How to Write the Ideal Attorney Resume


Whether you’re eager to make a lateral move or just thinking about your next career steps, you’ve probably heard all kinds of resume advice. At Hire an Esquire, we see many attorney resumes (and I’m talking thousands), which makes us the experts in analyzing and improving them. We know you’ve wondered: What makes one resume better than countless others? What do employers looks for in an attorney resume? Here are some of the factors that make attorney resumes stand out:

(1) Demonstrated Practice Area Expertise: While it’s helpful to have a wide range of experience for contract roles, companies hiring for permanent roles often look for a candidate with a focus in one particular practice area. Versatility is important, but demonstrating strong experience in the practice area most relevant to the role you’re applying is key.

This also demonstrates a level of maturity and commitment to your career. The logic is that candidates who are focused in one practice area are less likely to lose interest and move on to a new role elsewhere. Make sure that 60% of your resume is focused on the accomplishments in your main practice area, and 40% on your general skills and successes overall.

(2) Strong Soft-Skills: Every employee, no matter the industry, must possess a strong set of soft skills in order to succeed in the workplace. Emotional intelligence can be tricky to showcase on paper, but emphasizing these three abilities can help employers appreciate your skills.

  1. Communication Skills: In the legal industry, communication is key and you should use your resume to highlight successes that emphasize your ability to translate ideas. As the resume-wisdom implores, “thou shalt always use action verbs when describing your accomplishments.” In the context of describing your communication skills, use words like “negotiated”, “corresponded”, “drafted”, and “composed”, in lieu of the more common “wrote” and “handled.” Check out more powerful verbs here.

  2. Interpersonal/Teamwork Skills: It’s hard enough making an impression during your interview, but demonstratingthe ability to establish rapport with your superiors and colleagues is even harder to do on paper. Showcase a previous success that you shared with a team on which you were an integral player, and how it had a positive impact on the firm.

  3. Leadership: Does your resume clearly communicate that you have the ability to take on roles with more responsibilities? As an attorney, you not only want to highlight your accomplishments but also your strengths as an individual. Showing your leaderships skills can lead to opportunities to move up in the future. Read up on the 22 qualities that make a leader to see if you have what it takes.

(3) Academic Credentials: There’s no denying that your academic history will impact your candidacy and competitiveness for plum legal jobs. And while top law firms look for candidates from top schools, significant hands-on experience and a proven book of business are also powerful multipliers in the hiring equation.


We at Hire an Esquire understand that job hunting is very stressful, and continue to strive to make it more streamlined and effortless with every innovation to our process and platform.

Starting October 1st, Hire an Esquire will be providing complimentary resume review from our Recruiting Team to attorneys and legal-focused non-attorneys. Upload your resume (even if you’re not an HaE member) and we’ll review it for you and provide suggestions to improve your resume, within 72 hours - no strings attached.  Send your resume NOW to

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