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How to Write a Successful Law School Resume (+Examples)

How do you write a law school resume? 

That’s what you’ll learn today. After all, a law school resume is one of the most underestimated and underused aspects of law school applications. 

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What is a law school resume? 

Your law school resume lists sections that cover your education, legal and other professional experience, and possibly categories including personal interests or community involvement. 

The length depends on your experience. But at the same time, the length of your law school resume hardly matters. 

What matters is how you position your resume. And that’s what you’ll learn today.

But first, let’s find out – is a law school resume the same thing as any other resume? 

How is a law school resume different from other resumes? 

Here’s the thing: 

Law school resumes differ from other resumes. Your audience isn’t an employer, but instead, you’re looking to persuade the admissions committee that you are the applicant they want. 

And law schools want to see a broader and more diverse array of experiences than a job would. 

So there’s a big difference between a law school resume and any other resume. 

But how important are law school resumes, really? Here’s what you need to know. 

Does a law school resume matter? 

When I send back a client’s resume with a million-one edits (only slightly exaggerating), I am often asked “Does my resume matter for law school?” 

After all, you might already have talked about your activities and work experience in your essays. So then, what’s the point of the law school resume? Why do law schools still ask for one?

Your law school resume is your opportunity to share with law schools:

  • How you have spent your time
  • What your qualifications are
  • What kind of interests you have developed

In my opinion, the law school resume is an underused asset.

As I said, it is an opportunity. How you structure your resume, what you decide to include, and how you describe your activities and experiences, are all strategic decisions in crafting your own personal narrative.

A well-written resume will highlight the traits, experiences, and qualifications law schools are looking for—like: 

  • Analytical and writing abilities 
  • Leadership
  • Community engagement
  • Work ethic
  • Self-financing your education
  • Athletic talents
  • Cultural or volunteer activities
  • Language proficiencies
  • Juggling multiple responsibilities
  • Creativity & innovation 

And by having a resume that highlights these aspects of you already, your personal statement can avoid the biggest mistake of being just a glorified cover letter.

So yes, your resume does matter for law schools. 

Now that you know what a law school resume is and why you should focus on writing one that really stands out, let’s move on to how to write a winning resume. 

How do you make your law school resume stand out? 

Now you might be wondering: 

What should be on a law school resume? 

The simplest explanation is this: 

Your resume is often an undervalued strategic part of your application. How you frame your experiences and organize your resume should go to the broader theme that you’ve curated for your entire application. 

Your resume needs to be unique to be an asset – in fact, I spend a lot of time with my clients figuring out how to strategically frame their resumes. 

For instance, if a client wants to go into legal academia, we organize and describe their experiences to highlight the traits and skills they need for that job. 

Overall, your resume will generally contain some combination of these main headers, depending on your background:

  • Education
  • Professional Experience and/or Employment
  • Activities
  • Community Engagement
  • Publications
  • Accomplishments
  • Skills/Interests

Let’s look at each of these below. 


Before we dive into the individual law school resume elements, how long should your resume be? 

Your resume can be one or two pages. Law schools don’t really care about the length, as long as you’re not using a tiny font to keep it to a single page, or adding in unnecessary details to make it two pages. 

A two-page resume is not necessarily better than a one-page resume, and vice versa. 

Also, even if you are recently out of undergrad, if you have a lot of things to include, a two-page resume is fine. 

Similarly, on the flip side, if you’ve been at the same job for the past decade, just because you’ve been out of school for a while, doesn’t mean you have to have a two-page resume.

Next, let’s take a look at what to include under each header. Scroll down to see examples of resumes, but use these sections to fill out your own template. 


Unlike other fields or jobs, law schools (and law in general) care a lot about your education, so put this section first. 

You should include all your degree institutions and certificates, but you do not need to include things like every summer school you attended. 

If you transferred during undergrad, you would want to include both schools. You could include a study abroad institution either separately, or under your undergraduate institution.

You will include schools in reverse chronological order, up until high school. Remember, law schools do not care about high school so don’t include it at all!

You can see how to format this via the samples law school resumes at the end of this post, but you’ll want this section to include the following information for each educational institution:

  • Name of institution, city, state
  • Official name of degree (B.A., B.S., M.S., etc.), date conferred or anticipated
  • Major & minor
  • GPA (only if near or above the law school’s median, if you have a low GPA, don’t include)
  • Honors (such as magna cum laude, thesis title, Dean’s list semesters, honor societies, scholarships/awards received)
  • Activities (this is only if you have so many activities that you don’t have room in the body of your resume. You can include minor activities here that you devoted less time to).

Professional experience and/or employment 

What you include in this section will depend on your background.

If you apply straight from undergrad or within a few years of graduating: 

You can include any jobs or internships you’ve held during (and after) college. (Just not work experience from high school.)

Even if it was just waitressing or working at the local Target, law schools want to see how you spent your time. And they will applaud the fact that you worked while also managing your college courses. 

For work experience while in college, I always suggest including the number of hours you worked per week. You can see one of the samples at the end of this blog post on how to format it. But law schools really value this kind of work ethic and real-world experience.

If you apply after working for a while: 

You can leave some jobs out that don’t necessarily fit within your field. Though generally, you’ll still want to include most jobs in order to account for your time.

Consider creating two separate categories if your work experience seems to be all over the place. For instance, you could have all your internships under “Professional Experience” and your summer jobs working at Old Navy, or your during-college waitressing gig under “Other Employment” or something along those lines.

Similarly, if you’ve had more than one main career, divide up your headers by career topic, rather than strictly going in chronological order. So if you had a career as an educator and then shifted, you might write your headers as “Teaching Experience” and “Biotechnology Experience.”

How to describe your work experience

Even “unglamorous” jobs will boost your application. 

Law schools don’t only care about applicants with “professional” work experience or those with prestigious internships. Applicants who had to support themselves by working at the local coffee shop or scooping ice cream in the summer are seen as applicants who have grit and determination.

Admissions officers also focus mostly on what you did in your role. So don’t talk about the company selling billions of dollars in x widgets, but instead, how you managed an account of x clients by doing xyz. Get as specific as you can about the tasks you performed there.

Instead of saying something like “acquired the skills of managing and leading,” you want to show how you acquired those skills through action descriptors. So you would want to instead write, “Supervised two field canvassers across 20 districts.”

What to include 

Include the following information for this section:

  • Employer name, job title, city, state, dates of employment.
  • One to four bullets describing accomplishments and responsibilities. Start each bullet with an action word (e.g., led, supervised, coordinated, planned).
  • If the purpose of the organization/company isn’t obvious to the admissions officer, explain it.
  • If employment while also in school, include the number of hours worked per week.


Include your college and post-college extracurricular activities, and a description of your involvement and responsibilities for each. Do not include anything from high school (have I said this enough?!).

The point of this section is to demonstrate your interests and passions, and most importantly, to show that you had focus and commitment. If your level of involvement wasn’t enough to have much to say, then include it under your Education section as a single bullet. (See the sample law school resumes below). 

If you were only involved in an activity for a short period of time, you can help it not look like just a resume filler by describing how you participated extensively. You might say something about how you “attended weekly events” or “assisted in planning weekly events for fellow students.”

Community engagement 

You could also title this “Community Service,” or “Volunteer Work” whichever you think most applicable. This can include volunteer activities, involvement in religious organizations, fieldwork for elections, and so on. 

Your community engagement doesn’t have to be something official to be worth including on your resume. If you, on your own, volunteer at the local library every weekend, even if it’s not part of some organization, definitely include that!

If you’ve only volunteered for a single day, like Relay for Life, or if you’ve only done one or two community service events organized by your sports teams or your fraternity/sorority, don’t include that volunteer work as a separate section.

You can put that you did this under your Greek life description (if Greek life even merits its own entry in the body; often I tell clients to just put it under your Activities section as a single bullet). 

If you don’t have any volunteer work, don’t try to exaggerate something. It will only bring attention to the fact that you don’t have much volunteer experience. Let admissions officers instead focus on what you do have, not what you’re missing or what your weaknesses are.


If you did research or wrote a paper that got published, where you were the author or a co-author, include the citation and if the title doesn’t make it obvious what it is about, include a single bullet briefly describing the project.

I’ve also had clients use this section to note podcasts they’ve won awards for, or significant speeches they’ve given.

If you have a series of publications, list them separately like you would on a CV, even if that means your resume has a third page.


Skills and interests typically go in a single section and include just one or two lines. 

For skills, you can include things like language fluency (and listing out your level of competency), musical abilities, computer languages, etc. Do not include things most other applicants will know how to do (e.g., word Office, social media, Adobe, etc.). 

For interests, make these very specific. Don’t just say general (cough, boring) interests like “reading, traveling, cooking.” What specific kind of books do you like to read? What things do you cook? 

Your interests should be ones that you consider significant, and it is ok to demonstrate that you have a specific religious or political affiliation. Think about things that make you unique, memorable, and likable, and include those.

What mistakes should you avoid when creating your law school resume? 

What are the top mistakes you should avoid on your resume? Let’s find out. 


First and foremost, your law school resume isn’t the same thing as a job resume, so skip: 

  • An Objective
  • Summary of Qualifications
  • Relative Coursework 

Your resume also has to be readable. Don’t use a font size that’s smaller than 11 pt or make margins tiny. 

You can narrow margins slightly, but only if you have to. Instead, try to be more concise in your descriptions.

Also, you don’t have to stick with a chronological order of your experiences or activities. You can be creative with how you group your different experiences. 

For instance, I had a client who had two very involved passion areas: education and gender violence. 

So instead of going in chronological order of when she did all the activities, we instead made two separate headers (“Education” and “Gender Violence”). Within each header, we then put her activities in chronological order. This showed her focus and well-built passion, instead of just making it look like she had scattered interests.


Don’t use jargon or acronyms (unless they’re obvious) when describing your roles and responsibilities. You want to make sure that no matter the background of the admissions officer, he/she knows what you’re talking about.

Also, don’t embellish your experiences. Any embellishment will set off an admission officer’s alarm bells and undermine your entire application. 

If you did something above and beyond, by all means, include it. But don’t try and make your filing work as a front desk associate sound like you were the one drafting the files.


A common mistake is to include high school activities and experiences. But law schools do not care about what you did in high school. You are applying for a professional degree now. They want to see you are mature and can thrive without the support of your parents or high school teachers. 

So unless you did something extremely out of the ordinary for your age in high school—like were in the Olympics at age 16 or part of a professional adult symphony, —leave off your high school experiences.

On that same note, don’t include skills every law school applicant will have. Every law school applicant can use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Every law school applicant can type. You don’t need to tell law schools you have these (or other similarly obvious) skills.

Now you know what to include and what not to include in your resume.

But what are some real-world examples of law school resumes? Here you go!

Law school resume examples

These law school resume examples are real examples of some of my clients’ resumes. 

Use what we talked about above to understand why they’re written and formatted the way they are.

  The college senior with a lot of experience


 The applicant with over a decade of professional experience

 The college senior with more minimal experience

Helpful resources

Finally, here are a few helpful resources – top law school resume pages: 

Over to you!

There you have it! Now you know how to create a law school resume. 

What it comes down to is using your resume as an opportunity to build on your application and stand out from the masses.

Want to get a curated strategy for getting into law school, even if you don’t have the perfect GPA, LSAT score, or resume? 

Read more about working with me here. 

Learn more: 

How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

How to Write a Diversity Statement for Law School

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Hope you enjoy this blog post! Want to know how to use the power of your personal statement to get into your dream law school, even if you aren’t the “perfect” applicant?

Mara has helped countless law school applicants get into their dream law schools, even without a perfect GPA, the highest LSAT score, or most unique story. Mara used to be a litigator at one of the top law firms in the world and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School as a prestigious Toll Public Interest Scholar.

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