Resume Template: Legal Assistant

Becoming a legal assistant might be a stepping stone for some on the way to becoming a lawyer, and for others, it might be precisely the position they want to settle down in.
When it comes to being a legal assistant, you will always have your work cut out for you.

Assisting lawyers is no joke and involves a substantial amount of legal knowledge and the ability to think outside the box.

The title of legal assistant attracts a wide variety of people from various work and educational backgrounds, so you will need a resume that can stand up to the competition.

Creating a solid resume comes down to more than just experience and knowledge – selling yourself is an entirely different skill set.

Gaining knowledge of the law firm you are applying to, as well as the review process your resume will be up against, is essential to landing an interview.

If you want to create a legal assistant resume that is going to move you forward in the hiring process, you have come to the right place.

If you’re ready, let’s get started!

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample legal assistant resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best legal assistant resume you possibly can.

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Legal Assistant Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Angelica Barton
[email protected]
1 (505) 555-5500
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Summary Statement:

Legal Assistant: Bilingual legal assistant with over 7 years of legal experience. Skilled in organizing, managing, and prioritizing multiple tasks with limited supervision and tight deadlines. Highly motivated, detail-oriented, well-organized, with a strong work ethic and a proven ability to manage multiple tasks and complete assignments without error.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • PcLaw
  • Odyssey e-filing
  • CM/ECF e-filing
  • MS Word and Excel
  • Spanish/English Fluency
  • Diplomacy
  • Initiative
  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Critical Thinking
  • LexisNexis
  • Problem Solving
  • Verbal and Written Communication

Professional Experience:

Confidential Law Firm | Albuquerque, NM
Legal Assistant | Apr 2016 – Present

  • Follow through all aspects of litigation including affidavits, subpoenas, pleadings, & deposition notices
  • Prepare Discovery drafts and responses for over 5 lawyers
  • Schedule and prepare binders for dispositions utilizing legal research, records review, and investigation
  • Handle scheduling for appointments and consultations effectively decreasing client wait time by 15%

Dotson, Dean, and Larson | Albuquerque, NM
Legal Secretary | Sept 2013 – Apr 2016

  • Met strict deadlines and managed multiple priorities
  • Developed Judge Excusal and update new Judge Assignments
  • Provided clear business-to-business communication

Almanac Technologies | Albuquerque, NM
Office Manager | June 2010 – Aug 2013

  • Filed documents with the court
  • Followed up on orders from the courts
  • Reviewed cases for dismissal and reinstatement

Education/Certifications

Certificate | Paralegal Rasmussen College
Class of 2010

Formatting

When working in the legal field, there is a correct and proper way to present yourself and your case.

Visuals and structure make an impact on whether or not you will be taken seriously and whether the information you put forward will properly grab the attention of your audience.

Formatting must be the first consideration when drafting a resume and while there are many proper formats to choose from, most of the formatting decisions you make will come down to a few fundamental features.

Make sure that you begin writing your legal assistant resume with a straightforward and legible font so that everything appears neat and easy to read.

Split up your information using bullet points and even spacing between lines and sections of your resume to ensure that crucial details will stand out on the page.

When deciding how to order significant accomplishments and previous work experience, it is most common to list things in reverse chronological order.

Hiring managers are estimated to only spend around 6 seconds reviewing each resume they look at, so it is pertinent that you list your most recent and impressive work first.

The format of a resume is a commonly overlooked detail, but it is actually the first detail of your resume that will make an impression on your reader.

While it might be tempting to try and grab attention with visuals and graphics, or even outlandish layouts or fonts, keep in mind that the people reviewing your legal assistant resume are likely extremely busy.

Hiring managers and lawyers want to see the facts and nothing more so that they can quickly make a decision.

Make sure your format serves the purpose of creating a resume that is easy to comprehend, only presents the facts, and that your visuals are intentional and serve a purpose.

Start With Your Resume Summary

A resume summary is the standard “introductory” section of a resume and should include a few key details to describe who you are as a legal assistant.

While this section is meant to grab the attention of your readers, it also should be kept relatively short – only two to three sentences.

When deciding what information to include in this section, consider asking yourself a few questions to start.

“What does a legal assistant do?”

“What skills and abilities should a capable legal assistant have?”

When writing your summary, try to answer these questions with what you include, showing that you understand your role in a law firm and that you are equipped to handle the position.

Yes!

Bilingual legal assistant with over 7 years of legal experience. Skilled in organizing, managing, and prioritizing multiple tasks with limited supervision and tight deadlines. Highly motivated, detail-oriented, and well-organized with a strong work ethic and a proven ability to manage multiple tasks and complete assignments without error.

No!

Strong legal assistant who is organized and can handle many tasks without supervision. Hard-working and strong candidate with the capability to personally handle various tasks quickly and with minimal error.

The “Yes!” example uses a brief amount of words to describe the candidate fully as well as their capabilities in an office environment where they are expected to handle projects accurately and on a deadline.

The “No!” example lists similar information as the first one, without lending any specifics while also listing repetitive details in a way that is dull and unimpactful.

PRO TIP: When deciding what information to include in your resume summary, it is sometimes helpful to work backward. Consider writing your work experience and your skills sections first, and then come back to your summary. Often, it helps to write your resume summary last after you have had time to sort through your qualifications and experience.

Key Accomplishments/ Skills & Qualifications

When a hiring manager reviews a resume, they typically have a set of job requirements in mind that they are looking for a candidate to meet.

Most job requirements can be summed up with the various skills and qualifications a candidate should possess.

When deciding what skills to include in this section of your legal assistant resume, it is important to consider including both hard skills and soft skills.

Hard Skills:

  • Technical skills
  • Job-specific
  • Taught and practiced

Soft Skills:

  • People skills
  • Personality traits
  • Not quantifiable

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • PcLaw
  • Odyssey e-filing
  • CM/ECF e-filing
  • MS Word and Excel
  • Spanish/English Fluency
  • Diplomacy
  • Initiative
  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Critical Thinking
  • LexisNexis
  • Problem Solving
  • Verbal and Written Communication

PRO TIP: When writing your resume, always reference a job posting whenever possible. Make sure to include skills and qualifications in your own resume that are listed in the posting. You always want to ensure that you are the most compatible candidate who will apply.

Writing Your Work Experience

When writing the work experience section of your legal assistant resume, it is important to remember that everything you write should be as related to the job you are applying to as possible.

While each job description will cover details about a previous position, it is imperative to select jobs, as well as duties to discuss, that will show off your skills as a legal assistant.

Depending on your previous work experience, you might have more or less to work with.

If you have not previously held the title of legal assistant, do your best to include jobs that are either related to the legal field or require skills and qualifications similar to the position you want.

While you should typically list your previous work experience in reverse chronological order so that you can cover your most recent work first, always use your best judgment and include the most relevant jobs.

Once you have decided what jobs to discuss on your legal assistant resume, take the time to write three to five bullet points describing each one.

Each bullet point should discuss new and pertinent information to the job you want and begin with a unique power word (action verb) to start it off.

Yes!

Confidential Law Firm | Albuquerque, NM | Legal Assistant | Apr 2016 – Present

  • Follow through all aspects of litigation including affidavits, subpoenas, and pleadings
  • Prepare Discovery drafts and responses for over 5 lawyers
  • Schedule and prepare binders for dispositions utilizing legal research and records review
  • Handle scheduling for appointments effectively decreasing client wait time by 15%

No!

Confidential Law Firm | Albuquerque, NM | Legal Assistant | Apr 2016 – Present

  • Follow all aspects of litigation through to trial
  • Make discovery drafts
  • Schedule and prepare binders for dispositions
  • Scheduling for appointments and consultations

The “Yes!” example lists specific quantifying and qualifying details to describe what the candidate did in their previous role and how they did it.

The “No!” example lists job tasks in a way that is unimpactful due to a lack of pertinent details that would separate them from other candidates.

PRO TIP: Include various quantifying and qualifying details in your job descriptions whenever possible. Including information regarding how you carried out various tasks, what the results were, and how often you completed tasks helps create a more memorable and impactful legal assistant resume.

(If you lack work experience, see below for a helpful section.)

What are bots?

As you work your way through writing your resume, always consider who will be reviewing your resume after you send it in.

While your legal assistant resume will be reviewed by a hiring manager at some point, be aware that your resume might go up against an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), or bot.

The use of bots in the hiring process is increasing rapidly – therefore, it is a safe assumption that your resume will be reviewed by one.

While having your resume reviewed by a bot can feel discouraging for some candidates, keep in mind that most bots follow a relatively simple structure.

When a bot reviews a resume, it searches it for specific keywords to decipher whether or not the resume has “good candidate potential.”

Keywords that bots look for are typically associated with the skills and qualifications necessary to meet the job requirements a company is looking to fill.

When a resume appears to have potential, a bot will flag it for further review by someone in charge of hiring.

However, if your legal assistant resume isn’t flagged, the journey will typically end there.

Due to the increased use of bots in today’s hiring process, some people recommend writing your job descriptions in paragraphs instead of bullet points.

Standard bullet point format:

Dotson, Dean, and Larson | Albuquerque, NM | Legal Secretary | Sept 2013 – Apr 2016

  • Met strict deadlines and managed multiple priorities
  • Developed Judge Excusal and update new Judge Assignments
  • Acquired and reviewed state and federal statutes and proceedings
  • Provided clear business-to-business communication

Paragraph format:

Dotson, Dean, and Larson | Albuquerque, NM | Legal Secretary | Sept 2013 – Apr 2016

Met strict deadlines and managed multiple priorities. Developed Judge Excusal and updated new Judge Assignments. Acquired and reviewed state and federal statutes and proceedings. Provided clear business-to-business communication.

Paragraph format w/ bullet points:

Dotson, Dean, and Larson | Albuquerque, NM | Legal Secretary | Sept 2013 – Apr 2016

Met strict deadlines and managed multiple priorities. Developed Judge Excusal and updated new Judge Assignments. Acquired and reviewed state and federal statutes and proceedings. Provided clear business-to-business communication.

  • Reported directly to 5 lawyers
  • Specialization in Family Law

At Big Interview, we believe it is best to stick with bullet points while being intentional about your use of keywords in order to impress a bot.

When using bullet points, it is still possible to catch the attention of a bot, and the format will be more visually appealing to human reviewers.

Writing Your Education Section

It is common for candidates who apply for legal assistant positions to come from various educational backgrounds.

Regardless of your level of education and relevance, it is necessary to include your highest degree of education.

For each degree, include the full title of the degree, the school you attended, and the year you graduated.

If you have a college degree, it is generally unnecessary to include your high school diploma or equivalent.

You can include your additional certifications or licenses in this section as well, or create a section specifically for those details just below or above your education section.

Example:

Education/Certifications

Bachelor’s Degree | English

The University of New Mexico
Class of 2008

Certificate | Paralegal

Rasmussen College
Class of 2010

Possible Sections to Include

Often, candidates will have additional qualifications or accomplishments to include on their resume that don’t fit within the preexisting resume sections.

You can add in a section or two to accommodate those details if needed.

Some additional sections to consider including are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What if You Don’t Have Experience?

For candidates who are just starting out and don’t have any prior work experience, it can be intimidating to apply for your first position as a legal assistant.

While there might be candidates who have more applicable work experience than you, that doesn’t always mean they are the best person for the job.

So, how do you make a resume that will grab your reader’s attention despite a lack of experience?

Start by moving your education section just below your resume summary and try to add in a few more details to expand on.

Include any impressive honors, awards, specific coursework that applies to legal work, or even a high GPA.

Outside of education, you should try to include any details regarding volunteer work or internships that might help you land your first job role.

Writing a great legal assistant resume comes down to more than just job experience; you just need to play towards your own strengths, and the right fit will come along.

Resume Points to Remember

Simple details

When writing your resume, don’t get hung up in the complicated aspects of it so much that you forget some of the most basic details. Always list your name and contact information at the top of the page in a clear and evident location.

Strong language

Make sure that when you are writing your resume, you are using strong and descriptive language to discuss yourself and your work experience. Power words are strong action verbs that describe how you conduct yourself and complete tasks. Start each bullet point in your job descriptions with a different power word.

Keep it brief

When writing your legal assistant resume, make sure that you don’t repeat yourself and that you are only discussing details that are relevant to the job you are after. Keep your resume to one page in length and never go onto a second page.

Try to Avoid

Lack of specifics

Make sure that you are including quantifying and qualifying details when writing your resume. Including specific information to describe your accomplishments and work experience helps paint a clearer picture of who you are as a candidate.

Rushing it

When you are done writing your resume, you should always take the time to review and revise it. This step is often overlooked or rushed, but it can be the difference between landing an interview or not. Take the time to look your resume over and make sure it reads how you want it to.

“I” and “me”

Don’t use the words “I” and “me” in your resume. While you will be talking about yourself and your own accomplishments, including these words is not standard in resume writing and can sound strange to your readers.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested power words.)

Helpful Tools:

Power Words

  • Administered
  • Founded
  • Adept
  • Formulated
  • Built
  • Implemented
  • Created
  • Improved
  • Consolidated
  • Initiated
  • Coordinated
  • Launched
  • Developed
  • Pioneered
  • Designed
  • Organized

Skills List

Hard Skills Soft Skills
LexisNexis Initiative
PcLaw Organized
Fluent in English/Spanish Critical Thinker
MS Office Problem Solving
Odyssey e-filing Verbal and Written Communication
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