Today’s lawyer resumes generally fall into one of two broad categories: the chronological resume and the functional resume. The chronological lawyer resume lists all your experience from the most to the least recent in reverse chronological order. The functional lawyer resume, on the other hand, focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history.
While the chronological resume is the most popular form of resume used by lawyers, the functional lawyer resume can be a good alternative in certain circumstances. Lawyers who may want to consider a functional format include:
That said, unless you are in a situation where the functional lawyer resume makes the most sense (e.g. you are returning to the work for after a long hiatus), you should note that most legal employers and recruiters generally do not favor the functional resume. Most legal employers are accustomed to the chronological resume, and many online application programs do not accept functional resumes.
To be safe, you should try to create both a chronological and functional lawyer resume, present both resumes to colleagues and recruiters in your field, and see which one they feel best reflects your skills and experience. Again, before sending any resume, you need to know your audience, their expectations, and determine what type of resume format they will be most receptive to.
Here is a general template of a functional lawyer resume:
JANE B. DOE
555 Palmer Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 222-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief legal officer of an industrial manufacturing company with over 20 years of practice experience in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, litigation management, and complex commercial contracts. Experience includes attorney training, budget management, and outside counsel oversight.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Legal Department Management
Manufacturing Company, Brooklyn, NY General Counsel, 1999 – Present
Law Firm, New York, NY Associate, 1989 – Present
Fordham School of Law, New York, NY J.D., 1989
New York University, New York, NY B.A., English, 1986
New York (1989)
This is where you can list any publications, presentations, professional organizations, or activities related to your practice.
By: Claire Bellon