When you are seeking a Paralegal role, regardless of your years of experience and legal training, presenting an on-point resume is a given. Why not review our Paralegal resume samples and accompanying Resume Write-Up below for guidance?
Although the purpose of your role is essential to the operations of a Legal Firm, finding a job as a Paralegal remains a challenge because of the oversupply of candidates in the industry. Our article below is jam-packed with tips, examples, and advice on How to create a Paralegal Resume.
18 Paralegal Resume Examples
The Great Paralegal Resume Guide
1. Contact Information:
- Name, Last Name
- Cell Number
- Be sure to include alternative contact channels like your LinkedIn profile or Facebook URL details.
(Avoid using work numbers or emails).
2. Career Summary:
The average time it takes for recruiters to review a resume is 6 seconds, so make it count with an eye-grabbing career synopsis.
Skip the dreaded list of flowery adjectives; these do not replace professional qualities.
A short, sharp paragraph detailing your years of experience, specialist paralegal skills and qualifications should make for a fantastic resume opening statement.
3. Qualifications Summary:
Most paralegals jobs require either certification in paralegal studies or an associate’s degree from a vocational school or legal college. If you would like to advance your career; however, a Bachelor’s Degree in Law would serve you well.
Provide brief details about the qualification duration, dates completed, major subject disciplines, and also the institution attended. Acquire an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies from a college or vocational school.
People without qualifications are usually required to have four years experience in the industry to be recognized as a Paralegal professional.
4. Relevant Paralegal Experience:
Choose the correct format to present your working history. A functional format is great when you have over ten years of experience; otherwise, stick to a reverse chronological structure starting with your most recent employment history first.
List 5-6 job duties under each employment description but choose them wisely. A simple way to ascertain which duties should be included or those to be omitted is to use the advertisement as your guideline.
5. Skills Summary/Key Skills:
The most critical piece of advice we can give you for the skills section is tailoring. Read through the job advertisement a few times and identify the skills mentioned in the job synopsis, list of requirements, duties, and must-have skills sections.
Now ensure that you sprinkle these throughout your resume and repeat them in the skills matrix for maximum impact.
6. Licenses/Certifications/Relevant Coursework/Training:
Paralegal certification is not a minimum requirement to land a job in this field. However, due to the vast supply of paralegal candidates exceeding the number of job openings, you may find that more and more positions ask for a Certificate in Paralegal Studies.
If you have such credentials, list them by Industry Body, for example, The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA), and certification name such as the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination (PACE).
What to Highlight in a Paralegal Resume
Paralegals are mostly employed by Law Firms, but you can also find work at Government Agencies, or legal departments within corporate companies. Regardless of your experience, there are specific points to highlight in your Paralegal Resume to assure recruiters and Law Firm owners that you would be able to perform the job.
First up is the scope of your job, and you can explain that by providing details reading the size and type of organization that you work for. As an example, apart from Law Firms, your career tenure at a large corporate company where you are involved with contractual documentation like employee contracts, shareholder agreements, or financial reports would be of interest to recruiters looking for candidates with corporate experience.
Also, if you work for the government or in a state entity, showcase your experience with regulatory and compliance matters. Working for a small to medium enterprise may be to your advantage if the role you are applying for requires an allrounder with experience in all facets of paralegal activities.
Next in line is your usage of technology, applications, and computer software, which is critical to this industry. Here you may mention how you manage the increasing level of data and documentation generated during cases and how you would store and categorize reports, evidence, and other legal documentation for easy retrieval and review.
Buzzwords trending at the moment is electronic database management and discovery. Electronic discovery relates to all digital materials obtained by the various parties during litigation or investigation activities (documents, emails, data, accounting databases, websites).
Paralegals’ job duties typically vary depending on the legal area in which they work. Make sure to clarify these in your resume according to the examples below:
- Corporate Paralegals will assist company lawyers in drawing up annual reports, review government regulations, draft policies and procedure documents, and create shareholder agreements within the framework of a company environment.
- Litigation Paralegals work in law practices and will organize, categorize, and maintain documentation submitted by clients. They are also involved in research and putting together evidence packs for use at trials and depositions.
- Real Estate and Title Insurance Paralegals work for banks in the mortgage department as well as real estate companies. In this role, you would be responsible for various administrative aspects of the commercial and residential real estate sales and purchasing transactions. Main activities include drafting sales contracts, conduct lien searches, prepare title insurance policies, and review title exceptions and commitments.
- Public Defender Paralegals work for the state or federal government and need competencies in administrative procedures of the criminal law system, procedural law, case precedents, penal codes, and case formalities.
- Paralegals at NGOs are often specialized in the area that the NGO operates in, for example, social work, healthcare, environmental, or human rights issues.
- Judicial Paralegals can work for senators, governors, and judges and mainly assist with legal secretarial duties and research activities.
- Government Paralegals work in basically every department and agency within government and may specialize in fields such as military aviation, foreign affairs, infrastructure, and financial regulation.
- Nursing Paralegals are a new upcoming field, and candidates with these skills are highly in demand. Nurses who turned paralegals are valuable to insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals because they can help minimize litigation due to their medical knowledge and assess unique problematic issues related to claims and class actions.
To provide recruiters with a comprehensive view of your experience and skills, it would be wise to categorize your primary duties and then give context for each category:
Paralegals are present in initial client interviews to establish report and context. Recruiters would be interested to hear how you observe and take notes during these events and the use the information to conduct subsequent interviews with clients and witnesses by yourself later during the progression of the case and trial activities.
Drafting Legal Documents:
About 70% of a paralegal’s role has to do with litigation. This is the most expensive part of the law process, and here you could point a hiring manager’s attention to the measures you took to minimize litigation costs due to your exceptional talents in drafting correspondence related to pretrial orders, legal briefs, complaints, interrogatories, and deposition notices.
Legal Office Administration:
Efficient systems and procedures are the backbones of every law practice and legal department. Your ability to multitask and perform a variety of functions to keep the department running smoothly would be to your advantage. Whether it is filing, taking phone calls, calendar management, or organizing reference files, show the reader how these tasks have added value to your department.
Research & Reporting:
Lawyers and Attorneys have very little time on their hands, and paralegals are typically responsible for ‘’finding contextual and supporting information’’ to assist lawyers in advising clients about the strength and probability of winning their case. Your knowledge of reach methodologies, reviewing legal materials, file referencing, and writing summarizes reports should be highlighted in your resume.
Your responsibility will also spill over in multiple interactions and engagements with third-party vendors, court administrators, clients, and witnesses. You need to present your communication skills, level of diplomacy and desire to ‘’get the job done’’ to hiring managers, to stand out from the rest of the applications.
How to Write a Paralegal Career Objective
Hiring managers that have volumes of Paralegal resumes to review, will typically only skim career summaries to make a shortlisting decision. Keep your career summary short and to the point, providing an impactful paragraph that will grab the attention of the hiring manager instantaneously.
Use the following structure to help you create an elevator pitch with oomph and charisma.
- Your job title
- Your years of experience
- Your most valued technical trait
- Your biggest accomplishment
- Your highest academic credential
Three Examples of Paralegal Career Summaries:
Career Summary 1
“Adaptable and conscientious Paralegal with ten years of experience in class action litigation within the mining industry. Part of the team that has won three class-action lawsuits in the past 18 months, with specific relation to personal injury and health complaints. Holds a Certified Paralegal Credential and currently busy with an Advanced Diploma in Research Methodology.“
Career Summary 2
“Smart, enthusiastic junior Paralegal with four years of experience in assisting with foreclosure trials, estate law precedents, and drafting settlement agreements for the Real Estate Industry. Currently completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Estates and Wills and also fluent in French and German.“
Career Summary 3
“Tenacious Government Paralegal supporting attorneys, barristers, and solicitors in handling cases and prepping for hearings, trials, and meetings relating to white-collar corruption. Exemplary organization and time management skills to perform administrative and clerical tasks as well as legal research. Received certified Paralegal Status last year.“
Paralegal Job Descriptions, Responsibilities and Duty Examples
A Paralegal’s career path may come from either being in the industry as a legal secretary or legal assistant for several years, or by graduating in legal studies and attending Law School on route to becoming a qualified attorney. The role of a Paralegal differs in terms of industry knowledge and the type of company they work for.
In the section below, we have chosen the most essential duties of a Paralegal that may be replicated across a variety of industries. You are welcome to use them as is, or tweak and customize to fit your own unique job duties.
Generic Job Description for a Paralegal:
- Prepare legal correspondence, affidavits and other documentation for lawyers and attorneys
- Responsible for organizing, classifying and maintaining all documentation via a digitally coded filing system
- Meet with clients, lawyers, attorneys, and other legal stakeholders regularly to discuss upcoming trails, litigation activities and the results of research conducted
- File pleadings and pretrial documentation with court administrators
- Assist attorneys in preparing for trials by writing summaries of legal arguments, also including opening and closing case arguments
- Prepare wills, briefs, contracts, settlement agreements, and deposition notices
- Conduct research to investigate facts and case laws to find examples of historical precedents and assist lawyers and attorneys in preparing for cases.
- Search public records for information about current cases
- Direct and coordinate legal office activities, scheduling deliveries of subpoenas and organizing receival of record files
- Gather and analyze court decisions, statutes, legal articles, codes, and notices of new laws adopted by the government
- Communicating with witnesses regarding testimonies and court dates
- Conduct in-depth research and investigations on relevant laws and regulations pertinent to current cases
- Manage caseloads by keeping the law library up to date and monitoring legal report volumes coming in
- Drafting correspondence for litigation regarding contracts, mortgages and company registrations
- Assist lawyers during trials by facilitating exhibits, taking memos, and reviewing trial transcripts
- File appeals, briefs, exhibits, briefs, and related documentation with opposing counsel and court administration
- Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions
Highlight Your Accomplishments
Your accomplishment statement section is the activator for securing interviews and receiving that dream opportunity you have always wished for. Due to a large number of paralegal candidates out there all rallying for a limited number of available jobs, you should include a brag section in your resume. Accomplishment statements are the evidence that hiring managers would need to prove that you can do the job.
Start by preparing a list of achievements by thinking about projects and contributions you have been most proud of during the course of your career.
Remember, you are not creating a laundry list. Stick to 3-5 accomplishments; otherwise, their value will get lost in the volume.
Apart from achievements relevant to your scope of duties, accomplishments can also be contributions you have made that fall beyond your standard job description. Remember to reinforce 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:
- Drafted six dispositions on short notice within the space of 72 hours
- Reduced administrative expenses by 20% after implementing a scheduling system for accessing the filing database of previous court cases which stopped the waiting time for legal administrators to access information all at the same time
- Created an array of templates for correspondence, drafts, contracts, and agreements used daily by the law practice, deducing documentation drafting by over 50%
Paralegal Education Section Example
The education section in your Paralegal Resume is of utmost importance to boost your credibility as someone with sufficient knowledge to be successful as a paralegal and add value to the business.
Make sure to include the following details for all the credentials you decide to list in your education section: Qualification type, Major discipline, Institution attended, Date completed. To beef this section up, even more, add information about course curriculums, honors, awards, leadership roles, and extra-curricular activities, especially if you have not gained a lot of experience yet.
Start with your highest qualifications. Then add all the others in reverse-chronological order.
Below is an example of what an Education Section for a Paralegal resume, could look like:
2019 – Bachelor in Paralegal Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
2018 – Paralegal Associate Degree, Rasmussen College, Online
2017 – Professional Legal Secretary (PLS), Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, Online
2017 – Professional Paralegal Exam (PPE), American Association of Paralegal Education (AAPE), Online
Course Topics: Administrative Law, Ethics, Research, Dispute Resolution and Mediation, Litigation practice, Litigation procedure.
2016 – Diploma in Legal Contract Drafting, Florida State University, Miami, FL
Curriculum Subjects: Real estate law, Medical law, Family law, Torts, Office procedures, Partnerships and corporations.
What to Write in a Paralegal Resume Skills Section
Most recruiters and employers in the legal sector run application 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 an essential part of your resume because you can beat those screening bots by ensuring all the soft skills and core competencies in the job advertisement are included in your skills section. The screening bots with pick up on these words and terms (resume SEO) and then add your application in the list presented to the recruiter (aka human screener).
Remember that technical legal skills are essential, but so is personality traits. Make this section neat and easy to read by presenting skills and competencies in a skills matrix.
To make this section easy to read, use a skills matrix to showcase your core competencies and interpersonal traits.
|Online Research||Trial Memo’s||Adobe Acrobat|
|Investigations||Drafting Lawsuits||Billing Software|
|Client Interviews||Legal Counselling||Writing Briefs|
|Litigation||Writing Trial Summaries||Paralegal Administration|
|BigTime Software||ProDoc eFiling||CaseSync|
|Contractual Agreements||MS Office Advanced||Settlement Techniques|
|Self Starter||Attention to Detail||Resourceful|
|Written Communication||Scheduling||Time Management|
Qualifications/Certifications associated with Paralegals
|American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI)||The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALS)||National Federation of Paralegals (NFPA)|
|American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP)||Paralegal Core Competency Exam (CRP)||Legal Document Assistants Certification (LDA)|
|Professional Legal Secretary (PLS)||The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (RP)||Accredited Legal Professional (ALP)|
|Certified Paralegal (CP)||Professional Paralegal (PP)||Accredited Legal Professional (ALP)|
Professional information for Paralegals
Career Type: Legal, Law, Prosecution, Drafting, Litigation, Research, Conveyancing, Public Defence, Private Advisory, Document Management, Counselling, Bargaining
Person type: Investigator, Drafter, Reporter, Processor, Verifier, Writer, Creator, Processor, Vetter
Education levels: Post School Qualifications, Certifications, Formal Associates or Bachelor Degrees
Salary: $ 37k (Low), $ 50k (Median), $ 68k (High) (Glassdoor)
Labor market: 12% increase between 2018 and 2028
Companies: Government, Federal Agencies, State Departments, Consultancies, Military Departments, Fortune 500, Global Entities, Regulatory Bodies, Private Companies, Public Sector Companies, Industry Institutions