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How to use this law CV example:
This two page CV template comes complete with example information for a lawyer at an early stage of their career. You can easily add further sections as required.
The following information should be included:
Name and contact details
It is usual to include:
- First name, last name
- Any professional title (e.g. in the example, ‘GCILEx’)
- Phone number
- Email address
In addition, some people include their Twitter and LinkedIn handles. Twitter is a great platform to show that you’re connected with the legal community and involved in discussion over current legal developments. LinkedIn is a great way to expand on your CV, providing further detail and showcasing recommendations. Click here to find out more about writing a LinkedIn profile to complement your CV.
Personal statement or objective
This should be a few lines introducing yourself and explaining why you’re a great fit for the role.
- If you have a specialism (such as family law), state it here.
- If you’re qualified, you should give your professional title and also state how many years’ experience you have ‘PQE’.
- If you’re working towards a qualification or admission to a professional body, explain how long you have left to go.
- If you’re applying to work in a different area of law to your current specialism, try to tie in any relevant training or experience that you have.
“I am a highly capable conveyancing solicitor with 3 years PQE.”
“I am a newly-qualified solicitor with three years prior experience as a conveyancing fee earner.”
“I am a Solicitor with 3 years PQE in family law. However, I am looking to move into Private Client, having completed a range of private client work for my family clients. I also completed the Private Client Module on the LPC, achieving a grade of 87.”
In the UK it is typical to give your work history in reverse chronological order. Provide the most detail for roles that are directly relevant to the position you’re applying for. Include other irrelevant roles so that the employer can see there are no employment gaps, but offer less detail. Law firms are typically interested in the following information:
- What type of work did you do? i.e. rather than simply saying ‘Private Client’, explain the range of work you covered such as Wills, Probate, Court of Protection Work, Trusts and Tax.
- What type of clients did you have? For example, in Private Client departments (depending on the type of law firm), employers will be interested to hear if you had any high net worth (HNW) clients or directors.
- What kind of case load did you have? Or alternatively (depending on how your firm charges) what billable hours did you achieve? You don’t have to give this information but if you have any impressive stats to share, these can be very powerful on a law CV.
- Did you do your own admin? Lawyers who are willing and able to do their own admin work can save the firm the cost of hiring support staff.
- Were you responsible for the file from start to finish? Some firms split the work up, giving simpler tasks that are more administrative in nature to junior lawyers / paralegals / admin staff. If your firm did this, explain which aspects of the file you managed.
- Are you tech savvy? Law firms may be interested to hear if you have used a PMS (practice management system) before, or that you can order searches online yourself.
- Would you bring clients with you? For certain areas of law such as Private Client, it’s not uncommon for clients to want to stick with the lawyer. You need to check your employment contract carefully on this point – it may for example prohibit you ‘canvassing’ the clients (i.e. suggesting they come to you).
- Have you supervised staff? Senior lawyers may lead a department or supervise paralegals or support staff, and this is worth mentioning.
- Have you written legal articles previously? Being able to write for the firm’s website or other legal publications in the firm’s name is a valuable skill.
The above are just some examples of the details that legal employers are interested in.
Qualifications should be listed highest to lowest, per our law CV example. For each, offer the name of the qualification, the grade achieved, the date it was attained and the awarding institution.
You can include formal training in the qualifications section if you want to.
The skills section that we’ve included in our law CV example is optional (you can rename or remove any of the sections). However, it’s a good place to point out your strengths and make reference to anything specifically requested in the job advert.
The interests section helps to give the employer a better idea of what you are like as a person. It may reassure them that you’ll fit well into their firm’s culture.
Interests can also be used to demonstrate that you’re conscious of your own health and fitness – for example, if you visit the gym regularly.
The references section is optional as these will be requested if you’re offered a job anyway. You can either:
- Leave the section off altogether
- Write ‘references available on request’
- Give the name and contact details of two professional references, one of which should be your current employer