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5 Counsel Resume Examples & Guide...

5 Counsel Resume Examples & Guide for 2024

Your counsel resume must highlight your legal expertise and case management abilities. It should present a clear narrative of your professional trajectory within the legal field. Ensure that your resume showcases your proficiency in research and your successful track record in negotiations or court proceedings. This will demonstrate to potential employers both your depth of knowledge and practical experience.

All resume examples in this guide

As a counsel, articulating your complex case management skills and legal expertise in a concise resume format can be particularly challenging. Our guide provides tailored strategies and examples to effectively showcase your legal accomplishments and distill your experiences into a powerful resume.

This expert guide on writing your counsel resume provides you with leading recruitment insight, industry examples, and so much more. Here are some of the things we'll show you:
  • Which sections do you need to include in your resume to meet recruiters' requirements;
  • How to write your counsel resume experience section - even if you have don't have little to no work experience;
  • Real-life professional examples to guide you how to write the most important counsel resume sections;
  • Adding even more sections so your counsel resume stands out with professionalism and your personality.

We've also selected some of the best (and most relevant) resume guides for the counsel role you're applying for:

Optimize your counsel resume format to pass the recruiters' assessment

You may be wondering just how much time you need to spend on designing your counsel resume.

What recruiters are looking for is systematised content that is clear and coherent. Thus, your counsel resume needs to answer requirements and why you're the best candidate for the role from the get-go.

      Often, a clear layout consists of:
  • Sorting your experience in the reverse chronological order - starting with your most recent and relevant roles. This is an excellent choice for more experienced professionals;
  • Writing your contact information (e.g. personal phone number and email address) and your portfolio or LinkedIn link in your counsel resume header. If you're wondering to include a photo or not, always make sure that it's appropriate for the country you're applying in;
  • Use the basic, most important counsel resume sections - your experience, education, summary, etc. Use your resume's real estate wisely to tell a compelling, professional story and match job description's keywords;
  • Don't go overboard with the length of your resume. One page is absolutely fine if you happen to have under a decade of relevant experience.

Are you still wondering if you should submit your counsel resume in PDF or Word format ? The PDF has a few more advantages, as it doesn't change the format and the text can't be altered upon application.

Format matters most when your counsel resume is assessed by the Applicant Tracker System (or the ATS).

The ATS parses resumes, looking for specific keywords, skills or experience that match the job description.

P.S. We recently did a study on how the ATS works and were able to demystify three of the biggest misconceptions about how it assesses candidate resumes.

To pass the ATS evaluation, select any of the serif or sans-serif fonts. Popular choices that would help your counsel resume stand out include Raleway, Exo 2, Montserrat, etc.

Most traditionalists go for Arial or Times New Roman, but it's often the case that many candidates choose these fonts, and you'd thus lose points on the uniqueness front.

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If the certificate you've obtained is especially vital for the industry or company, include it as part of your name within the resume headline.

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Essential sections that should make up your counsel resume include:

  • The header - with your contact details (e.g. email and telephone number), link to your portfolio, and headline
  • The summary (or objective) - to spotlight the peaks of your professional career, so far
  • The experience section - with up to six bullets per role to detail specific outcomes
  • The skills list - to provide a healthy mix between your personal and professional talents
  • The education and certification - showing your most relevant degrees and certificates to the counsel role
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What recruiters want to see on your resume:

  • Demonstrated Experience in Legal Practice Areas (e.g., intellectual property, corporate law, litigation)
  • Legal Research and Analytical Skills
  • Professional Licenses (e.g., Bar admission in relevant jurisdictions)
  • Communication Skills and Legal Writing Ability
  • Record of Successful Case Management and Client Outcomes

Quick guide to your counsel resume experience section

After deciding on the format of your resume, it's time to organize your experience within the dedicated section.

It's common for counsel professionals to be confused in this part of the process, as they may have too much or little expertise.

Follow the general rules of thumb to be successful when writing this part of your resume:

  • The perfect number of bullets you should have under each experience item is no more than six;
  • Select not merely your responsibilities, but the most noteworthy achievements for each role that match the job requirements;
  • List any certificates or technical expertise you've gained on the job and how they've helped you progress as a professional;
  • Carefully select the power verbs to go along with each bullet to avoid generic ones like "managed" and instead substitute those with the actuality of your particular responsibility;
  • Integrate valuable keywords from the job advert in the form of achievements under each role you list.

If you're on the search for further advice on how to write your counsel experience section, get some ideas from real-world professional resumes:

Work Experience
Chief Legal Counsel
International Tech Solutions, Inc.
  • Led the legal department in drafting and negotiating over 100 commercial contracts with international partners, enhancing company’s global market presence by 20%
  • Designed and implemented a comprehensive compliance program that reduced legal risks by 15% and ensured adherence to international regulations in 10+ countries
  • Provided strategic legal counsel to the executive team during a $50M merger, ensuring seamless integration of the acquired entity and protection of intellectual assets
Work Experience
Senior Corporate Counsel
Greenfield Realty Group
  • Orchestrated the successful defense of the company in high-stakes patent litigation, saving the company upwards of $10M in potential damages
  • Streamlined internal legal processes, increasing department efficiency by 30% through the adoption of cutting-edge legal technology solutions
  • Facilitated the expansion of the company’s real estate portfolio by overseeing due diligence and negotiation for property acquisitions valued at $75M
Work Experience
Data Privacy Counsel
Elevate Digital Solutions
  • Spearheaded the revision of the company's privacy policies in accordance with the GDPR, reducing the risk of non-compliance fines by over $3M
  • Advised on intellectual property matters, resulting in the successful registration of 15 trademarks, significantly strengthening the company's brand portfolio
  • Managed a team of junior lawyers and paralegals, improving the turnaround time for contract reviews by 40% and thus expediting deal closures
Work Experience
Corporate Counsel for Joint Ventures
Quantum Industrial Partners
  • Played a pivotal role in negotiating a major cross-border joint venture, contributing to an increase in company revenue of $25M in the first year
  • Revamped the compliance training program, achieving a 98% employee certification rate and reducing legal violations by 25%
  • Acted as the chief advisor on employment law issues, successfully navigating the company through a complex class-action lawsuit without financial penalties
Work Experience
Corporate Legal Advisor
Innovatech Startups Inc.
  • Advised on the legal structuring of a technology start-up's funding series, drawing in venture capital investments totaling $20M
  • Formulated a risk mitigation strategy for the company’s expansion into three new markets, effectively managing legal risks and operational compliance
  • Assisted in the creation of a robust patent portfolio, resulting in a 50% increase in the company’s valuation during the acquisition discussions
Work Experience
Antitrust and Litigation Counsel
Meridian Enterprises Corp.
  • Developed and executed a litigation strategy that successfully defended the company in a federal antitrust lawsuit, preserving its market share and reputation
  • Negotiated and secured favorable settlements in 90% of cases, which saved the company an approximate $5M in potential legal costs
  • Led the legal analysis and due diligence for a strategic partnership with a top industry player, contributing to a yearly revenue increase of $15M
Work Experience
Regulatory Compliance Counsel
Fintech Payment Solutions LLC
  • Advised senior management on regulatory compliance issues across 25 states, enhancing the company's compliance rate to 99.7%
  • Directed and oversaw the company's legal response to a federal investigation, preventing any criminal charges or fines
  • Coordinated with cross-functional teams to establish the company's first international office in Asia, navigating complex foreign laws and regulations
Work Experience
Energy and Environment Legal Counsel
Global Renewables Inc.
  • Facilitated a multinational corporation in structuring a $100M+ renewable energy project, ensuring all transactions complied with environmental laws and policies
  • Collaborated with the business development team to secure two government contracts worth $60M, providing the company a foothold in the public sector market
  • Crafted and negotiated intellectual property licensing agreements that increased the company’s licensing revenue by 35% within a year

Quantifying impact on your resume

  • Include the number of cases you have successfully litigated to showcase your effectiveness in court.
  • List the percentage of case settlements that favored your client to demonstrate negotiation skills.
  • Mention the total amount of damages or settlements won for your clients to highlight financial impact.
  • Quantify the size of the legal teams you've managed to show leadership and team coordination ability.
  • State the exact number of pro bono hours completed to emphasize your commitment to social responsibility.
  • Specify the decrease in case resolution time achieved through your strategy implementation to illustrate efficiency improvement.
  • Detail the increase in client retention rate due to your legal advice and client relationship management.
  • Present the number of published articles or seminars led to establish thought leadership and expertise in your field.

Action verbs for your counsel resume

At Enhancv, we went through countless counsel resumes and uncovered which are the unique words people use to spice up their resumes. Forget about buzzwords - use these power words instead to make your experience section shine.
Read The Guide

No relevant experience - what to feature instead

Suppose you're new to the job market or considering a switch in industry or niche. In such cases, it's common to have limited standard professional experience. However, this isn't a cause for concern. You can still craft an impressive counsel resume by emphasizing other sections, showing why you're a great fit for the role:

  • Emphasize your educational background and extracurricular activities to demonstrate your industry knowledge;
  • Replace the typical experience section with internships or temporary jobs where you've gained relevant skills and expertise;
  • Highlight your unique skill set, encompassing both technological and personal abilities;
  • Showcase transferable skills acquired throughout your life and work experiences so far.
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Highlight any significant extracurricular activities that demonstrate valuable skills or leadership.

Shining a light on your counsel hard skills and soft skills

To win recruiters over, you must really have a breadth of skill set presented and supported within your counsel resume.

On hiring managers' checklists, you'd initially discover hard or technical skills. Those are the technology (and software) that help you perform on the job. Hard skills are easy to quantify via your education, certificates, and on-the-job success.

Another main criterion recruiters are always assessing your counsel resume on is soft skills. That is your ability to communicate, adapt, and grow in new environments. Soft skills are a bit harder to measure, as they are gained both thanks to your personal and professional experience.

Showcase you have the ideal skill set for the role by:

  • Dedicating both a skills box (for your technical capabilities) and an achievements or strengths section (to detail your personal skills).
  • When listing your skills, be specific about your hard skills (name the precise technology you're able to use) and soft skills (aim to always demonstrate what the outcomes were).
  • Avoid listing overused cliches in the skills section (e.g. Microsoft Office and Communication), unless they're otherwise specified as prominent for the role.
  • Select up to ten skills which should be defined via various sections in your resume skills sidebar (e.g. a technical skills box, industry expertise box with sliders, strengths section with bullets).

Spice up your resume with leading technical and people skills, that'd help you get noticed by recruiters.

Top skills for your counsel resume:

Legal Research

Legal Writing


Corporate Law

Contract Negotiation

Compliance Management

Intellectual Property

Mergers & Acquisitions

Public Speaking

Risk Management


Analytical Thinking

Problem Solving

Interpersonal Communication


Attention to Detail




Time Management


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Listing your relevant degrees or certificates on your counsel resume is a win-win situation. Not only does it hint at your technical capabilities in the industry, but an array of soft skills, like perseverance, adaptability, and motivation.

Including your education and certification on your counsel resume

The significance of your resume education section is paramount. It can show your diverse talents and experiences that are relevnt to the position.

  • Incorporate educational qualifications, mentioning the institution and period.
  • If you're on your academic journey, pinpoint your expected completion date.
  • Opt for leaving out degrees that don't serve the job's purpose.
  • Provide an overview of your educational experiences if it spotlights your milestones.

When recruiting for counsel roles, candidates with relevant education and certification definitely stand out amongst competitors.

Showcase your academic background in the best way possible by:

  • Listing all degrees and certifications that are part of the candidate qualifications in the counsel advert
  • Including any extra certificates, if they make sense to your application
  • Not going over the top in details - the certificate name, institution, and dates are enough
  • If you're in the process of obtaining a degree or certificate that's relevant to the job, include your expected graduation/certification dates

The education and certification sections help back up your application with years of experience in the industry or niche.

Select some of the most cutting-edge or applicable credentials for your next counsel application from our list:

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The top 5 certifications for your counsel resume:

  1. Certified Legal Manager (CLM) - Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
  2. Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) - International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
  3. Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) - Compliance Certification Board (CCB)
  4. Legal Lean Sigma and Project Management White Belt Certification (LLSPM) - Legal Lean Sigma Institute
  5. Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) - NALS...the association for legal professionals
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Highlight any significant extracurricular activities that demonstrate valuable skills or leadership.

Practical guide to your counsel resume summary or objective

First off, should you include a summary or objective on your counsel resume?

We definitely recommend you choose the:

Both the resume summary and objective should set expectations for recruiters as to what your career highlights are.

These introductory paragraphs (that are no more than five sentences long) should help you answer why you're the best candidate for the job.

Industry-wide best practices pinpoint that the counsel resume summaries and objectives follow the structures of these samples:

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Resume summaries for a counsel job

  • Seasoned Senior Counsel with over 15 years of robust experience in corporate litigation and intellectual property law, adept at navigating the legal intricacies of the tech industry. Proven track record of winning high-stakes patent infringement cases and effectively managing a dynamic portfolio of global legal matters for a Silicon Valley firm.
  • Accomplished attorney with a decade's expertise in commercial real estate, skilled in contract negotiation, dispute resolution, and regulatory compliance. Excelled in leading cross-border transactions and managing due diligence processes for a major New York legal practice, significantly reducing risk exposure.
  • Experienced project manager eager to transition into the legal sector, bringing over five years of excellence in overseeing complex projects, coupled with recent training in corporate law principles, eager to apply a strong strategic mindset and problem-solving skills within a challenging legal environment.
  • Dedicated healthcare professional pivoting to legal counsel, armed with a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Health Law and hands-on experience with healthcare regulations, patient advocacy, and data privacy. Driven by a passion for augmenting healthcare delivery through sound legal advice and policy development.
  • Aspiring legal professional with a fresh LL.B. degree, aiming to leverage extensive academic training in contract law and a committed work ethic to contribute to a legal team. Driven by a dedication to deliver justice and uphold the law, ready to embark on a challenging journey to solidify courtroom and case preparation foundations.
  • Recent law school graduate intent on using excellent research and analytical abilities honed through rigorous internships at top-tier law firms. Eager to utilize strong organizational skills and a dedication to fostering ethical legal practice in defending and advocating for clients in a respected legal organization.

Other counsel resume sections to support your expertise and skills

Recruiters are always on the lookout for that counsel candidate who brings about even more value to the role.

This can be either via their personality or additional accreditations they have across the industry.

Add to your resume any of the four sections that fit your profile:

  • Projects for your most impressive, cutting-edge work;
  • Awards or recognitions that matter the most;
  • Publications further building up your professional portfolio and accreditations;
  • Hobbies and interests to feature the literature you read, how you spend your time outside of work, and other personality traits you deem may help you stand out .

Key takeaways

  • The layout of your resume should take into consideration your professional background while integrating vital sections and design elements;
  • Highlight your most pertinent achievements for the role all through different sections;
  • Be very specific when selecting your certifications, hard skills, and soft skills to showcase the best of your talents;
  • Include within the top one-third of your counsel resume a header and summary to help recruiters understand your experience and allocate your contact details. A skills box is optional, but it will help you align your expertise with the role;
  • Detail the full extent of your professional experience with specific bullets that focus on tasks, actions, and outcomes.
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