in this sector are structuring a client’s estate in the event of death or incapacitation. This includes drafting documentation around wills, trusts, deeds, and power of attorney applications.
  • Personal Injury:
    Associate Attorneys in this field will represent clients with issues relating to compensation for medical or physical harm.
  • Civil Rights:
    One of the core rights stemming from federal and state constitutions and Associate Attorneys here would assist clients navigating through the legal system to protect these rights appropriately.
  • Criminal:
    Associate Attorneys will either get exposure to prosecuting or acting as defense attorneys for their clients on crime accusations.
  • Entertainment:
    A rapidly evolving field due to the proliferation of music made available on the internet. Copyright, trademarks, royalties, and intellectual property contracts form the basis of an Associate Attorney’s job in this area.
  • Real Estate:
    All to do with buying and selling property. Associate Attorneys with this specialty will assist in the closing of real estate transactions, lawsuits if deals fall through or dealing with the banks in terms of foreclosures.

What does a typical day look like in your life at the moment? Make a list of what you are responsible for daily, weekly, and monthly and then compare what you have written against the requirements and duties presented in the advertisement. If you have a few years of experience already, you may be responsible for overseeing the work of support staff such as legal secretaries, assistants, or paralegals.

A hiring manager may also want to know if you chair depositions do litigation and conveyancing or if you specialize in drafting legal agreements and contracts. In this paragraph be sure to mention what your billable hours are and how far you have exceeded target hours in the last six months

*Cool Tip for a stellar resume:
Legal-Tech Expertise is very much in demand these days. Your familiarity with using online information databases or research applications will show recruiters that you have kept up with Industrial Revolution 4.0 digital innovation. This may include things like web-bases meetings, collaborative case management, online tools for trial preparation  and general operation tech hack to simplify administration, time management project management and billings

Looking at all this info, thinking: “I am applying for my first Associate Attorney job and do not have any formal experience yet?” Fear not, below is a list of things you can highlight in your resume:

  • Participation in internships and law clinics and internship programs: Student Law Office, Corporate Internship Program, Internships for Credit, Other Clinical Programs
  • Involvement in volunteering and student activities
  • Research Assistant to a Legal Professor
  • Part-time and full-time legal positions: Summer internships, weekend temp roles
  • Concentrate on your GPA scores if above 3.5
  • Apply to writing competitions
  • Participation in moot court competitions: Barrister’s Cup, Negotiations Competition
  • Student Member of the American Bar Association (ABA
  • Attending section or committee meetings in the fields of law you are interested in practicing.
  • Attending The American Inns of Court in your region for their monthly events
  • Get published or write blogs for law journal and websites
  • Interview an attorney about a compelling case or area of expertise;
  • Participation in Toastmasters to improve public speaking abilities
  • Attending bar sponsored continuing legal education (CLE) programs to meet local attorneys practicing in areas of interest

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Associate Attorney Career Summary Examples

Hiring managers that have large numbers of Associate Attorney resumes to screen often will review only the career summaries to make a decision on which candidates to invite for interviews.  Keep your career summary concise and to the point with the most relevant information first to spark their interest immediately

A career summary is similar to an opening statement that you would present in court and should outline essential facts about your working experience, interpersonal traits, accomplishments, and qualifications. The law environment is filled with legal jargon, but a legal eagle won’t always review your resume. Ensure that the verbiage and terms used will also be understood by non-legal readers such as hiring agents and recruiters.

The aim of your summary statement is to show off the benefit and value that you can bring to the organization as opposed to merely wanting the job.

Three Examples of different of Associate Attorney Career Summaries:

Career Summary 1

Productive, versatile Associate Attorney with extensive working tenure of seven years in all aspects of real estate transactions. Highly adept in contract negotiations, business rights litigation, and civil law codes about individual property rights with extensive exposure to civil courts client representations. Completed a Juris Doctor Degree with a GPA of 3.9 and achieved the highest score in the State Attorney Bar Examination.

Career Summary 2

Intellectually curious junior level Associate Attorney with one-year full-time experience under the mentorship of a Criminal Law Attorney Partner. Acquired thorough knowledge of criminal court proceedings, depositions and defense strategies, and case law. Finished Law School as the top student for the class of 2018 and attempting the Bar Admission Exam in the next three months. 

Career Summary 3

A highly focused and analytical Associate Attorney specializing in Entertainment Law practices. Over a decade of experience in contract reviews for local and international singer/songwriter artists. Top Associate in terms of billable hours for the last three years and up for a Junior Partner promotion in the next quarter. Fluent in French, Spanish, and English.

Associate Attorney Job Descriptions, Responsibilities and duty Examples

An Associate Attorney’s career path commences with a Junior Associate Attorney’s role, and then promotions will occur as you gain more experience into Senior Associate positions. The career span of an Associate Attorney typically lasts from six to nine years before the option of partnership is presented. The job descriptions below are categorized by the various career stages of an Associate Attorney:

An Associate Attorney I at entry-career stage (3-5 years’ experience) may:

  • Responsible for drafting initial pleadings and discovery, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of respondent’s cases
  • Perform extensive research online as well as visiting public information centers to accumulate contextual background regarding cases
  • Draft motions for summary judgments and pre-trial motions
  • Coordinate deposition meetings and facilitate the subpoenas and conferences with the oppositions and trial witnesses
  • Obtain, investigate and analyze plaintiff’s medical and financial and tax records when relevant to assess the validity of third party and personal damages claims
  • Attend case management meetings, pre-trial discussions and motion hearings with the Partner Attorney
  • Collaborate and provide feedback with insurance adjusters and clients regarding the progress status of medical malpractice cases
  • Handling the administration and coordination of small claim settlement matters
  • Attend depositions with the Partner Attorney to take minutes and distribute case reports to attendees

An Associate Attorney II at mid-career stage (5-8 years’ experience) may:

  • Represented media clients in copyright infringement actions and proceedings
  • Draft tolling agreements, pleadings, initial disclosures, 26(f) reports, proposed protective orders, and pre-trial motions
  • Compile responses to interrogatories, opposition counsel and court officer’s request for documentation
  • Responsible for civil litigation and conveyancing procedures
  • Oversee the recruitment and onboarding of summer interns
  • Published articles on copyright infringements for various Legal Journals
  • Represent musicians, artists and record companies in court
  • Responsible for attending legal conferences and present as a keynote speaker

An Associate Attorney III at experienced/advanced stage (8-15 years’ experience) may:

  • Represents high-level corporate clients in court
  • A spokesperson for the firm at press briefings and interviews
  • Responsible for interpreting laws, rules and due process regulations and advising clients accordingly
  • Networking at industry events and conferences to build a client base on behalf of the firm
  • Act as the legal expert and present opinions based on legal analysis regarding case issues to junior Associate Attorneys
  • Responsible for hiring junior associate attorneys, allocating work to them and managing support staff such as legal secretaries and paralegals
  • Develop strategies regarding depositions, pre-trial hearings, and trial hearings
  • Negotiate in settlements of legal disputes

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Highlight Your Accomplishments

Your accomplishment statement section is the catalyst for getting interviews and landing that dream opportunity. Therefore, do not be hesitant to brag a little about your achievements and accolades. Start with making a list of things you have done during your career that you are most proud of, for instance, the number of cases you have won, your contribution to researching previous case history to identify specific precedents, developing Junior Associates in their careers or landing key accounts for the firm.

As you can see, accomplishment statements are not merely a recollection of your job duties. It would help if you had action-packed statements showing your positive contributions made to the firm with numerical values attached to them. This is called resume quantification and will immediately give you the edge over the other candidates.

Herewith a few examples to get you started:

  • Litigated over 2000 Social Security Disability hearings in the New England area maintaining an average of 380 active cases at any given time
  • Compiled and prepared more than 1500 pre-trial briefs and over 800 000 pages of tax records during the last five years
  • Spearheaded employee efficiencies by implementing an automated booking system which increased billable hours by 25%
  • Brought five new clients on board with average retainers of 2 million dollars per annum
  • Holds a 99% winning case record since starting at the firm four years ago
  • Conducted over 200 personal damages mediations with a 97% settlement rate out of court

Associate Attorney Education Section Example

The education section is one of the areas that employers would look at first regardless of where you place it in your resume. Whether you are an entry-level Associate Attorney or a tenured candidate with many years of legal experience, it is vital to provide sufficient background about your academic progression and continuous legal development activities

List qualifications in a way that makes it easy to read.

In summary, indicate What, Where, and When regarding your qualifications, certifications, or industry licenses obtained.

A Associate Attorney’s education section example:

2016 – 2018 Masters Degree in Social Media Law, University of Detroit, MA

2017 – eDiscovery Certification, American Bar Association, Online

2016 – Licensed Attorney, National Conference of Bar Examiners (American Bar Association-approved), Brooklyn, NY

2012 – 2015 – Whittier Law School Programme, Boston, MA

2009 – 2012 Juris Doctor Degree, William S. Boyd School of Law, Las Vegas, NV
GPA: 3.9

2009 Member, Moot Court Honors Board, Hot Springs, AR

  • Wrote a weekly column on tax law
  • Presented ten legal arguments in Moot Court.
  • Part of the team that won the national finals

What to Write in an Associate Attorney Resume Skills Section

Many recruiters and employers in the legal field run resume responses through automated screening software (called applicant tracking systems) first and then receive a list of the top-scoring resumes for shortlisting.

Your skills section is a vital part of your resume because you can beat the screening bots by making sure all the soft skills and core skills listed in the job advertisement are included in your skills section which will ensure that you pass through the robot gatekeepers and into the inbox of the hiring manager.

Remember that technical skills about the law are important, but so is including your interpersonal skills. To make this section easy to read, use a skills matrix to showcase your core competencies and interpersonal traits.

Technical Skills

Business AcumenLaw KnowledgeConveyancing
Research MethodologyTrial PreparationLitigation
DepositionsAntitrust LawClient Service
Case StrategiesClient ManagementUpselling
Draft Legal DocumentationWills, Estates, TrustsProduct Liability Law
Power of AttorneySettlement MeetingsTort Law
MediationCourt ProceduresCross Examinations
Client AdvocacyProject ManagementCorporate Law
Legal AdviceReference LiteratureInterrogation Skills

Interpersonal Skills

Service OrientationConfidentPersistence
NegotiationCreativeLoyal
CollaborationProblem SolvingDisciplined
CommunicationsPublic SpeakingIntegrity
TeamworkPresentationsLogical Reasoning
Active ListeningTrustworthyStress Tolerance
LeadershipWriting SkillsEmpathy
AnalyticalAttention to detailObjective
RespectfulPersuasivenessSound Judgement

Qualifications/Certifications associated with Associate Attorneys

Doctor/Master of Public Policy or Juris Doctor/Master of Public AdministrationJuris Doctor (JD)Master of Laws (LLM)
Doctor of Jurisprudence (JSD)Business LawNALA Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP)
Doctor of Comparative Law (DCL)Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.)
Passed Bar Exams (Indicate States)CLE – Continuous Legal EducationeDiscovery Digital Research Certification

Professional information for Associate Attorneys

Sectors: Various
Career TypeLegal, Prosecution, Litigation, Conveyancing, Public Defense, Private Advisory, Counselling, Bargaining
Person type:  Counsellor, Advisor, Prosecutor, Judge, Researcher, Adjudicator, Judiciary, Presenter, Communicator, Drafter, Mediator, Representor, Arguer, Interpreter, Investigator, Vetter, Processor
Investigator, Reporter, Verifier, Creator, Processor, Vetter
Education levels: Bachelor’s to Masters’ Degree
Salary indication$81K (Low), $123K (Average), $196K (High), per year
Glassdoor
Labor market: Estimated 6% growth between 2018 – 2028
Organizations: SME, Corporate, Commercial, Fortune 500, Government, NPO

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