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A typical law school applicant spends countless hours crafting their personal statement. The same effort and attention to detail should go into creating a strong law school application resume.
A law school application resume is a snapshot view of an applicant and lists some of the data points and details that a personal statement may not. How can you help admissions committees get a better view of your accomplishments and experience? What are things to avoid when constructing a resume? Here are 4 tips to create your best law school application resume.
1. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Law school offers room for creativity, but the law school application resume isn’t the place to use it. Try to adhere to the traditional confines of a legal resume:
- A heading with your name, address, phone number, and email.
- Separate sections for academic experience (honors gained while in school should go in this section), work/volunteer experience, skills, and interests. While many consider the “interests” section to be a waste of space and time, interviewers use items listed in this section as an icebreaker.
- Formatting: one page, 11-point font or larger (not Comic Sans or some other unusual font), one-inch margins. If the applicant has a substantial body of work or numerous publications, it’s sometimes okay to surpass the advised one-page recommended limit.
2. Don’t Include Grades on Your Law School Application Resume
Admissions committees are well aware of your grades. Including scores on your resume (both for law school and going forward in your legal career) is unhelpful at best and tacky at worst. Instead, include any Latin honors you’ve received and/or honor societies you were a member of to direct attention to your academic prowess.
3. Be Descriptive, But Don’t Go Overboard
In every job or volunteer position listed, articulate the responsibilities you’ve had, as well as some skills you may have developed from each experience. Be descriptive and use active verbs, such as “researched and drafted memoranda….”, versus “involved in the drafting of memoranda…”
4. PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD
You are about to enter a world where every comma matters. Not to overstate the importance lawyers put on details, but every mistake you make will be scrutinized and will stick out like a sore thumb. This is especially true when you’re submitting materials that you’ve had months to perfect.
Read your law school application resume several times, then read it backwards, and then send it to a friend to read as well. Some proofreading “mistakes” aren’t as obvious (for example, being inconsistent with numbering and formatting) so consulting with a person with some experience in reviewing resumes is always a good idea.
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of ways to get your resume right, but many more ways to get it wrong. Many law schools have resume guidance web pages available to the public. While those websites are typically directing law students applying to jobs, the advice can be extrapolated to law school applicants. Those coupled with the 4 tips above offer an excellent starting point. Still not sure how to perfect your law school application resume? We’re here to help! If you need help navigating the application and interview process—we’re here for you! 📝
Want to get into a top law school program? Start by visiting the free Stratus Admissions Counseling How to Center, featuring important law school application insights and tips from our expert law school admissions counselors.
Stratus Admissions Counseling is a full-service admissions counseling firm distinguished by its team-based, multi-step process ensuring each application is crafted for optimum impact. Stratus’ unique approach has helped students gain admission into all top law schools, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Columbia and NYU, and dozens of others. Each law admissions team member has graduated from a top-14 law school and our collaborative team provides the depth and breadth of legal experience to maximize your chances of admission to your top choice law school. Stratus counselors regularly contribute articles on the law school admissions process to U.S. News & World Report, the leading law-school ranking publication. To learn more about Stratus and to schedule your free consultation, follow this link.