Law CV: How to Write a Legal CV in the UK (10+ Examples)

Make a strong case by working to an exemplary law CV example & legal CV templates, plus plenty of great advice that's not charged for in 6-minute increments.

Many of the legal professions are intensely competitive and to get into the best firm, company or programme, your law CV needs to be razor sharp and polished to perfection. But knowing how to write a legal CV that gets you interviews is only part of the challenge. Finding a good cultural fit is another.

 

A law firm’s culture plays a huge part in how it feels like to work there day in and day out. To find a good fit, you need to have a legal CV that’s better than most (so you can afford to be picky) and a CV that does a good job of describing you as a legal professional (so that the firm has all the facts too).

 

This article will show you how to not only beat out the competition but also how to paint an accurate (if glowing) picture of yourself as a legal professional. You’ll find legal CV examples and many UK-specific templates and pieces of advice to get your legal CV looking at least as good as the one below.

 

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Law CV example 

 

Bailey Russell

P: 077 4444 4444

E: bailey.russell@lcmail.co.uk

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/baileyrussell

 

Personal statement

 

Innovative and dynamic associate solicitor with 4+ years’ experience (including 2 years PQE) working in Intellectual Property Law. Experienced in a mixture of IP rights at contentious, non-contentious and strategic levels. Recently drove legal work in relation to commercial arrangements with third-party suppliers and strategic partners (including for the provision of digital marketing, contact management solutions, pricing engines, payment gateways, cloud services and EUC services) resulting in the negotiation of 11 new contracts worth a projected £2.3 million. Looking for an opportunity to leverage experience, know-how and contacts in helping D3 Legal Limited continue its expansion into the IP space.

 

Work experience

 

Associate Solicitor

Jarndyce and Jarndyce, London

October 2018—present

  • Partnered with business representatives and technology teams to contribute to RFPs and to review, draft, and negotiate appropriate contracts with key suppliers, reducing total overheads by 12%.
  • Reviewed existing supplier relationships and identified and negotiated required changes to ensure they are fit for purpose going forward, with the end result being a supplier pool that is 100% fit for purpose and requires 15% less resource input.
  • Identified and mitigated legal and regulatory risks when assisting seven businesses in managing residual risk in accordance with their regulatory licences and company policies.
  • Analysed the implications of relevant case law, legislation, and regulatory matters, and worked with businesses to adopt revised ways of working to ensure ongoing compliance, helping them to collectively avoid over 20 potential infringements.

 

Trainee Solicitor

Patterson and Poole Solicitors, London

October 2016—September 2018

  • Assisted with over 45 disputes regarding intellectual property rights in the UK.
  • Drew up contracts and other legal documents for clients, explained the documents in such a way that 9 out of 10 clients were satisfied with their understanding of the documents at first read-through.
  • Conducted high-level and detailed trademark clearance searches and providing advice to clients potentially avoiding £10,000,000 or more in needless claims.
  • Prepared draft trademark opposition and cancellation forms, over 95% of which were accepted without the need for revision.
  • Managed service delivery and legal administrative support for clients, from engagement to instruction, finding ways to increase overall efficiency by 5–10%.

 

Education

 

Legal Practice Course, 2015–2016

Pearson College London, London

 

LLB (Hons) Law (2:1), 2012–2015

University of Kent, Kent

 

Skills

 

  • Organisation: managed deadlines, recorded information and kept track of parallel workflows through the meticulous use of a day-to-day diary system.
  • Teamwork: built strong working relationships with the wider legal team, the IT team, Procurement and the Transformation Office.
  • Communication: advised clients on intellectual property rights in the UK, including copyright, trademarks, industrial design rights, patents, etc.
  • Creative problem solving: aside from finding creative solutions to strictly legal impasses, implemented a range of original and more efficient workflows.
  • Research and analysis: comprehensively researched legal backgrounds for contentious and non-contentious IP cases, regularly analysed documentation on trademark and design filing in the UK, EU and internationally.
  • ICT: proficient in the use of cloud-based document and database systems as well as various office suites (LibreOffice, Microsoft Office, etc.).

 

Languages

 

  • French – bilingual native speaker

 

Community work

 

  • Regular volunteer at Helping Hands Legal Services, London
  • Regular contributor of pro bono legal opinions to drug rehabilitation NGO reConnect

 

Now you know what a perfect CV looks like. Here’s how to write your own law CV:

 

1. Start your legal CV with a compelling personal statement

 

Trust and first impressions are very important in all forms of legal work. When sending out your law CV, your personal statement is where you’ll make that first impression.

 

A good personal statement for a legal CV will do three things well:

  • Introduce you as a legal professional
  • Show the employer what you have to offer
  • Describe your goals, which just happen to fall in line with the employer’s.

 

You’ll have to write a new personal statement for each and every new job application. Luckily, there’s formula of sorts that you can use to make the process easier without compromising on the quality of your personal statement. Simply answer each of these questions using a total of only 3–4 sentences:

  • What kind of legal professional are you and what’s your experience?
  • What industries, specialisations or niches have you been working in?
  • What’s your most impressive/relevant achievement?
  • What’s your most unique achievement? (Optional)
  • What are you hoping to be able to achieve in this job? (Always for the employer, not yourself).

 

Your answers to the above questions should take up a combined 50–150 words, no more.

 

Your application is likely to be processed by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) of one kind or another before a person lays eyes on it. Be sure to mention the firm or company to which you’re applying by name as well as the name of the position. Substitute synonyms to better mirror the keywords used in the advert.

 

Your personal statement will come first in your law CV but it’s best to leave writing it until last. You’ll be able to do a much better job of it once you’ve at least prepared all your job descriptions. So keep it in the back of your mind for now and be on the lookout for impressive achievements.

 

Legal CV personal statement example

 

Innovative and dynamic associate solicitor with 4+ years’ experience (including 2 years PQE) working in Intellectual Property Law. Experienced in a mixture of IP rights at contentious, non-contentious and strategic levels. Recently drove legal work in relation to commercial arrangements with third-party suppliers and strategic partners (including for the provision of digital marketing, contact management solutions, pricing engines, payment gateways, cloud services and EUC services) resulting in the negotiation of 11 new contracts worth a projected £2.3 million. Looking for an opportunity to leverage experience, know-how and contacts in helping D3 Legal Limited continue its expansion into the IP space.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

2. Include the right kind of job descriptions in your legal CV

 

Writing a good law CV is not about making your duties seem as glamorous as possible but rather showing that you’re good at your job. A legal secretary or legal assistant can produce just as impressive a job description as someone with the letters QC after their name. It’s measurable outcomes that count.

 

Use a chronological format for your law CV. This means starting from your current or most recent job descriptions and working your way back from there. This is what employers are most used to seeing (and generally prefer to see) and it’s what’s more easily parsed by an ATS.

 

First, create a subheading for each job description using this template:

 

[Job Title]

[Company Name, Location]

[Dates of Employment]

 

Now fill each job description with up to six bullet points. Don’t just list your responsibilities, instead focus on your achievements. An achievement boils down to a description of an action you took at work and the benefits that your action brought to your employer.

 

Use accomplishment statements to help structure your bullet points. Try to quantify each and every benefit that flowed from your actions. If you can’t do this for a particular achievement, then at least quantify the scale of your achievements, e.g. ‘drafted over 50 reports’ reads a lot better than ‘drafted reports’.

 

If you’re writing a legal CV with no experience, then follow the above method, but focus on any internships, placement work, and volunteer work you’ve done. If you have no experience at all, then consider writing a student CV instead.

 

Law CV job description

 

Associate Solicitor

Jarndyce and Jarndyce, London

October 2018—present

  • Partnered with business representatives and technology teams to contribute to RFPs and to review, draft, and negotiate appropriate contracts with key suppliers, reducing total overheads by 12%.
  • Reviewed existing supplier relationships and identified and negotiated required changes to ensure they are fit for purpose going forward, with the end result being a supplier pool that is 100% fit for purpose and requires 15% less resource input.
  • Identified and mitigated legal and regulatory risks when assisting seven businesses in managing residual risk in accordance with their regulatory licences and company policies.
  • Analysed the implications of relevant case law, legislation, and regulatory matters, and worked with businesses to adopt revised ways of working to ensure ongoing compliance, helping them to collectively avoid over 20 potential infringements.

 

Trainee Solicitor

Patterson and Poole Solicitors, London

October 2016—September 2018

  • Assisted with over 45 disputes regarding intellectual property rights in the UK.
  • Drew up contracts and other legal documents for clients, explained the documents in such a way that 9 out of 10 clients were satisfied with their understanding of the documents at first read-through.
  • Conducted high-level and detailed trade mark clearance searches and providing advice to clients potentially avoiding £10,000,000 or more in needless claims.
  • Prepared draft trade mark opposition and cancellation forms, over 95% of which were accepted without the need for revision.
  • Managed service delivery and legal administrative support for clients, from engagement to instruction, finding ways to increase overall efficiency by 5–10%.

 

3. Make sure your legal CV has a clear & concise education section

 

Of the many legal professions out there, most if not all can be entered into without a law degree (or indeed any university degree)—and this includes the roles of solicitor and barrister. That’s not to say that qualifications don’t matter, of course. So set your law CV education section out clearly and concisely.

 

Stay with a reverse-chronological order, so that your highest achieved qualifications will naturally come first. Include your GDL, BPTC (bar course) and/or LPC here, since they are all indispensable to your practising law. Use the following template for both university degrees and these other qualifications:

 

[Degree Type] [Degree Name](Degree Class), [Years Attended]

[Institution Name], [Institution Location]

 

If you’re still studying, then include an expected graduation date. If you don’t have a university degree, then use the following templates to detail your high school education:

 

A-levels: [Subject Name 1], [Subject Name 2], [Subject Name 3]

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

[n] GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

where n is the number of GCSEs you completed.

 

If you’re writing a legal CV in pursuit of a training or pupillage contract and don’t have much experience yet, then position this section above your work experience section. You may also want to add bullet points here to highlight your achievements, extracurricular activities or areas of excellence while studying.

 

Legal CV education section example

 

Legal Practice Course, 2015–2016

Pearson College London, London

 

LLB (Hons) Law (2:1), 2012–2015

University of Kent, Kent

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Showcase your legal skills in your law CV

 

Your achievements will certainly point to a great number of your legal skills, but it’s a good idea to list some of your key skills explicitly. Anyone in the legal profession can come up with a plausible and impressive set of legal skills, though. That’s why you’re going to do something a little different.

 

Start by opening a new document and listing all the law-related skills you can think of (hard and communication skills). Once you’ve done that, go back and add a sentence to each skill that shows how you’ve demonstrated that skill in a professional context. Any skills for which you can’t do this get removed from your list.

 

What you’ve just created is a master list of legal skills that you can draw upon in future applications. Go back to your CV and copy 5–10 of your law skills across to your legal CV, being sure to at least cover the ones mentioned in the job advert. Finally, massage your keywords to match those in the advert.

 

Legal CV skills

 

  • Organisation: managed deadlines, recorded information and kept track of parallel workflows through the meticulous use of a day-to-day diary system.
  • Teamwork: built strong working relationships with the wider legal team, the IT team, Procurement and the Transformation Office.
  • Communication: advised clients on intellectual property rights in the UK, including copyright, trademarks, industrial design rights, patents, etc.
  • Creative problem solving: aside from finding creative solutions to strictly legal impasses, implemented a range of original and more efficient workflows.
  • Research and analysis: comprehensively researched legal backgrounds for contentious and non-contentious IP cases, regularly analysed documentation on trademark and design filing in the UK, EU and internationally.
  • ICT: proficient in the use of cloud-based document and database systems as well as various office suites (LibreOffice, Microsoft Office, etc.).

 

5. Exploit the use of additional sections in your legal CV

 

Given that corporate culture varies so significantly between law firms as well as the companies that hire legal professionals, it’s important to do everything possible to find a good fit from the outset. Make use of extra sections in your CV to paint a fuller portrait of yourself as a legal professional.

 

You can add sections that list your additional (non-work but still relevant) achievements, awards you’ve won, languages you speak, even your hobbies. This can make such a huge difference that there’s no excuse not to do it. Just keep it professional and relevant to the job at hand and you can’t go wrong.

 

Law CV extra sections

 

Languages

 

  • French – bilingual native speaker

 

Community work

 

  • Regular volunteer at Helping Hands Legal Services, London
  • Regular contributor of pro bono legal opinions to drug rehabilitation NGO reConnect

 

6. Include a cover letter with your legal CV

 

You wouldn’t arbitrarily skip certain elements when preparing an evidence bundle, it’s no different when it comes to accompanying your law CV with a legal cover letter. Cover letters may be going out of vogue in general, but they remain relevant in the legal professions like almost nowhere else.

 

Follow the standard UK business letter format, being sure to properly set out each of its elements:

  • Header
  • Salutation
  • Body
  • Sign-off.

 

It’s best to write the body of your law cover letter in three parts:

  • A strong, attention-grabbing opening (60–80 words)
  • An impressive showcase your legal achievements (120–200 words)
  • A neat wrap-up and confident CTA (40–60 words).

 

This will leave you with a legal cover letter that’s no more than a single A4 page long. You should always include a cover letter unless you’ve explicitly been asked not to. The good news is that you’ll be halfway there once you have your law CV job descriptions prepared.

 

7. Final considerations before sending your legal CV

 

Here’s what CV formatting rules should remember about when writing you law CV:

 

Proofreading

 

One wrong or misspelt word and the effects of an entire contract or opinion could change. The consequences of a misstep won’t be so dire when it comes to your law CV, but missing out on your dream job because of a typo is nothing to sneeze at either. Proofread your CV and cover letter with the utmost of care.

 

Layout, formatting and file format

 

Your tolerance for dense blocks of unending text may be higher than the average person’s—make your law CV as reader-friendly as possible by following these CV layout guidelines:

  • Leave your contact details near the top of your CV.
  • Use subheadings and a lot of white space to clearly break your CV down into sections.
  • Choose an appropriate CV font and keep the size at 10–12 points (preferably 11–12 points).
  • Keep to a one-page maximum if you have fewer than 20 years’ experience and two pages maximum if you have 20 or more years of experience.
  • Attach your CV as a PDF file unless explicitly asked for something else.

 

Following up

 

One final piece of advice: follow up if you haven’t heard back after a week. A quick phone call or email is a simple gesture that sends all the right messages. Of course, don’t do this if the advert has made it clear that no news is not good news.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

cv builder

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now


I hope this article has left your legal CV questions answered. If there’s anything you’d like more information on, then please comment down below. We’d love to read your questions, comments, feedback and any experiences you have to share.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

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Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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