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Resume Tips for J.D. Graduates

Resume Tips for J.D. Graduates

A law degree, or even passing the State Bar Exam, is not a guarantee of employment. Many qualified people graduate from law schools in the United States each year, and while academics are a part of the equation when larger firms and private practices are hiring new lawyers, a good, well-done resume that catches the eye and highlights your accomplishments can make a huge difference.

We at Abraham Lincoln University, an online distance learning law school issuing Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees and preparing students for the California State Bar Exam, want the best for our graduates. Here are some resume tips for law school grads entering the work force.

General Guidelines

Resumes for many professions are similar, but those of recent law school graduates should follow some simple guidelines:

  • Length: With a resume, it is essential that the most important information be quickly presented. If you have a professional career before law school, your resume may go beyond one page, but if you are a recent law school graduate without other professional experience, it is recommended that everything fit on one page.
  • Appearance: Organization and visual appeal are important. Use headings, make sure each section is separated from the others, and use a professional font (Times New Roman, Bookman Old Style, Garamond, Arial, Verdana, Helvetica) in a legible size (between 10-12 points). Leave room in the margins and make sure the design is clean.
  • Paper: Legal resumes should be reproduced on quality bond paper in white, pale gray, or cream.
  • Proofreading: Your resume should contain no typos or grammatical errors.

Resume Sections

Every resume is made up of a few different sections highlighting the information that potential employers value.

  • Heading: Include full name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Education: For recent graduates, this should be the first major heading. List your law school, month and year of graduation, and GPA if strong. Then include other graduate and undergraduate education in reverse chronological order.
  • Experience: Use topical headings which allow you to present the most important information first. Remember to keep it brief but informative—potential employers don’t need a play-by-play of your entire life, just what’s relevant to your career in law. A logical order for legal job applicants is as follows:
    1. Legal Experience
    2. Law-related Experience
    3. Additional Professional Experience
    4. Other Experience
  • Other Accomplishments/Qualifications: List here any abilities or accomplishments that may set you apart. Here is where you include ability to speak multiple languages, publications you may have written for, etc.
  • Activities/Volunteer Experience
  • Interests/Hobbies: It is not necessary to include this, but if there are things you would like to highlight that might show favorable traits to an employer (indications of leadership ability, etc.)
  • References: Names, addresses and telephone numbers of references can be listed here, or, if you do not have room, furnished on a second page. Law professors are generally good references, as well as previous employers.

Preparing for a career in law begins with the proper education. Visit the main site for more information on the law school program at Abraham Lincoln University.


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