Expert Attorney Resume Writing Guide

The path to becoming an attorney is quite rigid and conventional. Going through the same academic institutions, all attorneys have similar educational experiences. It is for this exact reason that the attorney resume is so important. Not only does it prove your capabilities to your potential employer, it also pinpoints your value add in comparison to the plethora of other equally educated candidates. To ensure that your resume highlights the most important aspects of your academic and professional careers, we have compiled a guide of tips to follow.

Resume Tips for Attorney

As mentioned earlier, the legal profession has an extremely rigid set of requirements. To be hired as an attorney, not only do you need the standard legal education, but you also must have experience in your desired specialization. The way that you present your experiences is extremely important, because not every experience is equal. When picking out which positions are worth putting on your resume, you must keep in mind the specific job descriptions, and it is best to create separate versions of your resume for each opening. Even so, there are a few general rules that are important for all of the attorney resumes that you write.

Put the most relevant information at the top of the page.

Apart from contact information, you only need to include your motivation, achievements and relevant work experience. Having previous internship experience is usually very important when applying for an attorney position. However, if you lack formal legal experience, any positions within your desired field (eg. human rights, criminal law, etc) is acceptable, as long as you can speak about the skills you gained through your time with these organizations. As an attorney, you are expected to be extremely knowledgeable about your field, and this must be reflected through your resume.



Focus on what recruiters want to see on your resume. Recruiters don’t want to see you mentioning irrelevant work experience, strange hobbies and … bad grammar.

Choose the right format for your resume.

There are two main formats - chronological and functional. If you have an extensive list of relevant work experience, the chronological format is perfect for you. Use the following order for this format:

  • Contact information
  • Summary (not an Objective)
  • Skills and Competencies
  • Work Experience
  • Education

If you are a recent graduate or are changing careers, you may find the functional format to be more suitable. The sections go as follows:

  • Contact information
  • Summary
  • Skills
  • Achievements
  • Work Experience
  • Education

This format allows you to list your skills and provide achievements to verify them.


Get creative by adding extra sections if they help you demonstrate your competencies (e.g. Awards, Publications).


Be overly creative with naming those sections. Online scanners look for particular words and may not recognize a section named ‘Relevant Background’. It is better to use a more conventional heading like, ‘Work Experience’.

Don’t forget about grammar and formatting.

Double-check your grammar and ask somebody to proofread your resume. Use a simple resume template. Stick to a professional looking font like Times New Roman and keep the font size within 9-12 points.

Attorney Resume Examples

Here are some of the most characteristic templates for Attorneys.

A Managing Attorney resume (7+ years of experience).

Advice to Writing a Resume for Attorney

As an aspiring attorney, you have likely faced many challenges, both in and out of the classroom. However, it is difficult to translate all of this work into a strictly formatted and concise resume. To ensure that this is no longer an obstacle in your career search, we have compiled a list of tips that will easily help you fill out our resume template and highlight your most notable achievements.

Spend some time thoroughly working through your “Summary” section

This is the first thing recruiters will see on your resume. The wording of this section is extremely important, because it has to demonstrate your ability to analyze cases, work with other legal professionals, and be successful in tackling challenges on a daily basis.

As mentioned earlier, attorneys are expected to have the knowledge and expertise to lead and work with other legal professionals within their firms. As a legal professional, a good attorney applicant should be able to prove his or her ability to think critically and see both the details and bigger picture of each case. You will be working with many unique individuals, and your resume should demonstrate your ability to do so. Not only will you be working with the company’s entry-level attorneys, you will likely be reporting to a senior executive as well. As a result, it is recommended that you highlight your years of experience, your ability to engage with others, and most importantly, your comfort with the legal field as a whole. Keep your summary statement short, not more than 5-6 lines but compelling and engaging. Don’t hesitate to use specific legal jargon, as long as it makes logical sense.

Take a look at some of our great summary examples, and advice on how you can improve yours:


7+ years of relevant law practice covering a wide range of litigation and investigations for small/large companies, including civil and corporate matters. Strong sense of ownership and responsibility, and a strong work ethic focused on providing excellent customer service; demonstrated ability to lead a team, meat tight deadlines and resolve problematic issues.


7+ years of experience in law firms.

Make sure that you are prepared to have your resume scanned by company word filters.

If you are submitting your attorney resume online, it will most likely be scanned by an applicant tracking system. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a robot that scans your resume and looks for necessary keywords, work experience and additional requirements if there are any. However, it is still important to use professional terminology and jargon when sending a resume directly to a recruiter, despite it not being relevant to ATS. Using professional vocabulary will demonstrate that you are familiar with this field.


Include a fair number of legal keywords like “preliminary evidence”, “powers of attorney”, “draft dismissals”, etc.


Overuse keywords which serve no purpose in your sentences.

Include all the relevant competencies and skills.

In the “Work Experience”, or “Employment history” section, you can use some action words that are popular among scanning software programs.


Use relevant action words, such as: analyze, assess, assemble, arrange, convene, coordinate, develop, draft, maintain, review, supervise, summarize.


It is also important that you present your skills in the best wording possible.

Here are some essential skills for each attorney.

  • Written and oral advocacy
  • E-Discovery and document review
  • Civil and corporate litigation support

Avoid including vague and informal statements like ‘Talk to clients’ or ‘Read through cases’.


Use your academic credentials as additional evidence of your achievements and experience. If your law school GPA was above 3.0, it will be an impressive addition to your resume.

Here, you can also include your class rankings and latin honours if applicable. In addition, any research you may have done throughout your educational term will improve your employer’s impression of you and your knowledge of the legal field.


Drop your technical experience. In today’s companies, every employee is expected to have technical skills.

Here are a few software skills that every attorney applicant should have, and should highlight in their resume, along with examples of softwares specific to each skill: 

  • Legal research - LexisNexis, Westlaw
  • Billing - Elite, Abacus 
  • Presentations and word processing - Microsoft Office suite and beyond

Although you are free to include any general technological skills you may have, specialist experience working with the abovementioned softwares, or similar programs will be an impressive addition to your resume. Even if your company does not use the same softwares that you have experience with, showing your employer that you have worked with similar platforms will translate to your employer being much more confident in your technical skills and your ability to learn quickly.

Here is one example of the professional experience section on a resume.

  • Managed a continuous caseload in excess of 300 active litigated foreclosure cases and timely drafted all necessary memoranda, motions and discovery requests and responses.
  • Participated in all aspects of civil litigation, including interaction with clients and counsel, mediations, drafting pleadings, including complaints, motions, briefs, proposed final orders/judgments.
  • Used leading litigation technologies to manage clients' cases and to participate in electronic discovery.

One more example:

  • Represented major lenders and servicers in foreclosure and eviction litigation, negotiation and completion of deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, loss mitigation, and resolution of title issues.
  • Examined title to discover any potential issues or defects which that could lead to the unmarketable title at REO, performed necessary title resolution to facilitate timely closings on hundreds of REO properties.
  • Drafted, reviewed and supervised the filing and resolution of thousands of claims with title insurance underwriters to ensure clear and marketable title post-foreclosure.
  • Prosecuted quiet title actions on behalf of lenders or servicers in order to remove clouds from title to bank-owned properties.
  • Managed conveyance/transfer of custody and submission of title evidence packages to governmental agencies; assisted clients with handling repurchases according to FHA/VA and GSE guidelines.

Some tips for writing about your achievements.

To prove that you brought value to the companies you were a part of, it is extremely important that you quantify your work. As an attorney applicant, you must show that you can do more than just trivial administrative tasks, but that the way in which you approach your work will bring real change and improvement to the company.

So, it is not enough to say that you helped your superiors complete tasks during your internships. Instead, you should include the number of cases that you have assisted with, and if possible, the results of the work that you have done. By specifying your key achievements within the workplace, you can show that you are a critical thinker who will excel in any new environment, and will likely bring the same value to your new employer as well. This rule can be applied to any of your achievements.

Here are some examples:

  • Handled negotiations with subordinate lien holders and homeowners associations to obtain a non-judicial release of omitted liens and claims.
  • Managed the team of nine attorneys and 20 paralegals; supervised day-to-day operation of the firm’s Florida Foreclosure platform, reviewed financial models and reports.

ATS keywords to use in Attorney resume

Here are some skills necessary to put into your Attorney Resume.

Settlement letters

pending motion to dismiss


deposition questions

articles of incorporation

articles of mergers


opposing counsel

court proceeding

federal pretrial

foreclosure proceedings

client meetings

corporate resolutions

partnership agreements

due diligence

criminal law

preliminary injunctions

order to produce documents

case law

in-take interviews

legal premise

Quick sets and statistics

More than 70 percent of attorneys in the US provide their services at no charge. This activity is known as pro bono work. THe figure has increased by 10 percent since 2004.

For every 300 people in the United States, there is one attorney. About 25 percent of them are self-employed, and the competition in the profession is extremely harsh. Every year we have around 40 thousand law school graduates.

Technology Skills and Software to Put on Attorney resume

Although most people do not associate the work of an Attorney with software solutions, there are plenty of applications designed to simplify the activities of legal experts. They allow Attorneys focus on the creative aspects of their job while using software solutions to handle its case management aspect. Let’s look at the most popular software tools for Attorneys.

Case management tools:

  • Clio
  • FreshBooks
  • App4Legal
  • CaseFox
  • Time59
  • Lexicata
  • InTouch
  • SmartAdvocate

Document drafting software:

  • Nuance Power PDF Advanced