As with your “Education,” you should list your experience in reverse chronological order. Describe current positions in the present tense and prior positions in the past tense. It is appropriate to list both legal and non-legal positions, regardless of whether you were paid. If the experience is relevant to the type(s) of jobs in which you are interested, include it on your resume. You can also use your “Experience” section to describe law school clinics, pro bono service trips, community activities, educational internships, and, if applicable, military status.

Write the employer’s name and location on the first line and your official job title and dates of employment on the second. Next, provide a brief description of the substantive work you performed. Highlight your accomplishments as well as transferable skills (oral and written communication, negotiation, organization and management of complex projects, research and analysis). When truthful and appropriate, use adjectives and adverbs, e.g., “successfully,” to advocate for yourself.

This is perhaps the most important part of your sales pitch, and you want to make sure that with every description you include, you say what exactly you did (using “action verbs” from the list below), and either why it was important or how the result helped the employer or client.

Be concise, starting each sentence with an action verb, and feel free to omit “a” and “the” in most cases. E.g., “Drafted memorandum” is better than “Drafted a memorandum.” Avoid acronyms, abbreviations, or jargon without an explanation.

When describing legal experience or training, use the appropriate legal terms in order to instill in prospective employers a greater degree of confidence in your ability. However, you should never reveal the name of any client or the specific nature of a case or deal that would constitute privileged attorney-client communications. Instead of using names, you can use wording such as, “multi-million dollar litigation,” “antitrust investigation involving multi-national company” or “high-profile acquisition of family-owned business.”

If you are applying for public interest employment, you should describe community activities and involvement that demonstrate long-term commitment to public service. You can list participation in the BU Law pro bono spring break service trips as “Experience” (see Example 2, below).

The “Before” and “After” job descriptions below give you an example of how to instill life and personality into your resume.

Before

DEWEY CHEATHAM LLP, Boston, MA
Law clerk, summer 2015
Performed research on case law and drafted memoranda in a variety of matters. Attended client meetings.

After

DEWEY CHEATHAM LLP, Boston, MA
Law clerk, summer 2015
Worked closely with partners of international law firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions and real estate finance. Performed extensive research and drafted memoranda on a variety of complex substantive and procedural matters, including legitimacy of freezing order in a multi-national shareholder dispute. Independently drafted partnership agreement related to acquisition of low-income housing project by syndicate of investors.

TIP: PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD. The CDO will point out spelling mistakes and typos as they see them, but it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that your resume is 100% error-free.

Words often misspelled:
Appellate; committed/commitment; constitutional; criterion (pl. criteria); alumnus (pl. alumni); alumna (pl. alumnae); cum laude; memorandum (pl. memoranda); judgment; precede/proceed.

Words often misused:
Juris Doctor (not Doctorate); affect/effect; capital/capitol; complement/compliment; council/counsel; oriented (not orientated); perspective/prospective; principal/principle; advice/advise.