Law school resume examples are hard to come by, even though they can be a useful resource when trying to create your own. One of the main reasons for this is that applicants often don't realize that there's a difference between a regular work resume, a , and a resume for specific programs such as an or law school resume. In this post, we will go over those differences, show you some top-tier law school resume examples, and give you some tips for creating your own.
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A law school resume is a required document in applications to most and the United States. Applicants often focus on perfecting , figuring out , and reviewing potential , and while these are essential components of the law school application, a strong resume can be just as important. Law schools like to get a sense of who you are as a person and what you've done outside of the classroom, so a good resume can significantly impact your ability to gain admission.
Furthermore, most admission committees use your resume as an initial screening tool. They will start by reviewing your resume before reading your essays or any other application components to find out about your general background, achievements, and overall profile. This helps them decide if your application is worth considering. If you are called for an interview, the admissions board will usually ask questions related to your resume, so it's a good idea to learn with your resume in mind.
When done correctly, your law school resume should showcase your accomplishments, experience, and skills in a way that will stand out to the admissions board.
Most law school applicants already have a resume that they use to apply for work or volunteer positions. It is important to understand that there are key differences between this resume and the one you need to submit with your law school application. Much like the other components of your application, your resume needs to be specifically designed for the reader. In this case, you are addressing the admissions boards of the school you are applying to. You need to keep in mind that the information they're seeking is different from what a potential employer would be interested in.
Both documents should result in a compelling, accurate, and flattering portrayal of your background. However, while your job-seeking resume needs to show your aptitude for a specific line of work, your law school resume should show your readiness for law school and your fit for your chosen institution. A hiring manager typically has a specific list of technical skills or qualifications that they are scanning for on a resume. For example, if they are hiring a graphic designer, they'll be looking at the resume to see how familiar the candidate is with the industry, if they have any experience in graphic design, or if they are trained to use a particular software. In contrast, law school admissions committees will probably spend more time thoroughly reviewing your resume and trying to determine if your background has prepared you for their law school. They will be looking for evidence of the qualities that the school values and focusing on things like your academic achievements and communication skills.
To put that into context, take a look at the two resumes below. Both of these resumes belong to the same person, so they obviously showcase a similar background. That said, you can clearly see that they have chosen to highlight different parts of their experience on the different documents. The first resume is designed for a potential employer. It includes a resume objective or summary at the very top and has a list of specific skills that the employer is likely to be interested in. The second resume is better suited for a law school application as it has more information about the applicant’s academic background, and instead of listing skills, they have highlighted some awards/honors that showcase transferable skills which can be useful in law school.
Would you first like to see a summary of some key tips we discuss later in this article? Check this out:
Now that you have a better idea of what a law school resume is and what it needs to communicate, let’s talk about how you can craft a strong one for yourself:
Your law school resume needs to be clean, professional, concise, and well-organized. The aim is to make it as easy to read as possible. It's important to check the requirements of the law school you are applying to, as they may have specific instructions for your resume. If that is the case, you should make sure to follow those instructions as it shows the admissions board that you take your application seriously and that you can take directions.
Unless otherwise specified, these are our recommendations for the format of your law school resume:
There is no golden resume template to get you into law school. The key to success is making sure that your resume is structured in a way that is easy to follow and read. That means keeping everything neat and separated into clearly labeled sections. Your resume should include the following sections:
- Contact Information
- Work Experience (professional experience and volunteer experience)
- Additional Achievements/Information (Such as awards and honors, special projects, certifications, Skills, Interests/Activities)
Now, let’s go over what needs to be included in each section. It may seem obvious, but the truth is that applicants often make mistakes when it comes to the content of their law school resume. You have to carefully decide what to include and, just as importantly, what you leave out.
1. Contact information
This is, without a doubt, the easiest section on your resume. As suggested by the section's name, you should keep it simple and provide that they need to contact you. We've provided a basic list of information to include below, but of course, you can tweak this list for your specific profile.
You should include the following:
TIP: While including a LinkedIn profile is optional, it does give admissions officers another opportunity to learn more about you, so including it may be to your benefit.
Remember that you are applying for an academic program, so your academic background is very important. You should write your education section in reverse chronological order, meaning that the most recent education should be listed first. If you are still completing a degree, you should still list it with your anticipated date of completion.
For every degree, you should have a new entry. Each one should include the name of the degree, the university you attended, your graduation year, your major and minor (when applicable), your GPA (if it is competitive), any honors or significant achievements, key projects, research work, and meaningful coursework.
That said, if you have been working for a significant number of years and have more work experience, then you can opt to keep these entries brief and make your work experience the focus of your resume. In that case, your education entries should only mention the name of your degree, the institution, the year of graduation, your major and minor, and key achievements that highlight the qualities that your chosen law school values.
3. Work experience
Often, this is where applicants err by trying to cram in too much information. Depending on your level of experience, this section can take up to 3/4 of your resume, but you need to make sure that it only includes relevant information. You should stick to the following:
Write your summaries in bullet points, with each point having one to three lines, and use action verbs such as "improved", "managed" or "modified". Be specific and quantify your achievements whenever possible but remember that you can provide more information about the skills you gained and what you learned in your personal statement. You can look at law school to get a better idea of how to do that.
As with the education section, you should write it in reverse chronological order and divide it into different subsections. For example, you can include a subcategory for research experience or volunteer experience, depending on your background.
4. Additional achievements and information
This is the section where you get to highlight some of the things that do not fit into the other categories that we've discussed. This includes significant extracurricular achievements, relevant skills and certifications, awards and honors, associations/clubs with leadership roles, and interests. If you only have something to add in one of these subcategories, then you can make that your main category and list the relevant information.
You should only include high-stake accomplishments and information that is relevant to your application, which showcases abilities or qualities that would make you a stronger candidate for law school. For example, if you are a chess club member, you don't need to add it to your resume because it doesn't add much to it. On the other hand, if you created a chess club and led members to an important tournament, you should mention that because it shows your leadership potential. To make your resume more enticing, you can separate the information into different subcategories, as done in the example below:
ADDITIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND INFORMATION:
Honors and awards
Doe Senior Society - March 20xx
- One of thirty members of the Class of 20xx to be inducted into University of X's oldest Honor Society
Research project Smith Scholarship Finalist – March 20xx
Founding member of New City Chess Tournament (NCCT) - Oct 20xx to present
- Recruited chess players in xx community
- Organized and supervised an annual tournament for over 36 players
Do you need to prepare a law school personal statement as well as your resume? This video provides helpful examples:
Be consistent with the rest of your application:
Your resume is just one component of your law school application. It is supposed to give the admissions board an overview of your academic and professional background, which your essays and other application documents will then explain in detail. The easiest way to achieve this is to be honest, avoid exaggerations and thoroughly proofread all of your documents.
For example, suppose you’ve chosen to write a in which you mention that you’ve spent a significant amount of time volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters to help children who come from the same socioeconomic background as you, but then your resume shows that you were only a volunteer for one month. In that case, your word choice may cause the admissions board to be confused or, even worse, suspicious. It is important to pay attention to the details and stick to telling the facts in a flattering way rather than trying to embellish your experience.
Focus on actions and results
Instead of listing tasks and functional responsibilities as you would for a job-seeking resume, you should try to focus on actions and quantifiable results. You want your resume to highlight your skills and the best way to do that is to use action verbs such as ‘created’, ‘led’, or ‘performed’. Whenever possible, you should also mention measurable results and long-term achievements as they are more memorable and help put things into context for the reader. The aim is to show the admissions board the impact that your achievements had and qualities that will serve you well in law school.
For example, instead of saying 'Was responsible for converting paper filing system into a digital system,' you should say 'Overhauled office paper filing system and digitized it, thus increasing efficiency.' The second sentence tells more of a story than the first one, highlighting your ability to take a project, see it through and effect change.
Skip the technical jargon
When you are applying for a job, you want your potential employer to know that you are knowledgeable about your industry. You also know the likelihood of them understanding your line of work's acronyms and technical jargon is relatively high. In that case, you should feel free to use certain technical words. However, on your law school resume, you should avoid all jargon that is not legal.
Keep in mind that the admissions board will be looking at the content of your resume and your communication skills. Suppose they have to look up every other word or acronym on your resume because it's particular to the industry you were working in at the time. That experience will not only be unpleasant for them, but it will also tell them that you do not know how to communicate effectively.
Prioritize adult education and work experience
We're not saying that your high school accomplishments are unimportant or that you shouldn't mention them at all but this isn’t a , so try to keep these to a minimum. Your law school resume should only mention significant experiences and prestigious accomplishments from high school. Like if you achieved a distinctive honor like being valedictorian, for example.
On the other hand, things like your high school GPA or involvement in the chess club do not need to be mentioned. Law schools are more interested in what you've done and who you are as an adult. For example, a 3.7 GPA from one of the will be more impressive than a 4.0 GPA in high school.
After you've finished the final draft of your law school resume, you should step away from it and come back to check it with fresh eyes. Make sure that there are no grammatical errors or typos, that your format is consistent throughout, and that it follows the school guidelines (if any). You can also invest in a service to maximize your chances of having a solid resume and getting into law school.
1. What is a law school resume?
A law school resume is a short document that provides a snapshot of the applicant's academic and professional background. It is an integral part of most law school applications.
2. Can I use my regular work resume for my law school application?
We do not recommend that you do this. Your work resume is supposed to grab an employer's attention, and they're looking for specific technical skills that show them that you can perform in a particular line of work. On the other hand, your law school resume is part of an application to an academic program, which means that the admissions board will be looking for a different set of transferable skills to see if you are ready for law school.
3. Are law school resumes an essential part of law school applications?
In short, yes! Law school resumes can be used as a screening document for some admissions committees. Furthermore, they give you a chance to showcase your background in a way you may not be able to in the other documents that comprise your application.
4. How long does my law school resume need to be?
Ideally, one page long, but this will depend on your experience level. You should try not to have more than two pages.
5. What should my law school resume include?
Your resume should give the admissions board of your chosen school an overview of your academic and professional background. Therefore, it should consist of your contact information, education, work experience, and any relevant additional information (Such as awards and honors, special projects, certifications, Skills, Interests/Activities)
6. Should I include a link to my LinkedIn on my law school resume?
It's completely optional. That said, you should keep in mind that the aim is for the admissions board to get to know you, so if your LinkedIn has additional information that can strengthen your candidacy, then you should include it.
7. How can I create a law school resume with no work experience?
You should list any volunteering, internships, and campus leadership roles. Furthermore, you can expand your education section by including relevant coursework or projects.
8. Should I include my High School education on my law school resume?
You can include some information about your high school experience but keep this short because law schools are far more interested in the adult version of you. You should only include your high school's name, your graduation year, and significant achievements.