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If you’re entering the legal profession, you’ve already completed an intensive education regimen and you possess skills that very few other people have. When the time comes to look for jobs, all you have to do is make these accomplishments shine. If you’re not sure how to do this, keep reading to review some key tips for resume success.
Attorneys, also known as lawyers, are the professionals who keep the legal system moving. Some are responsible for defending clients in court, while others prosecute civil and criminal cases. Attorneys also provide legal advice and help clients with legal documents. Many also work for larger companies, helping to write contracts and avoid litigation, as well as advise on corporate legal issues. There are many avenues for lawyers, including criminal law, labor law, immigration law, family law, property law, tax law, and copyright law.
Applying for a job as an attorney can be daunting. Many firms have high expectations of their candidates and the job market for lawyers can be extremely competitive. The key to success during your job search is making your application stand out from the pack, and your resume is an essential component of this.
If all of this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. With a little effort, you can easily create a resume that showcases your competencies. In this blog, we’ll provide a few helpful tips for writing and formatting your resume. We’ll also provide an example of a top-notch resume that you can use as a reference when it’s time to write your own.
Here are a few top tips to keep in mind when writing a resume for an attorney position:
Education is an essential part of becoming a lawyer, and it’s vital to show off your credentials in an obvious spot. Most resumes include the education section at the bottom, but as an attorney, you can consider listing your degrees and certifications near the top of the document, before the professional experience section. If you have several years of relevant experience, then education can be placed at the end.
To bolster your credentials, consider including a section that lists your professional associations and bar memberships. This can help demonstrate that you’re a respected member of the legal profession and may reveal links between you and the other lawyers at the firm.
Before you write your resume, be sure to review the job listing carefully. This will help you find out what the firm is looking for and tweak the keywords in your document.
Finally, include a brief paragraph that describes the duties you performed on a regular basis for each position you have held. After that, included a bulleted list of achievements.
Attorneys have a unique and expansive set of skills that facilitate their duties. Here are several core competencies that you can include in your resume’s skills section:
Documentation and record-keeping
Legal research and analysis
Accomplished Attorney with proven success managing and supporting complex legal issues and conducting comprehensive research over a career of 15 years as judge and litigation attorney in the areas of family law, criminal law, civil litigation and bankruptcy. Practiced in managing multiple case files and implementing effective strategies to ensure accurate collation, assessment and updating of information, along with preparing casework, filing motions and presenting cases to the Grand Jury and at trials. Acknowledged for consistently delivering high standards in both quality and professionalism, cultivating solid relationships with clients, legal teams, judges and governing authorities. Possess advanced research and analytical abilities. Skilled at communicating complex legal information to internal and external stakeholders into clear, easy-to-understand language. Proactive and detailed contributor, committed to influencing positive change and achieving goals.
Employment history example
Attorney at LIEBLER CONNOR BERRY & ST HILAIRE, PS., Kennewick, WA
2019 - Present
Leverage legal expertise to prepare criminal defense cases and manage restraining orders and domestic cases. Defend privately retained clients on both felony and misdemeanor charges. Execute supplemental proceedings and secure subpoenas for employment. Collaborate with three fellow attorneys to develop and improve firm procedures and policies, budgeting, determination, and management of independent contractors. Remain abreast of new laws and regulations and network with industry professionals by attending a number of seminars and CLE’s regarding management, marketing, procedures, conflict, and relationship skills.
Successfully defended cases on high asset dissolutions and separations, including child support, parenting plan modifications, relocations, and adoptions after terminating parental rights.
Regularly petitioned against protection orders both inside the domestic arena and separately in civil cases, while working within the Rules of Professional Responsibility advocating for clients with intertwining domestic and criminal cases.
Executed supplemental proceedings and secured subpoenas for employment.
Represented clients at hearings and trials to obtain civil judgments, and oversaw numerous unlawful detainer actions and guardianships.
Attorney at FIDELITY ATTORNEY SERVICES, PLLC, Kennewick, WA
2010 - 2019
Built and established this successful law firm from the ground up, overseeing all aspects of staff development, marketing, budgeting, case organization, firm procedures, and hiring and management of contractors. Filed and managed dissolutions, parentage, and general residential placement cases, successfully obtaining temporary restraining orders relating to the possession of family home and temporary placement of children. Steered all legal personnel in performing investigations, process service, accounting, and marketing.
Drafted employee handbook for a staff of 10 employees during tenure.
Successfully reduced felony charges to misdemeanors on approximately 10% of public defense cases and obtained verdicts of not guilty on 10% of public defense trials.
Hired to assist in high profile Sisouvanh murder case due ability to connect with defendant coupled with criminal and domestic experience.
Studied and remained informed on substance abuse evaluations, counseling and treatment, and psychological evaluations for civil commitments to better understand process and advise clients.
Acted as co-counsel with Stephen Kennedy for a national company in defense of an employment lawsuit.
Associate Attorney at RODRIGUEZ & ASSOCIATES, Kennewick, WA
2006 - 2010
Managed cases focused on criminal defense, domestic law, and workers’ compensation. Defended various private misdemeanor and felony charges encompassing arraignment, omnibus hearings, pretrial hearings, change of pleas, deferred prosecution, stipulated continuances, probation violations, trial, sentencing, and restitution hearings.
Charged with managing all domestic cases and performing work on a variety of personal injury cases.
Filed and defended clients in arbitration and filed civil litigation suits in both Superior and District State Courts.
Sole attorney who filed and settled a case against Wal-Mart for printing and advertising a customer’s personal photograph without his permission.
Successfully dismissed a variety of charges on suppression hearings and second chaired defense of 3 private felony sex and drug trials including performing Child Hearsay Hearings.
Juris Doctor at Willamette University College of Law
Bachelor of Arts, Business Economics, Minor in German at Willamette University
Legal Team Management
Research & Analysis
Court Case Leadership
Filings & Legal Briefings
Patrick is a Nashville-based writer and editor who loves a good turn of phrase. He has worked for a variety of clients but has a special interest in career services, travel, and the arts. When not writing, Patrick is an avid musician who enjoys exploring the sights and sounds of Music City.