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11 Things You Might Not Have Thought Of When Writing Your Legal Resume

Melissa Pollack spent 6 years working in the recruiting departments at some of the nation’s top law firms including Simpson Thacher, White & Case and Sonnenschein. She has been helping attorneys prepare their resumes and prepare for interviews for over 10 years.

Let Melissa help you with your legal resume. Request her at the JL Approved Resume Service !

Copyright Melissa Pollack 2009

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  • mike

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  • Guest

    If you don't already know most of the above points, find another profession….as a hiring attorney, I will put the bottom line up front. The most important skill you bring to the table is the ability to produce work-product that the firm can charge to the client. Writing and research skills are of primary importance. Substantive knowledge is important, but that can be taught. Your past performance is indicative of future performance, but if you can't produce work-product without a lot of supervision, you are useless.

    As an aside, I LOATHED the whole interviewing experience when I graduated from law school. I think I applied for two positions. After that, I learned all I could about a niche subject in an under-served area of law. It took awhile, but I eventually became known as a subject matter expert in my chosen area of law; I also worked a lot of long hours (I still do). My point is, don't assume that your JD will be the key to financial security. I have always believed that lawyers have to bring at least one of three things to the table:

    1) Pedigree- You are so fabulous that your firm can charge a ton of money for your work because you went to x,y or z law school (read as top 10 law school with honors). This is of limited utility if you don't fulfill one of the following factors.

    2) You know somebody. (Your dad, uncle, or brother-in-law is the President, a Senator, or CEO of a Fortune 500 company). This may bring in fees because of your relationship.

    3) Your skill set. You know enough about an area of law and can produce enough work product to justify hiring you. In my opinion, most lawyers will fall into this category. Even if you fall into the Pedigree category, you are useless if you can't fulfill either of the two remaining categories.

    Resumes are important because they communicate the above. However, if you don't fit into one of the above mentioned categories, a well written resume will not land you meaningful employment. At least that is my thought on the subject.

    None of this is meant to discourage anyone. I am just offering my perspective. I hope all readers do as well as they can and have great success. Just realize that not everyone will succeed in the legal profession.

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