College seems tough enough for most people. For others, trying to get into law school is a bigger challenge after just going through an undergrad degree. Halfway through law school, you’ll worry about getting accepted for an internship in the district’s, if not the country’s, most reputable firms. Then you’ll have the bar exams to worry about next, that you’ll barely have time to breathe right after graduation. As if one step after another part of the journey is completed, it seems like every time you pass one phase of the process, there’s another one waiting because you have one major challenge left to conquer and that’s getting hired. You may also see lawyer templates.
You have competition and getting noticed, let alone getting hired by the one you’re determined to work in, is one difficult test. For law school graduates, the market doesn’t look great and it has been like that for almost a decade.
Free Criminal Lawyer Resume Template
Free Lawyer Resume Template
School of Law CV
Sample Law CV
Lawyer CV Guide
Tips in Developing Your Lawyer CV
The National Association for Law Placement reported last year that there were only 87.6 % of graduates who were employed straight out of law school. Furthermore, getting hired doesn’t necessarily mean earning enough money for representing clients because lawyers, especially young ones in practice have a lower salary rate since the mid 90’s.
The legal job market for new lawyers doesn’t only mean making a good impression in an interview but also stand out from a crowd. It goes without saying that dressing professionally is one of them and also showing up on time.
Also, you may think your CV is just part of a lengthy application process, and, in a way it is, but it’s also the key document which will help you score the perfect job so it’s important to spend your time and effort getting it right. Here is a helpful guide of what your CV should include, but you also have to remember that the content will be absolutely down to you. Before you make a draft, consider the following points:
1. Make sure all the basics are included
Format. It’s better if your CV is formatted using Microsoft Word. You can put it into a readable font style so it makes it easier for formatting and then keep a PDF copy once you have it finalized. Make sure you properly check grammar and spelling, edit, and read it.
- Education. No matter how stellar your credentials are, this is still very important. You may not realize it, but this is an area which both the recruitment and the partners dedicate time to carefully study. This is because your clients have high expectations. After all, you’re not just any professional. You’re someone who graduated from law school and should at least have A-levels, degree grades and LPC grade that would make them consider hiring you. If you don’t put your results on the CV, you’re giving an impression that you’re hiding something. If you earned your degree abroad, it is helpful to state the equivalent U.S grades and it’s better if you can put the name of your schools in bold letters as well as the years you have attended them for emphasis.
- Awards. Don’t ever forget that your CV gives you the best opportunity to sell your capabilities and yourself. It also helps a law firm decide whether or not you should be worthy of an interview. Include any awards you have won or received academically or professionally, if you have any, from your university or from any organization. This is no time to be modest about your skills and talents, especially if you want the job. Remember that you have competition who are probably listing down all minor and major awards they can remember off the top of their heads and you shouldn’t do anything different from that.
- Languages. There are times when lawyers forget that law firms, like other companies are also businesses. They have to make money, and in this modern times, international work and beyond border matters are part of what a lawyer deals with. If you are well equipped with the languages whether fluent or native, you should definitely highlight them in your CV as they can also give you more leverage.
- Pre-training contract work experience. Sometimes, even your experience as a paralegal in some pretty decent firm doesn’t really add any value to your credentials, as well as low profile pro bono cases you may have taken and won. It’s okay to feel unjustly unrecognized for that, but let’s face it. With the amount of competition and expectations for excellence among lawyers, you still have to put down any certain skills you may have gained which is relevant to the work you’re doing and your career in general. Add that to listing down your leadership skills, then you may have a better shot.
- Social media. Your interactions on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and your social media presence as a whole, may just count for something. Surprise, surprise. Then again, with the advent of the internet and the social network you’ll find that more and more law firms, just like other businesses are keeping up with feeds and these pages. It is an added value to include your blogs and social media pages on your document, especially if they’re linked with your LinkedIn account and especially if they’re relevant to your job and law experience.
You should put your job experience in order of reverse chronology and there should be no exceptions. Assuming you’re currently employed in your first job will mean it counts as your first real job experience. As consultants and the company go through your CV, they will see a catalogue of your career, going as far back to your training experience. It will be better if you use bullet points in listing these down so that you can make sure that your job experience is easier to read through and see for the reader. Try avoiding lengthy paragraphs as much as possible.
3. Spend time on presentation
By nature, lawyers should be well-versed with the English language, and to be fair, most lawyers are. As such, it is imperative that you dedicate a good amount of time in ensuring that your CV, no matter how filled with legalese it is, makes sense and is written professionally and formatted properly. Again, use make use of bullet points and put 1.25 spacing between lines.
4. Tailor it to the specific role
If the job vacancy is specified, then obviously, it’s worth customizing your CV to ensure you put emphasis on skills that are relevant and required as well as experience which is defined on the job specification.
5. Partner points
Generally, partner CVs are similar to those of associates except they should include the client basics located near the top of your document. This also means you have to make a business plan outline eventually but the CV should already provide a general idea of your experience and your relationships with past and present clients.
It’s also worth stating your references. Usually, you can highlight a certain partner or someone from the recruitment team from the current firm you’re working for as well as the one prior to that, if you have one. It’s standard for your character and job references to be taken up towards the end of the hiring process so the names you give will not yet be contacted until after you have already bid the company goodbye.
7. Treat each firm individually
If you’re serious about doing employment law, you don’t just apply to any and every firm with an employment department looking for a new member. You also need too consider the number of people currently working in that team. For example, if there’s one partner with one junior on the side, there’s a good chance that you’re not gonna earn yourself a training position there, so let it go. Learn to look for firms that have enough areas of activity in the same area you are interested to develop in. In this case, doing enough research about firms that interests you would be very helpful. You see, when a candidate doesn’t think about the area they want to practice in, it shows.
Law School CV
Standard Curriculum Vitae
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Printable Curriculam Vitae
8. Don’t lose confidence
Remember that law is very competitive,and if you have made it this far, despite your current challenges, you should still be grateful because many others don’t even make it through law school, so give yourself the credit you’re due. You may have friends who have been offered contracts already while you’re still waiting for a firm to consider you for an interview, but you have to keep trying. Don’t limit your search for employment to glossy firm brochures and try reflecting why you have been rejected. There are also firms who are hiring all your round and that’s probably what you should look for. If there’s an opportunity for feedback and constructive criticism, by all means, take it and plan your action. If they still don’t think you’re worth the role, then move on. That’s not your firm but there definitely is one for you, just waiting to be found.