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29 September 2021

Tips for writing your legal CV

Whether you are looking to make your first career move into the legal sector, or are already working in law, we have some top tips to help when it comes to compiling that all-important legal CV.

They say first impressions count and, when it comes to applying for jobs, often that first impression is made in writing – through your CV. Whilst many general tips for CV writing are of course still useful when it comes to applying for roles within the legal sector, there are also some specific areas to be aware of in order to help boost your chances of landing that dream job in law.

Law is a notoriously competitive field, and an average CV simply won’t cut it – you need to communicate that wow factor from the offset. The intention should be to create a profile that any employer would find desirable, that also accurately identifies your individual qualities to clearly demonstrate that you as an individual will be a good cultural fit within that particular company/firm. All being well, a strong CV puts you in a position of power, where you can choose to be selective about the roles you are applying to and, ultimately, the offers you accept.


1. Tailor your CV to the particular area of law you are entering into

Different areas of law require varying skillsets. For example, if you are working in criminal defence the ability to deconstruct an argument is absolutely essential, as well as high levels of confidence and strong advocacy skills – which are also quite prominent when working within other ‘common law’ areas, such as family or personal injury work. Comparatively, the most methodically minded may be drawn to the very step-by-step logic of property practice.

There is likely good reason you are drawn to the particular area of law you are passionate about, and a good CV will clearly communicate the compatible skills and strengths you possess that make the role you are applying for a particularly good match.


2. If you already work within law, make sure to reference your previous cases

Your CV really is the place for you to shine and, if you have a successful track record of cases to your name, now is the time to really blow your own trumpet. Whilst not every role will require a great deal of previous experience, it certainly cannot hurt your chances to demonstrate that you can prove you have both the knowledge and the track record to be successful in your new venture.


3. If you don’t currently work within law, identify your transferable skills and perhaps try to obtain some relevant experience

3. If you don’t currently work within law, identify your transferable skills and perhaps try to obtain some relevant experience
As above, not every role will require you have an abundance of prior experience. Some form of involvement in the field will of course demonstrate a sincere interest in the area, as well as some valuable insight – though this may not always be as obvious as having worked in the exact role before. An artist or musician may bring a particularly valuable and unique perspective to the world of intellectual property law, for example.

If gaining experience alongside your current work or study is not an option for you, take some time to assess the transferable skills you already possess or can demonstrate through your employment to date that could be beneficial in your new role. Perhaps you have experience in customer service under challenging situations, and can therefore show your penchant for client liaison. Or perhaps you can demonstrate a background in thoroughly researching policy and building a case within a different industry.

Find out more about taking the non-law degree route into a career in law.


4. Check out the profiles of other Barristers, Solicitors, Lawyers, and Paralegals online

Whilst not always providing a direct example of a CV, chambers and firm websites provide a wealth of information when it comes to showing what professional profile those already within the legal sector like to present.

It is important to strike the balance between standing out in a crowd, and also ensuring you tick the essential boxes recruiters within a firm will be looking for. Checking out your would-be peers can therefore offer valuable insight into the sorts of information the employer will expect to be presented with straight off the bat. It may also help you to identify a potential skills gap within the current work force – for example, if you are applying for a role in a conveyancing firm and notice that no other employee is also dual qualified in probate but you are, you can highlight the increased commercial opportunity and range of client services you would bring to the table.

Overall, your CV should be clear, up to date, and an accurate reflection of you as a professional individual. Further detail can also be provided if given the opportunity to attach a cover letter, which is always advisable. Remember; keep it short, sweet, and sincere!

Contact Law Training Centre today to discuss your options and how we can help you get to where you want to be!
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