How to Become a Lawyer
When you are busily gathering and preparing all of the documentation you’ll need to apply to law school, one element might not seem as obvious as the rest. In addition to your LSAT scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statement, you will need a law school resume. In the competitive world of law school admissions, your law school resume is a vital part of the application process to get into the law school of your choice. A law school resume is not exactly the same as a resume you would submit to a potential employer for a job, however.
Differences Between a Law School Resume and a Career Resume
Accomplishments Over Abstract Concepts
In crafting your law school resume, keep your audience in mind – the admissions committee of the law school(s) to which you are applying. Admissions committees will spend more time looking at your law school resume than a potential employer would. They want to get a general sense of who you are and why you would succeed in their law school. All of the skills that you emphasize, your accomplishments, and your academic history should match what law schools are looking for in candidates. Be sure to highlight any special activities you participated in during undergraduate school, such as volunteer opportunities, professional responsibilities, and leadership positions.
When writing your law school resume, you do not want to include the standard “objective” or “summary of qualifications” headings. Your education and your GPA should be given top priority, with any academic honors you have achieved thus far. Only note your most relevant professional experience – not every job you’ve had since high school.
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List your accomplishments, making sure to explain what you did in each role. Rather than saying you worked as a legal assistant, for example, note that you organized a specific event by ordering food and procuring space. Instead of noting that you managed day-to-day office tasks, note that you tracked office supply use through Excel spreadsheets. Be very specific.
Keep the Sections Simple
The sections of your law school resume should have headings such as “Education,” “Experience,” and “Activities.” You could also include “Honors” if you have them, and “Interests.” As noted above, don’t include “Objective” or “Summary” sections – those should be self-evident in a law school resume.
The “Education” section of your law school resume should include degree, major(s), college name and location, and graduation date. You might also list your GPA, although that will be included in your transcript. Don’t include any high school information in your “Education” section as it is not necessary for consideration for law school.
Your resume should give the law school admissions committee a good sense of who you are as a person. There should also be a correlation between your resume and your personal statement. They should complement and reflect each other. Your positive character traits should be showcased, describing how you have displayed them in previous workplaces and situations. This is where your communication skills, commitment to public service and familiarity with the legal profession should all be expressed.
Common Mistakes Made in Creating a Law School Resume
Some common mistakes that you can easily make when crafting your law school resume are:
- Lack of proofreading – don’t turn in a resume with errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. Make sure the resume is formatted professionally as well.
- Making exaggerated claims about yourself – don’t say that you have certain skills without providing evidence of those skills. Be honest and complete.
- Being too modest – if you undersell yourself in your law school resume, you won’t be noticed by the law school admissions committee. It can be hard to compliment yourself, but make sure to adequately do so in your law school resume.
- Being too wordy or using too much jargon – make sure to write your law school resume in plain English, making it easily understandable, without using flowery language that can be hard to grasp.
Length of a Law School Resume
Most career development experts note that a law school resume should be no longer than two pages. Be sure to review your law school’s application guidelines, however, to make sure that they permit resumes of this length – some may require them to be shorter, some longer. The law school resume is much broader than that of a career resume, and should emphasize your accomplishments as well as any significant post-high-school experiences. Take the necessary time to craft a well-rounded law school essay, as it is such an important part of the admissions process and can make the difference between the admissions committee choosing you or the next applicant.
Sample Law School Resume
The following is an example of a law school resume that includes academic experience and relevant employment showing qualities desirable in a law school candidate:
LAW SCHOOL CANDIDATE
Street address, City, State, Zip
UNIVERSITY NAME, City, ST
BA in Criminal Justice, minor in Journalism. Expected completion May 2022
RESEARCH & TEACHING_________________________
NAME OF PROGRAM, City, ST 2018-Present
Teaching Assistant (Fall 2019-Present)
- Provided instruction, grading, and mentoring for students in a course preparing them to volunteer with a program to reduce recidivism among 500 juvenile delinquents.
- Helped professor in grading assignments to determine students’ grades.
Research Assistant (Fall 2018-Fall 2019)
- Provided research and support for publication of an article in a peer-reviewed journal.
- Presented research and data at My Legal Association Conference in City, ST on Date.
- Co-authored another journal publication with professor for next year’s conference.
LAW FIRM, City, ST Summer 2016
- Researched cases, wrote findings summaries, and made presentations to attorneys for cases involving family law.
- Filed correspondence and other case documentation.
- Maintained professional demeanor, strong work ethic, and positive attitude.
LAW FIRM, City, ST Summer 2017
- Filed correspondence and other case documentation for team of attorneys working in criminal defense.
- Answered phone calls and provided reception to clients.
ITALIAN RESTAURANT, City, ST Summer 2015
- Worked long hours serving diverse clientele.
- Demonstrated professionalism, reliability, dedication, and hard work.
ROTARY CLUB, City, ST 2016-Present
Service Committee President
- Organized students to perform community service projects for local Rotary Club.