As an attorney resume writer (and former practicing attorney for 12 years), I spend a lot of time educating the legal community on just how different the legal resume is now in the digital age. The methods we were taught in law school are very outdated (from the font, to the formatting, to the laundry list of bullet points). Writing a legal resume to land a top corporate counsel role is even tougher. The job search market for corporate counsels is more competitive and harder to break into than traditional law firm environments. There needs to be a careful delineation between real world application of law and the nuances of the different skills in law firm roles vs. corporate counsel roles, including transactional work vs. litigation. This is where a legal resume writer can step in to help market you in a more strategic way.
If you’re an attorney, your legal resume should be written by a former practicing attorney who specializes (and is certified) in writing legal resumes.
Writing a legal resume requires a different strategy than a standard executive resume. Lawyers think differently and apply those skills differently. When it comes to considering whether to hire a legal resume writing service or legal resume writer for help with your resume and next legal career opportunity, it’s best to partner with someone who understands and has experienced the competitive nature of the profession from a first-hand perspective so they can advise you professionally on the best route for making a career transition out of law or making the leap from one practice area to the next. A former practicing attorney who is a trained legal resume writer will understand just how the profession works as well as how to leverage the combination of your legal skills, your J.D., relevant honors, and key representative engagements and transactions.
A Legal Resume Must Highlight the Right Legal Skills
Legal resume writing will focus on a wide range of skills. These are an incredible trajectory of skills not easily found in other professions: deep analysis and logical reasoning, ability to discern fact from opinion, understanding how to apply evidence to facts, applying logic to complex situations to make circumstantial arguments, and thinking fast on your feet. In addition, attorneys have a multi-faceted skill set that can compete with and mirror business executives, thereby allowing a lot of attorneys to fall into the scope of hybrid roles that pivot between business and law. Lawyers are deemed to be better leaders because of their ability to use reason with logic as well as distill large volumes of information, see the big picture, but focus in on the important angle with clarity.
An informative article I have written on this topic can be found in the HuffPost: The 3 Reasons Why My Law Degree Has Made Me a Better Entrepreneur
In this article, I discuss how my law degree and the real world application of being a practicing attorney for more than a decade helped me to excel at being a better writer, and leveraging an actionable personal brand for myself and my own clients.
Making the Move from Law Firm Lawyer to Corporate Counsel
Thinking about going from law firm to in-house? It’s important to recognize that most corporate counsels maintain executive leadership in companies. In fact, quite often, 75% of their work is devoted to business leadership, strategy, and operations while only 25% is concentrated on legal advisory. Therefore, it’s important to understand how business truly intersects with law. Here is my Above the Law article which discusses how to make the transition from law firm lawyer to corporate counsel successfully.
For example, I served as an Assistant General Counsel for a smaller-held insurance company and an in-house counsel to a Fortune 200 insurance company. As a result, I understand how the two roles can offer similar skill facets, but offer different focuses on business risk and leadership value. The corporate governance side of in-house work depends on whether or not you are partnering with BODs and stakeholders or you are acting as staff counsel and just maintaining a high-volume caseload. This type of information can be drawn out in a branding strategy session with an attorney resume writer.
Here’s a helpful blog post I’ve written from the perspective of being an attorney regarding how to write a legal resume and build your brand to give you the best legal resume possible: How to Write a Legal Resume and Build Your Brand.
In this blog post, I go in-depth about the difference between law firm attorneys and corporate counsels, why consulting with an attorney resume writer can benefit you in understanding your brand, how to broaden your network of legal contacts, and why you should not rely on job search boards. There is so much value out there today to be made in personalized relationships.
Check out these these published articles I have also written in the HuffPost about the practice of law and making a career transition in and outside of law: