26/7/2021 by Rebecca Blundell
How to tailor your CV for litigation roles
No litigation role is the same and no law firm is the same however nearly every job opportunity has one thing in common, they all require you to submit a CV before you reach the interview stage.
CVs are your chance to make a good first impression, a snapshot of who you are, what you’ve done and are incredibly important to get right. Getting your CV wrong is like trying to win the 100m with your legs tied together, you shoot out of the blocks and you’ve already fallen over. Get your CV right on the other hand, and you’ve got the perfect start giving you the chance to prove yourself in an interview.
So, let’s make sure your litigation CV is perfect. First of all, let’s go through the layout:
Start your CV with a profile section and introduce yourself, this should be around 2-3 paragraphs long and include:
Paragraph 1 - Who you are e.g., “an associate solicitor in commercial litigation”
Paragraph 2 - What you do in your current role
Paragraph 3 – What you’re looking for and why you are looking
Make sure to put your education in reverse chronological order, with your most recent qualification first as they are usually the most relevant.
When including your grades I.e., University degree, A levels etc. Don't add individual test scores just the overarching grade (date, University, Degree – July 2021, University of Manchester, 2:1 in Law).
Again, in reverse chronological order list all your employment history, but make sure to provide more detail in your latest two roles. For any other previous role, you should provide a couple of sections in less detail, just a brief overview. For a litigation role, they don’t need to know too much detail about how you worked in a bar when you were 18...
Each role should include 4 subsections:
- What your job was – This includes who it was with, the title of your role and what you did.
- Case Examples - You should give between 4-6 cases, no more than a few sentences each, detailing what your role was in the case and what happened.
- Business development - include any business development activity you’ve done, new clients you’ve introduced to the firm and the value of your client following (if applicable), annual billings and targets you’ve got
- Management responsibilities – if you have had any.
Once you’ve finished the employment section, we move onto the achievement section. This includes awards you may have won or accreditations achieved e.g. the Legal 500 etc. This shouldn’t be too detailed, but should just provide insight into what achievements you’ve had so far.
This is a chance to show your personality, briefly explain what you like to do outside of work in a few bullet points. This gives a chance to gauge what you like and maybe a few talking points in the interview. Be honest with what you like as this could be your potential employer for the foreseeable future and you don’t want to be doing activities you don’t like just because everyone thinks you like them!
6 tips to perfect the CV
Now we’ve got the layout sorted and we know what we’re writing and where we’re writing it, here are 6 tips to make sure your litigation CV is perfect.
Keep it simple and make it easy for the reader. The reader knows nothing about you and the purpose of the CV is to pique interest in you. You want clear concise information that provides just enough to intrigue so they invite you to an interview.
In keeping it simple, use a simple font, simple format and keep it standardised. Formats aren’t universal between devices and aren’t always compatible, so when you may have made a beautiful looking CV, it could end up being all over the place for the person who reads it.
Along with that, don’t put a picture, it wastes page space, they’ll get to see you when they meet you and they’ll most likely look at your LinkedIn anyway.
When putting it together don’t make grand claims that are not factual, “My drafting skills are second to none” - doesn’t look good, simple as that. Instead change it to, “I have lots of experience drafting documents and require minimal assistance when doing so.” Giving succinct examples to back up your skills is also useful tip.
There’s a myth that your CV should fit onto one page – Maybe for other industries this may be the case, but when you’re applying for litigation roles this is probably too short or you have crammed too much into one page normally through an odd page layout that as mentioned earlier may not be compatible – don't get hung up about this, make the person reading your CV’s life easier (they will appreciate it ).
Target your answers to specific details in the job role, they want someone with high attention to detail, tell them why you’ve got high attention to detail (and make sure there are no mistakes in your CV, that is shooting yourself in the foot if I’ve ever seen it.)
To learn more or to find out any relevant job openings contact Rebecca on 03300 245 606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit our Litigation page