Drafting your Legal CV

When it comes to the drafting of legal CVs the belief that they must be no more than two pages long is a myth. A legal CV should be anything between three to four pages in most cases. I say, ‘in most cases’ because I would not generally expect someone just out of their LPC course to be able to stretch a CV out to three pages.

Once you have set out your name, address and contact details you can add a short profile to give the reader a brief synopsis of who you are. You do not however, have to add a short profile, it is very much a subjective thing as to whether you include one or not. Thereafter you should complete the CV in the following order:

Education

Be sure to put the most recent achievements first. Make sure you put the dates that you were at each educational establishment. Do not forget to include grades, particularly for those of you who did the LPC or CPE/Graduate Diploma in Law. All too often candidates forget to mention that they attained a distinction or commendation.

If a qualified solicitor, make sure you add the date you were admitted to the Roll. Check solicitors online if you are unsure. There is no need to list what specific subjects you did at LPC and individual grades. It tends to clutter the CV. Likewise, with ‘A’Levels and GCSEs simple mention how many subjects and what grades. So for example, 3 ‘A’ Levels A,B,C and 8 GCSE’s 3xA*, 5xB.

Work Experience

Again, most recent job first. Dates to the left of the page and the name of the employer to the right. Mention what your position is/was such as, Partner, Associate, Paralegal etc. If you have work experience which does not have anything to do with the law mention it separately under non-legal work experience, as the skills will potentially be relevant.

When discussing each job, be sure to mention the size of the department/team that you were in and what your duties are/were. If you are a personal injury lawyer, mention the size of your caseload, what proportion was pre-issue/litigated, was it mostly fast track, multi-track, your billing over the last couple of financial years and, of course, what type of personal injury work you were handling. It is the same principle for any area of the law, make sure you list the types of work you have done.

Do not forget to mention any networking and business development work you do, and whether you have been responsible for bringing in new clients. Perhaps you have a following. In respect of the latter, think about what the annual value could potentially be.

Always give at least two to three examples of interesting cases you have dealt with at that particular employer. These examples are essentially summaries of the case/transaction which should be no more than three to four lines each, mentioning what your involvement was and the outcome.

Memberships

Do not forget to list what groups you are a member of such as APIL, Resolution, STEP etc.

Hobbies and Languages

Feel free to mention anything you think might be relevant.

Referees

You should have at least two referees. Consultants always take this information off your CV (along with home address and phone numbers) as references are nearly always taken up by the prospective employer, in which case you usually name them on the acceptance form received from the prospective employer.

Whenever a CV is forwarded to a recruitment consultant, they should always comment on the CV. It is constructive criticism and it is because they want your CV to represent you as best as it can. A badly drafted CV will do you no justice.

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