Five ways lawyers can substantially improve their CVs

Published On: June 19, 2017

01603 516261   |    07960 743650   |

01603 516261      07960 743650

One way a recruitment agent (such as Olsen Recruitment) can help you, is to improve your CV so that the target market (usually, but not always, law firm partners) will want to take matters further and meet with you for an initial chat or interview.  Here are five areas we look at, see if they can be improved, and what the possible impact of the changes might be.

1. Lawyers’ profiles

Lawyer CVs often contain a profile; however, that profile can often be weak and contains no real content. For example:

A poor profile would be:

 Is professional, confident and calm under challenging circumstances.  Conscious of the wider needs of the business; active in business development.

A much improved and succinct profile would be:

Corporate associate solicitor of 10 years’ PQE. Personally bill between £14,000- £18,000 per month primarily in SME mergers and acquisitions.

Why we do this

The modified statement is highly informative; any partner reading the second statement will know instantly if they:

  • are interested in a corporate solicitor (and so want to continue reading); and
  • if the post-qualified experience is at the right level (if they are interested); and
  • gets an overview of the lawyer’s current performance (which may mean they carry on reading)

2. Law firm profiles

Often law firm profiles are missing altogether. This can be a simple mistake and assumes that the law firm partner, who is reviewing the person’s CV, will be familiar with the law firm or will know about the types of work/deal values a person is working on.  It is best to include one.

An example of a law firm profile, that we might advise you to include and help you to write in is:

Smith & Partners is a niche law firm based on the outskirts of Cambridge consisting of five partners and seven associates.  Its practice area is predominately corporate, but the firm has some expertise in commercial, litigation, employment and commercial property. Two of the firm’s partners appear in the elite Legal 500’s “leading individuals” list for corporate lawyers (for East Anglia) and all of the firm’s practice areas are favourably rated by the Legal 500.  The firms’ lawyers have extensive experience of handling corporate deals from £1M – £300M.

3. Lawyers’ billing/charge-out rate and recent work-highlights

When recent work-highlights and billing/charge-out rates are being addressed, they need to be focused and as precise as possible. The example paragraph below is too vague.

I deal with a range of corporate and commercial issues on a daily basis including: shareholder agreements, partnership agreements, company acquisitions and reviewing terms & conditions. Assist senior colleagues with their caseload.

An improved version might be:

Recent work highlights include:

  • Advising a national phone company on its £15M takeover offer from a competitor
  • Acting for the shareholders on a £24M sale of a local insurance company
  • Advising on a £5M equity investment for a technology sector client

My charge out rate is £190 p/h and my yearly billing target is £200,000.  In the last complete year I achieved £225,000 of billing (112% of target) and the previous year I achieved £202,000 (101% of target).  To date, I have billed £170,000 in just seven months (which equates to 85% of target so far).

4. Hobbies and interests section in a CV

Hobbies and interests, if present on a CV, should be minimised to around 10% or less of the total content on your CV.  Anything more than this gets substantially reduced or deleted altogether (by us).  Law firm partners are unlikely to base a decision to meet with you on what hobbies and outside interests you have, so too much content here can minimise the impact your CV has in totality.

5. Proofreading CVs

Even lawyers make the occasional error on a CV. We can be a final pair of proofreading eyes before sending your document onto a law firm.  Some common errors have been outlined in our previous post here.

About our service

In the vast majority of cases, we meet candidates face-to-face and spend time reviewing and amending their CV at the same time.  Many of our candidates have not created a post-qualified CV before and this is something we can help with.  We never send a CV without your written consent and rarely recommend sending your CV to more than one firm.  If matters progress to an informal chat/interview we can help you with that too.

Contact us

To get in touch call 01603 516261 or 07960 743650

View our candidate services here

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