Attorney Resumes & Writing Guide

Attorney Resume Samples

The Great Attorney Resume Guide

What to Highlight in an Attorney Resume

Attorneys perform various legal activities and projects on behalf of their clients, advising them regarding the intricacies of the law, facilitating complex administrative transactions, creating contracts and agreements abiding by the law of the state and the country, and conduction research in preparation for trials and court cases.

Firstly, provide the scope of your role, which may be navigating to a specific legal activity like litigation or conveyancing. If you could be focussed on criminal trials and court cases. Other attorneys specialize in contractual law where they would create shareholder agreements, real estate contracts, or company transfer documentation.

You may also fulfill an important research and investigation function for a Senior Partner that involves collecting evidence, for instance, police reports or accident reports, getting hold of pleadings file in previous cases, or judgments made that set specific precedents that may be called upon in current ongoing trials.

You can also focus on interpreting case law and use the information to assist your superior in formulating appropriate case strategies. Admitted attorneys are typically tasked with preparing pleadings, contracts, deeds, and that may then be signed off by the senior attorney or manager. You may also be responsible for court approaches on smaller cases to alleviate the workload of the firm's partners.

Next, you need to explain to recruiters ‘’where’’ you work in terms of company size and type of entity. Admitted attorneys are mainly employed by law practices, but you could also be employed by non-profit organizations, industry regulatory bodies, or corporate organizations. In a Law Firm, you may be called an associate and perform work for individuals or businesses. On the other hand, your purpose may be representing and defending the accused or plaintiffs as a criminal law or defense attorney.

If you work for a company as their corporate counsel, recruiters would want to know what your role entails regarding business activities of the entity, for example, patents, intercompany contracts, taxed, property interests, or bargaining agreements for unions. If you are a public interest attorney, your work will entail representing disadvantaged individuals without the means to afford legal counsel, and these cases could include class actions, job discriminations, and wage disputes. Other employers of attorneys include local, state, and federal governments.

Attorneys can be general practitioners dealing with various legal projects, or specialize in particular fields of law. It is essential to define the legal context that represents the majority of your experience. To help you, we have provided a summary of the main fields of specialization and essential aspects within those fields that you need to highlight on your resume to attract the attention of specialist law firm owners:

Personal Injury: These attorneys represent clients who have been involved in accidents or work-related occurrences that adversely affected their health or mobility. Indicate the types of accidents you deal with and how successful you were in securing compensations for your clients who suffered injuries caused by third parties.

Estate Planning: A high admin intensive field where your attention to detail and meticulous nature would be of interest to those reading your resumes. Drafting wills, setting up trusts, and also allocating funds after the client has passed on are essential in these environments.

Bankruptcy: Empathy and a neck for numbers are crucial in this role because you are advising clients in dire financial straits on how to navigate the challenges to closing down their businesses or putting their assets up for auction.

Intellectual Property: In the fourth industrial revolution and proliferation of online technology with the information made available in the public domain, the need for protecting intellectual property has skyrocketed. Explain to recruiters what your tenure is regarding copyright, patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and intercompany trade secrets.

Employment and Workers Compensation: Attorneys are advising clients who are either employees or employers experiencing labor issues, for example, unfair, dismissal or discrimination or disciplinary hearings, wage negotiations, and work environment policies and procedures.

Legal Compliance: Companies have numerous regulations and standards to adhere to for industry, state, and the federal government to ensure they are in good standing. Provide information about your role in assisting with regulatory and compliance issues, setting up companies, and advising clients on corporate governance and corporate compliance issues.

Immigration: In this field, attorneys would deal with individuals from other countries relocating to the host country and the mountains of paperwork that such a move generates. Mention your areas of expertise such as green cards, citizenship, visa’s refugee applications, or asylum seekers.

Criminal Justice: Most attorneys counsel clients regarding criminal law, where you are the plaintiff or the accused and advise regarding bail proceedings, arrests, please or depositions, and arraignments.

Medical Malpractice: Attorneys in this area will defend medical personnel regarding the consequences of medical mistakes, causing injury, or even death to patients. Recruiters would look for experience in settlement agreements, and negotiating payouts (essential to mention the size).

Taxation: When applying for a role as a taxation attorney, prospective employers would expect you to be an expert on the rules, clauses, and regulations of the IRS to effectively assist clients from a federal, state, and local tax law perspectives.

Family Attorneys: Being an expert in spousal support battles, custody hearings, ante nuptial contracts, or divorce proceedings are imperative to landing a job in this field.

Environmental: With Climate Change and Green Practices at the forefront of business practices these days, your skills as an environmental attorney would be highly in demand. Explain the scope of your experience in terms of advising advocacy groups, waste management companies, or government agencies tasked with upholding compliance in environmental practices, for example.

Securities: A brilliant mind in all things related to banking, finance, and shares would be what hiring managers look for. Give details about your exposure to advising clients on buying and selling stock, listing on the stock exchange, drafting initial public offerings (IPO’s) meeting disclosure requirements, or purchase shares in other corporate entities.

How to Write a Attorney Career Objective

Hiring managers that have large numbers of Attorney resumes to screen because the supply of candidates supersedes the demand of available roles. They will often review only the career summaries to make a shortlisting decision. For this reason, your career summary needs to be carefully crafted to provide the perfect balance between technical, interpersonal, and academic tenure.

Keep your career summary concise but informative enough to attract the interest of recruiters and hiring managers.

Think of your career summary as an opening statement you would make in court, and it needs to be powerful enough to make a fantastic first impression. Think features, benefits, and value-adding phrases.

Three Examples of Attorney Career Summaries:

Career Summary 1

“Goal-focused conveyancing attorney with 4+ years' experience in Environmental Law. Proven tenure in trail preparation, class action lawsuits, and settlement agreements. Won 99% of cases during the last four years. Achieved the highest score in the Bar Exam for the State of California.”

Career Summary 2

“A specialist corporate attorney with over a decade of experience in advising executives of Fortune 500 companies in the Oil and Mining Industries regarding company buy-outs, shareholder agreements, and listing practices for the major stock exchanges in the world. Currently completing a Masters in Business Administration and fluent in six European languages.”

Career Summary 3

“Empathetic and passionate NPO Attorney with seven years working tenure in the non-profit space related to social activism for human trafficking, gender violence, and poverty upliftment initiatives. Carried 40 cases to trial in the last six months with a 100% mediation rate. Won the Pro-Bono Attorney of the Year Award from the American Bar Association in 2019.”

Attorney Job Descriptions Examples

Your career path and area of specialization would determine the duties that you decide to include in your job description section. In the section below, we have listed the general responsibilities of an Attorney, and you may use the verbiage as is or preferably tweak each duty to fit with your specialty area.

Attorney Job Description:

  • Advising clients regarding claim liabilities, business transaction compliance, and legal rights and obligations
  • Interpreting regulations, rules, and laws for individuals and business entities
  • Analyzing and explaining the probable outcome of cases based on previous legal precedents
  • Presenting case information to juries and judges in court
  • Evaluating findings and developing strategies and arguments in preparation for court appearances
  • Gathering evidence to formulate defense cases or initiate legal proceedings, by interviewing witnesses, clients and 3rd party stakeholders
  • Representing clients in court or in mediation hearings
  • Preparing and drafting legal documentation such as patent applications, mortgages, leases, and employee contracts
  • Preparing legal briefings and opinions used to file appeals in federal and state courts
  • Negotiating settlement agreements of civil disputes
  • Conferring with colleagues regarding specialist legal issues that may fall outside the standard legal scope of work
  • Researching public and other legal records to compile opinions
  • Supervise and coordinate daily activities of legal assistants and paralegal staff
  • Performing administrative and managerial functions such as recruiting, billing allocation and allocation of projects
  • Acting as guardian, agent, trustee or executor on behalf of business and individuals
  • Probating wills and representing and advising administrators and executors of deceased estates

Highlight Your Accomplishments

Your accomplishment statement section catalyzes generating interviews. Prospective employers would want to hear about your achievements and value-adding contributions in previous roles. The trick to impressionable accomplishment statements is quantification. Add numerical values to your progress (billable hours, settlement values, case successes).

Herewith a few examples to get you started:

  • Carried 40 case files from conceptualization through to final trial in the last 12 months
  • Conducted 50+ mediations achieving a 92% settlement rate
  • Scored 98% on client satisfaction exit surveys
  • Maintained 1900 minimum annual billable hours
  • Reviewed more than 30% pleadings comparing to the company average

Skills Section

The skills section of your Attorney resume should represent your core technical competencies relevant to the discipline of law, interpersonal traits, for example, soft skills learned and personality features. Provide a snapshot of these by using a Skills Matrix format.

Interpersonal Skills

MeticulousDetail OrientatedNegotiation
EmpatheticCollaborativeWork Ethics
Self-DrivenTime ManagementOrganization
ApproachableMulti-TaskingClient Services

Technical Skills

Corporate LawDocumentationProduct Liability Law
Drafting DocumentationSettlement AgreementsTort Law
Client AdvocacyBilling SystemsTrial Preparation
LitigationResearch MethodologiesLegal Proceedings
MediationLaw KnowledgeContractual Law
DepositionsPre-Trial CounsellingLegal Writing
Constitutional LawProperty LawCivil Procedure
Tax LawLabor LawCorporate Law

Qualifications & Certifications associated with Attorneys

Doctor/Master of Public Policy or Juris Doctor/Master of Public AdministrationJuris Doctor (JD)Master of Laws (LLM)
Law School TrainingDoctor of Comparative Law (DCL)CLE – Continuous Legal Education
LSAT (Law School Admission ExamLaw practice Management DiplomaeDiscovery Course
Doctor of Jurisprudence (JSD)Business LawNALA Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP)
Multi-Essay Examination (MEE)Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.)
Passed Bar Exams (Indicate States)Certification in Arbitration & Medication LaweDiscovery Digital Research Certification

Professional information for Attorneys

Sectors: Various
Career Type: Bargaining, Conveyancing, Private Advisory, Legal, Prosecution, Litigation, Public Defense, Counselling
Person type:  Counsellor, Processor, Prosecutor, Judge, Researcher, Adjudicator, Communicator, Judiciary, Reporter, Presenter, Drafter, Advisor Mediator, Representor, Arguer, Interpreter, Investigator, Vetter, Investigator, Verifier, Creator, Processor
Education levels: BJuris Doctorate and upwards
Salary indication: $17k( Low), $107k (Median), $171 (High) *Glassdoor
Labor market: 6% increase between 2018 – 2028 (BLS)
Organizations: SME, NGO’s, Corporate, Public Companies, Consulting Companies, Commercial, Advocacy Groups, Fortune 500, Government, NPO, Private Entities