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11 Attorney Resume Examples & Guide...

11 Attorney Resume Examples & Guide for 2024

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Crafting a standout resume is a pivotal step for any attorney looking to navigate the competitive legal job market. Whether you're wrestling with squeezing complex cases into concise statements or standing out in a crowd of similarly qualified candidates, it's hard. Let’s not forget the challenge of articulating your specific skills and experiences in a way that resonates with both legal and non-legal hiring managers.

This comprehensive guide is designed to bridge these gaps. It offers tailored advice and resume writing strategies for attorneys at all career stages, ensuring your resume highlights your legal acumen and sets you apart from the competition.

Today’s guide will cover the following topics:

  • The best resume formatting tips, including layout, design, and elegant templates suitable for law practitioners;
  • How to feature your professional and educational experience in a way that adds credibility and value to your profile;
  • How to maximize the impact of your resume by researching the prospective employer and adding strategic keywords to your career summary;
  • Which skills to include in an attorney resume and where to put them exactly if the space is limited.

The bar is high (pun intended), so let’s get started.

Are you interested in a different type of legal resume? Below you might find what you’re looking for.

How to format an attorney resume with precision

Attorneys excel at organizing their workload, a skill that should also be reflected in your resume's layout. A tidy resume is the first impression you give to potential employers, so it has to stand out. Opt for a classic template, professional font, and ample white space to ensure your resume is ATS-friendly.

But first, decide on a resume format that speaks to both the traditions and the current practices of the legal profession.

Most seasoned attorneys prefer the hybrid (or combination) format because it allows them to showcase both their chronological work history and their specific skills and accomplishments. Another major advantage is that it’s very versatile—you can choose which aspects of your career to emphasize, whether that's a rich array of legal skills, a history of high-profile cases, or leadership in legal settings.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid the other two top formats. For instance, the reverse-chronological type is more focused on your work experience and is great for those who have an extensive career history in law. At the opposite end of the spectrum are functional resumes, which are skills-oriented, and are best suited for entry-level attorneys.

Attorney resume design and layout

Lawyers know better than anyone that clarity and relevance bring any document to another level. This is what you should be looking to achieve on your resume, too. Consider the following suggestions when building your professional presentation.

  • Create a compelling resume header. Ideally, this section should include your full name, your professional title (e.g. Trademark Attorney), and contact information — phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile. For more impact, you may choose to include your licensure status or a link to your professional website, showcasing your achievements.
  • Keep the resume neatly organized. Two major factors will make your resume readable — professional fonts and sufficient white space. For the former, Times New Roman is considered the standard for documents, conveying a more formal tone. Alternatively, you could opt for a sans serif font like Arial, Lato, or Rubik, which aren’t only perfectly legible but also ATS-friendly. Just ensure that the font size is no smaller than 10 pt. Regarding white space, it largely depends on margin sizes. It's best not to reduce margins below 1 inch to prevent your resume from appearing too cluttered and overwhelming.
  • Avoid too many graphic elements. It goes with the territory. The legal profession in the United States follows a conservative approach to job applications, which also applies to photos on resumes. The reason is straightforward: photos can lead employers to unintentionally bias or discriminate, and ATS scanners might not process these images correctly. The same goes for resume icons, which don’t align with the profession's strict professional standards.
  • Proofread your resume. While it may seem like a basic step, it's always beneficial to run your final document through our AI-powered resume checker. This tool doesn't just offer content advice; it also identifies any typos, ensuring your resume is polished to perfection.
  • Save your file as a PDF. Unless explicitly mentioned otherwise, it’s best to save your resume as a PDF to avoid unexpected formatting changes which is often the case with Word resumes. The file naming convention goes as follows: your name, your job title, and the word resume (JohnDoeEmploymentAttorneyresume.pdf).

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Now that we’ve clarified the right format, let’s consider the must-have sections for a flawless attorney resume.

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The top sections on an attorney's resume

  • Legal experience: Showcases your practical law application.
  • Education & bar admission: Essential for legal qualifications.
  • Skills & competencies: Highlights legal expertise and soft skills.
  • Legal publications: Demonstrates thought leadership in law.
  • Awards & recognitions: Affirms excellence in the legal field.

These sections are needed for a reason. Hiring managers say that they derive valuable insights from resumes that are structured according to the standards in a given field.

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What recruiters want to see on attorney resumes

  • Relevant legal experience, as it shows practical skills and knowledge.
  • Specialization areas, indicating expertise in specific legal domains.
  • Education and bar admissions—these verify legal qualifications and licensure.
  • Professional achievements, highlighting successes and recognitions.
  • Legal writing and research skills, essential for effective case handling.

Now, let’s proceed to crafting the required sections one by one.

How to write your attorney resume experience

Attorneys face three main challenges when building their resume experience. Firstly, you need to choose your most relevant experiences. What you select to include in your resume has to align closely with the job you’re applying for.

Secondly,  you need to figure out which skills and experience can differentiate you from other candidates. The legal field is competitive, and attorneys often have similar backgrounds and experiences, so you need to make an impact with а carefully targeted experience section.

Finally, you should quantify your achievements by supporting your contributions with concrete data.

Let’s consider two examples, a good and a bad one.

Chicago Law Group
Chicago, IL
  • Led a team of junior attorneys and paralegals in high-stakes litigation cases.
  • Provided strategic legal counseling to clients.
  • Negotiated and drafted complex contracts and agreements.
  • Engaged in pro bono work.

This experience entry is far from clear and precise. It provides no evidence of the candidate’s contributions and does the opposite of what is expected from a lawyer’s resume.

Below is the improved version.

Senior Associate Attorney
Chicago Law Group
Chicago, IL
Focused on commercial litigation and contract disputes for a wide range of clients, including small businesses and large corporations.
  • Led a team of junior attorneys and paralegals on over 30 high-stakes litigation cases, achieving favorable outcomes in 90% of them.
  • Advised over 100 clients on legal compliance, significantly reducing their legal risks and potential for litigation.
  • Successfully negotiated and drafted over 200 complex contracts and agreements, leading to a 95% client satisfaction rate.
  • Contributed over 500 hours of pro bono legal services to underserved communities in the Chicago area, focusing on housing and employment law.

This is effective for a few reasons:

  • Quantified achievements: Specific numbers on a resume (e.g., cases handled, contracts negotiated, pro bono hours) provide clear evidence of the attorney's impact and effectiveness.
  • Outcome-oriented: Highlighting favorable outcomes and high satisfaction rates demonstrates the attorney's ability to deliver results, appealing to potential employers looking for proven performers.
  • Scope of work: Quantifying the scope of responsibilities and achievements gives a sense of scale and the level of trust previous employers placed in the attorney. This is amplified by the use of action verbs like led, advised, negotiated, and contributed.
  • Community contribution: Including quantified pro bono work not only highlights the attorney's legal expertise but also their commitment to social responsibility. This enhances the candidate’s soft skills range and profile as a well-rounded professional.

Assuming the candidate has carefully reviewed the job description and strategically incorporated relevant keywords into their resume's experience section, their chances of securing the job are significantly higher.  The same strategy can be applied by novice attorneys. Read on to learn more.

How to quantify impact on your resume

The following suggestions can help you add credibility to your attorney resume.

  • Include the amount of damages won in litigation cases, showcasing your ability to secure substantial financial victories for clients or employers.
  • List the percentage reduction achieved in settlement negotiations, highlighting your skill in reducing liabilities and saving resources in legal disputes.
  • Detail the number of successful motions or briefs filed, underscoring your proficiency in legal writing and argumentation, reflecting your tactical legal acumen.
  • Mention the total value of contracts reviewed or drafted, illustrating your experience with significant commercial agreements and your understanding of complex legal and business considerations.
  • Quantify the number of regulatory compliance projects led, showing your expertise in navigating and adhering to complex regulatory environments.
  • Specify the percentage increase in firm revenue or client base due to your direct efforts to prove your contribution to business growth and client satisfaction.
  • Report the number of pro bono hours contributed, reflecting your commitment to social responsibility and ethical practice, showcasing your values and character to potential employers.
  • Count the number of legal seminars or training sessions conducted, demonstrating your role in legal education and knowledge sharing.

pro tip icon

Use a cover letter to expand on your accomplishments with a storytelling approach. This is a strategic way to complement your resume. By detailing the context, your actions, and the quantifiable outcomes, you provide concrete evidence of your capabilities. 

How do I write an entry-level attorney resume

For attorneys with no experience, the best advice is to focus on showcasing your potential, versatility, and readiness to contribute to a legal setting from day one. Here are key sections to emphasize:

  • Education: Highlight your law degree, mentioning your law school's name, your GPA (if impressive), and any honors or distinctions (e.g., cum laude). Include relevant coursework or academic projects that demonstrate your expertise.
  • Legal internships: Detail your experiences in internships or legal clinics, focusing on your responsibilities, the skills you developed, and any tangible outcomes or contributions you made.
  • Moot court or mock trial participation: If you participated in such competitions, describe your role, the skills you honed (e.g., public speaking, legal analysis), and any achievements or recognitions.
  • Volunteer work and pro bono projects: Show your commitment to the legal profession and social justice by including any volunteer work or pro bono legal services you've provided. This reflects your work ethic, empathy, and practical experience in legal settings.
  • Certifications and skills: List any additional certifications (e.g., mediation, legal research platforms like Westlaw or LexisNexis) and skills (e.g., bilingual abilities, technological proficiency) that are relevant to the legal field. We talk about this further in the guide.
  • Publications: If you have any legal articles, notes, or comments published in law reviews, journals, or online platforms, list them. This demonstrates your research skills, expertise in specific legal areas, and ability to contribute to legal scholarship.
  • Objective statement: Better suited for junior candidates, it allows employers to see if your career goals match with their mission and values. Learn how to write yours in our article Resume Objective Examples & How-to Guide for 2024.

If you’re an attorney who’s at the start of your career, It's crucial to demonstrate not only your legal knowledge and skills but also your eagerness to learn and contribute to a legal team. Tailoring your resume to highlight the sections above can make a significant difference in showcasing your value to potential employers.

How to list your hard and soft skills on your resume

Attorneys need to be strategic, reflective, and creative in how they present their skills and experiences in a resume. Tailoring it to align closely with the job description, highlighting both their technical legal skills and transferable soft skills, ensures that it appeals to legal and non-legal audiences equally.

Let’s consider the practical skills first. The legal profession is increasingly affected by technology, from legal research tools to AI and automation. Lawyers who aren’t tech-savvy may find themselves at a disadvantage in the job market, so they need to ensure that their resumes reflect current knowledge of specific legal software and skills.

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Best hard skills for your attorney resume

  • Legal research
  • Litigation management
  • Contract drafting and review
  • Compliance and regulatory knowledge
  • Intellectual property law
  • Real estate transactions
  • Legal writing and documentation
  • Corporate law
  • Tax law
  • Environmental law
  • Family law
  • Criminal law
  • Bankruptcy procedures
  • Employment and labor law
  • Immigration law
  • Mediation and arbitration techniques
  • Case management software (e.g., LexisNexis, Westlaw)
  • Document management systems (e.g., Clio, PracticePanther)
  • E-discovery tools (e.g., Relativity, Logikcull)
  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Interpersonal skills are equally important; however, they’re often harder to quantify and present on a resume. The best strategy is to feature your strongest soft skills in various sections of your resume, such as the professional summary or the experience section, where you can demonstrate how these skills have contributed to your successes.

Crafting a resume has more to it than just listing qualifications; it's about telling a compelling story that resonates with potential employers and demonstrates how you can add value to the organization. When choosing which skills to include, make your selection according to those required in each specific job.

How to feature education and certifications on your resume

Discussing education on an attorney’s resume is crucial for several reasons. Of course, it demonstrates your qualifications and expertise. This is the foundation of a lawyer's knowledge and achievements, such as a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school, is essential to show that the attorney has the mandatory legal training.

Additionally, education can signal your dedication to the profession and continued development.

Below are the elements of a good education entry on an attorney's resume:

  • Your degree and field of study: Clearly stating your degree, such as Juris Doctor (JD), Bachelor of Laws (LLB), or Master of Laws (LLM), along with your major or concentration, is crucial. This immediately informs the reader of your foundational legal education and any specialization.
  • The institution you obtained the degree from: The name of the university or law school where you earned your degree is important for credibility and prestige. Law firms and other employers often have preferences for graduates from certain institutions due to the perceived quality of education or alumni networks.
  • Duration of studies, followed by location: Including the years of attendance (e.g., 2018-2021) helps employers quickly understand how recent your education is and where it fits into your overall career timeline.
  • Job-relevant bullet points listing important classes you took: Highlighting specific courses, projects, thesis work, or other academic achievements that are relevant to the job you're applying for can further demonstrate your expertise and interest in a particular legal area.

Juris Doctor (J.D.), cum laude
Stanford Law School
Stanford, CA
  • Focused coursework on Environmental Law, including Environmental Policy and Climate Change Legislation.
  • Participated in the Environmental Law Clinic, providing pro bono legal services related to environmental justice and sustainable development.
  • Completed thesis on the legal frameworks for renewable energy incentives in the United States.

To further communicate your qualifications, specialization, and commitment to law, add your certifications to a separate section in the resume.

Now, onto writing your resume summary which best outlines your professional achievements and knowledge.

How to write your attorney resume summary or objective

A compelling summary statement, positioned directly beneath your resume's header, serves as a concise 3-5 sentence overview of your career. It highlights your most notable achievements, skills, and qualifications, tailored to the specific role and organization you're applying to.

By including relevant keywords from the job description and demonstrating your understanding of the employer's needs, this section not only showcases your suitability for the position but also underscores your proactive approach and keen interest in contributing to the organization's success.

Let’s explore the two examples below.

As a recent graduate from Harvard Law School, I have worked at various law firms, including the Smith & Associates Legal Group, where I handled various legal tasks. Seeking employment in a new legal setting to further develop my career. Experienced in legal research and proficient in Microsoft Office. Looking to leverage my legal education and brief internship experience in a challenging new role.

First of all, this isn’t a summary, it’s an objective statement. The biggest difference between the two, apart from the length, is that objectives are suited for junior candidates, whose motivation is their strongest asset.

Aside from that, the information here fails to mention any specific results and achievements.

Now consider another summary which checks all the boxes.

In my five years as a Criminal Defense Attorney, I've successfully defended over 100 clients, achieving acquittals or favorable settlements in 85% of cases, including several high-profile felonies. My strategic litigation techniques and thorough case preparation have been instrumental in dismissing or reducing charges in more than 60% of the cases under my purview. As a proactive learner and legal strategist, I've completed over 200 hours of continuing legal education, specializing in forensic analysis and digital evidence. My commitment to justice and client advocacy is further demonstrated by volunteering over 500 hours to pro bono services, providing legal defense for underserved communities.

Why it’s good:

  • Quantifiable achievements: The summary showcases specific, measurable accomplishments, such as defending over 100 clients with an 85% success rate, and volunteering over 500 hours to pro bono services. This quantification offers concrete evidence of capability and success.
  • Specialization and continuous learning: Highlighting the completion of 200 hours of continuing legal education in areas like forensic analysis and digital evidence positions the attorney as a specialist with up-to-date expertise.
  • Client-centered advocacy: The summary underlines a strong focus on justice and client advocacy, not only through professional achievements but also through significant pro bono work. This reflects a dedication to the legal profession's ethical standards and a commitment to serving the community, qualities that resonate well with law firms, clients, and the broader legal community.

Additional sections for an attorney's resume

Your resume already includes the standard sections, but to stand out, you may want to dedicate a special place on your resume for any publications you've authored, or presentations and lectures you've given. These are optional, but there's something you shouldn’t miss—your bar passage rates and licensure. Discover how to properly list them below.

Where to put bar admissions and licenses in an attorney resume

For attorneys, positioning bar admissions towards the top of your resume is crucial for demonstrating eligibility and specialization. Showcase them in the header, right after your contact information. This will ensure your qualifications to practice law are one of the first details recruiters see.

Anna Smith
Litigation Attorney, admitted to the Bar in Colorado
+1 555-123-4567
Denver, Colorado

For attorneys with multiple licenses or specializations, it's best to create a dedicated section on your resume specifically for these qualifications. Place it prominently, immediately after your summary, detailing the states or jurisdictions in which you’re authorized to practice. Given that lawyers are typically restricted to practicing in specific states based on their licensure, highlighting this information early in your resume ensures hiring managers can quickly assess your eligibility for legal positions.

Key takeaways

Crafting a standout resume as an attorney requires a strategic approach to ensure it showcases your qualifications and expertise effectively. Here's how to build a resume that not only meets the rigorous standards of the legal industry but also positions you as the ideal candidate:

  • Design an impactful resume tailored to the legal profession's specific demands and successfully navigating ATS filters.
  • Quantify your accomplishments and skills with precise measurables that demonstrate your contributions and your ability to foster professional relationships.
  • Integrate keywords from the job listing into your resume to align with the recruiters' requirements and show you’re a perfect fit for the role.
  • Craft an engaging resume summary that not only showcases your top achievements but also clearly outlines your licensure, areas of specialization, and expertise.

Attorney resume examples

Explore additional attorney resume samples and guides and see what works for your level of experience or role.

By Experience

Entry-Level Attorney

The role of an Entry-Level Attorney is often the starting point in legal professions. Showcasing your potential for growth is essential. Judicious work in internships and volunteering at legal aid society is valuable. Highlight any experience, paid or unpaid, that demonstrates your commitment to the legal profession. Emphasize familiarity with legal research and writing, which are critical skills at this level. Showcase your academic accomplishments, particularly in relation to law. However, don’t simply list your achievements. Show how you can contribute by leveraging these skills, such as 'Assisted in the successful resolution of a case through…', 'Helped reduce workload by…', and so on.
View Entry-Level Attorney Resume

Senior Attorney

Senior Attorney roles focus more on the strategic aspects of law. This mostly emerges from years of Associate Attorney experience with an involved understanding of client management and business strategy. Recognizing relevant expertise and significant victories is critical. Be sure to underscore experience related to management of a team. Highlighting your ability to mentor younger associates and your role in business development can be beneficial. Instead of merely listing achievements, illustrate how they have contributed to your firm's success, such as 'Expanded business acquisition by ~%', 'Negotiated favorable terms in X number of cases', etc.
View Senior Attorney Resume

By Role


The position of Counsel often arises from the litigation background. Courtroom trends strongly influence advocacy positions universally. The tips below will assist you in applying to legal counsel roles more successfully. Familiarity with diverse legal procedures and practices is essential, such as civil, criminal, corporate, etc. Focus on underlining pertinent legal procedure experience and capabilities. Highlight the case studies that portray the breadth of your legal expertise. Comprehensive legal advisory is usually given by those with trial and negotiation skills, try to emphasize these in your resume. Don’t simply list your legal skills. Detail how they benefitted your former clients, for example, 'Cut down litigation costs by…', 'Mitigated the risk of lawsuit after…', etc.
View Counsel Resume

Associate Attorney

The role of an Associate Attorney usually requires a few years of experience in the legal field. Highlighting your expertise in specific areas of law is crucial. Evidence of efficient case management experience is necessary. Try to emphasize this area on your resume. Emphasize your familiarity with legal principles that affect your area of practice. Those legal principles should be highlighted through significant cases in which you were involved. Don’t simply list your legal expertise. Showcase the essence of your skills through tangible results, such as 'Delivered an efficient solution that led to...', 'Streamlined legal processes by implementing…', and so on.
View Associate Attorney Resume

Trademark Attorney

The Trademark Attorney position mainly comes up from intellectual property law. Be sure to highlight experience with trademark laws and regulations. Experience with trademark application, registration, and litigation is important. Cedar this experience strongly in your resume. Emphasize any specific trademark cases you have handled. Show your prowess in dealing with infringements and violations. Instead of merely listing, depict how this expertise helped in the preservation of your client’s legal rights, such as 'Prevented potential infringement by...', or 'Helped secure a trademark for...'
View Trademark Attorney Resume

Litigation Attorney

Litigation Attorney positions rise from the depths of courtrooms and dispute resolution, often involving both civil and criminal cases. Evidence of strong expertise in litigation processes is crucial with inclusive knowledge of laws and legal principles. Pivotal court cases you've worked on should be noticed in your resume. Focus on how your litigation abilities have helped resolve disputes and brought justice. Instead of simply listing your legal competencies, demonstrate how they have contributed to your clients' victories, such as 'Achieved favorable verdicts in X% of cases', or 'Helped mediate and settle N number of disputes'.
View Litigation Attorney Resume

Real Estate Attorney

Real Estate Attorney roles emerge from property law and require specialized knowledge. Be sure to emphasize any experience with property laws, regulations, and practices. Experience in dealing with land and property transactions, contracts, and disputes is necessary. Feature essential cases that underline your real estate law prowess. Show how you helped clients avoid potential pitfalls and secure better deals. Rather than merely listing achievements, present how they have contributed to your client’s success, such as 'Saved client from potentially harmful contract terms', or 'Successfully mediated sale/purchase of property'.
View Real Estate Attorney Resume

Contract Attorney

Contract Attorney roles require prowess in contract law and relationships. Make sure to highlight any experience with contract creation, review, and dispute resolution. Case studies related to previous contracts dealt with can help paint a vivid picture of your skills. Show how your contract drafting skills have helped prevent contract disputes in the past. Rather than merely listing competencies, indicate how they have tangibly benefited your client, such as 'Drafted a contract that mitigated potential risks...' or 'Helped resolve a contractual dispute...'
View Contract Attorney Resume

Civil Litigation Attorney

As a Civil Litigation Attorney, your resume should highlight not only your legal experience, but also the specifics of how this has shaped your approach to litigation. Make sure to include concrete examples of mediation, trials, or arbitration, along with the impact you made on your clients' cases, using an 'experience-action-result' format. Emphasize not only your knowledge of laws, but showcase your negotiation skills, abilities to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. You should also point out any specialization in areas of law or specific case types that you excel in. Finally, make sure to do your research about the firm you are applying to, and if possible, tailor your application to their operational areas.
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Doroteya Vasileva
Teya is a content writer by trade and a person of letters at heart. She holds a degree in English and American Studies and has a passion for anything written. Teya specializes in audience-centric storytelling, mentoring, and presentation skills. She has also authored more than 50 resume guides for Enhancv—proving that even resume writing can be a playground for her talents. Always in search of the perfectly personalized message, Teya takes pride in inspiring others through her writing.
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