In this competitive legal market, employers are bombarded with resumes. In most cases, they do no have the time or manpower to give resumes more than a cursory two-minute glance to make an initial determination. What does this mean for your resume? The formatting on your lawyer resume should be impeccable to give the reader an immediate positive impression. You should also consider submitting a single page lawyer resume; shortening the length of your resume could give you a better chance of being read and considered.
The Benefits of the Single Page Lawyer Resume
When limiting the length of your lawyer resume to one page, you are forced to provide a precise and concise document that focuses specifically on the skills and experience a potential employer is looking for. In other words, you have to make the document more targeted, get rid of old, irrelevant, or extraneous information that could be cluttering your resume. The result could mean a more impactful resume.
If you are a recent graduate, a law student, or a lawyer who has only worked for one employer, limiting your lawyer resume to one page may be an easy task. If on the other hand you are an experienced lawyer, or one that has made several transitions, limiting your lawyer resume to one page may be a tall order. In that case, you may need an additional page. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of the "single page" lawyer resume format if you capture the most relevant information on the first page of your resume.
In other words, you should aim to include your education and entire work history - or most relevant work history - onto the first page of your lawyer resume. To know what is "most relevant" to include on that first page of your resume, assume that a potential employer never sees the second page. This will allow you to determine whether the information included is sufficient to provide an employer with a good understanding of your skills and qualifications.
Constructing the Single Page Lawyer Resume
Your single page lawyer resume should be highly organized to include the following sections:
Name and contact information. You should include you name, mailing address, at least one telephone number, and a private email address. If you have a good LinkedIn profile, you may want to include it there as well (See "Optimizing Contact Information On Your Legal Resume" for more information about using your contact information effectively).
Education. You should list the schools of higher education you attended in reverse chronological order. One of the most common questions asked by lawyers who are writing their legal resumes is whether to include their legal education at the top or bottom of the resume. If you have been out of law school three years or less, you should consider placing your education at the top of your resume (See "Top 20 Legal Resume Writing Tips" for more information on this topic).
Work History. Here you should list all of the jobs you’ve held, and try to limit them to law-related positions, unless you are a recent graduate of law student. Begin with the full legal name of the company, law firm or organization you have worked for, provide your full title, as well as your dates of employment, and the city and state where you practiced. Finally, provide a short description of the worked you performed, your responsibilities, and various accomplishments. Use active verbs to set off each sentence, keep them very brief and to the point, and list them with bullets if you have enough space (See "Using Active Verbs in Your Legal Resume").
Bar Admission. Your lawyer resume should always include a separate bar admission section. If you are short on space you can include professional associations in this section as well. Be sure to include the year of admission for each jurisdiction you were admitted to.
Information that you can easily omit on your resume is "references available upon request" citations, and personal hobbies (e.g. reading, knitting, gardening etc.). Because the modern resume is a marketing tool, it’s best to keep personal interests, hobbies, and other non-essential materials for the interview process. If you are keen on listing organizations, affiliations, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities on your legal resume, only list those that are relevant to your practice as a legal professional, or that are directly related to your targeted job. Again, if it’s not related to your practice or the position, do not include it.
Single Page Lawyer Resume Sample
Here is a single page lawyer resume sample that contains all of the features we’ve mentioned:
JOHN B. DOE
555 N. Westminster Road
New York, NY 20021
Latham & Watkins LLP, New York, NY
Litigation Associate, September 2003 - Present Summer
Associate, Summer 2002
Represented clients on a wide variety of litigation matters including securities, breach of contract, unfair business practices, product liability, professional malpractice, and aviation.
Handled arbitration matters involving claims of securities fraud, unsuitability, unauthorized trading, deceptive trade practices, breach of fiduciary duties, and breach of contract on behalf major financial institutions and brokers.
Assisted in government contract matters relating to municipal law, contract and procurement, transportation, and infrastructure development.
New York Supreme Court, Nassau County, NY
Intern for the Honorable Phillip B. Connor, January - March 2003
Conducted legal research on a variety of substantive and procedural issues with an emphasis on commercial litigation matters, drafted memoranda, and attended oral arguments.
United States District Court, Northern District of New York, Albany, NY
Intern for the Honorable Geoffrey E. Peterson, June - August 2001
Performed legal research, reviewed and evaluated pleadings and motions, and assisted Judge in drafting opinions and bench memoranda.
Cornell University School of Law, Ithaca, NY
Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, May 2003
Notes and Comments Editor, Cornell Law Review
New York University, New York, NY
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in History, May 1999
Vice-President, Asian-American Student Association
New York (2003)
By: Karen Anderson