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Whether the vacancy is with a small legal firm or you are pursuing a corporate position with a large company, your CV will likely be competing against a number of other applicants. In order to impress a recruiter, you will need to demonstrate that you are fully conversant with the role you are applying for and that you can apply your knowledge to great effect to get the best outcome for the client.
Plus, you need to show how you believe you have the edge over other candidates and convince the prospective employer that you are an asset they cannot afford to pass up. Fortunately, our solicitor CV sample sets out an effective way to do just that.
As well as implementing the below tips, check out our CV templates to ensure information is easy to read and correctly structured. Keep reading as we explore:
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Sample solicitor CV
8 Holgate Rd, Bristol BS2 9NF
Astute legal professional with years of experience managing high-volume client caseloads. Adapting extensive legal knowledge to meet specific subject requirements. Meticulous and rigorous in research and case management to deliver positive client outcomes.
February 2019 – Current
Novak & Barry Co – Bristol
Criminal defence solicitor
- Harnessed evidence from diverse sources to build robust client defences.
- Presented strategic arguments based on key findings for successful client pleas.
- Represented clients at initial court hearings, instructing barristers in escalated cases.
January 2017 – January 2019
Law & Order Firm – Bristol
Criminal prosecution solicitor
- Devised individualised contracts and legal documentation to fulfil bespoke client requirements.
- Interviewed clients and witnesses to corroborate case evidence.
- Developed detailed litigation strategies for each case.
- Superior negotiator
- Outstanding public speaker
- Criminal investigations
- Court procedures
- Case interpretation
- Skilled mediator
Bristol University Bristol – 2015
Bachelor of Arts Criminal Law
Choosing the right format for your solicitor CV
The first thing to think about when crafting your solicitor CV is how to present the information in a digestible way. Busy hiring managers don’t have the time or inclination to scroll through messy applications. Moreover, CV reading software struggles to decipher chaotic layouts, artsy fonts, and unusual elements like columns or tables.
Our best advice? Stick to tried and tested structures like the reverse-chronological CV and the skills-based CV – both CV formats are widely accepted by employers and ATS software. The former focuses on employment history, starting from your current or most recent position. In contrast, the latter spotlights umbrella skills such as “administration” and “communication”.
Aspiring solicitors should use a reverse-chronological format because the position is highly technical and companies will want to see a background in the field. However, this shouldn’t be an issue – to become a solicitor, candidates must complete at least two years of work experience before they can practise law. You can also discuss part-time positions, internships, and volunteering alongside full-time roles.
As well as keeping the layout and font clean, your solicitor CV should only be one to two pages long maximum. Recruiters recommend sending your application as a Word or PDF file unless asked otherwise.
How to write a CV for a solicitor
While the role itself is complex, writing a solicitor CV is all about simplicity. The best advice is to opt for plain English over legalese. Remember, recruiters aren’t necessarily trained in the work of a solicitor.
The subsequent guidance will reveal how to write a CV for a solicitor. The process shouldn’t be complicated – simply take your time and read through each section carefully. If you get stuck, take a break and come back to it later. Let’s take a closer look at the following:
- Adding contact details to your solicitor CV
- Start your solicitor CV with a personal statement
- How to present your work history on a solicitor CV
- Top skills for your solicitor CV
- How to add education to your solicitor CV
Adding contact details to your solicitor CV
Although it might sound obvious, you must add your most up-to-date contact details at the top of your solicitor CV. You could send the best application in the world, but it means nothing if the employer can’t reach you about the next stages. Remember to note:
- Full name
- Email address
- Phone number
Above all else, include a professional-sounding email address – hiring managers won’t be impressed with “email@example.com”.
Example of contact section for a solicitor CV
83 High Street,
Bristol, BS28 6DS
Start your solicitor CV with a personal statement
An engaging personal statement is the key to success, capturing the reader’s attention and inviting them to learn more. You need to summarise your most prized skills and proudest accomplishment in three to four sentences. As such, every word counts!
We recommend using a formulaic structure for your personal statement – this will help you to cover the most crucial information. The first sentence should explain who you are, including years of experience and specialism. Next, talk about what you can achieve and substantiate this with a showstopping statistic – for instance, you might have won over 100 cases. The final sentence(s) should cover the unique skills that make you the best person for the job.
As you compose your summary, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Write in the third person to sound more professional
- Use positive adjectives like “motivated” and “passionate”
- Include actions verbs such as “spearheaded” and “organised”
- Mention numbers – you could cover how many cases you’ve won or how much money you saved a company
- Keep the information concise and relevant to the job description
Example of personal statement for a solicitor CV
Highly motivated solicitor with over six years of experience in the immigration sector. Possess detailed knowledge of immigration law and the skills to represent clients in complex deportation hearings. Able to work compassionately with people of all religious beliefs, nationalities, and ages.
Successful criminal solicitor with over ten years of experience. Possesses a proven track record, having won over 75% of cases in court. Able to develop strong working relationships with key decision-makers and defendants, putting together a course of action that they are prepared to support. Confident and able to challenge individuals in a diplomatic but firm manner.
How to present your work history on a solicitor CV
If an employer could only read one part of your CV, they’d choose the work history section – it’s a treasure trove of valuable information, such as how long you typically stay in a role and whether you show consistent career progression. Most importantly, companies require hopeful solicitors to have experience in a similar position and specialism.
When summarising your occupational background, include:
- Job title
- Employment start and end dates
- Company name and location
- Brief list of responsibilities
- Notable accomplishments
We advise applicants to include up to six duties underneath each job, being mindful to avoid repetition. If you’ve spoken about “drafting legal documents” in one role, talk about “preparing papers for court” in another. You want to show off as many talents and triumphs as possible to convince the hiring manager to give you a shot.
Then, show the reader how you outperform targets with statistics – it’s much more convincing than telling them. For instance, instead of saying that you “managed claims resolutions”, explain how you “resolved 92% of claims for clients over two years”. The more specific you can be, the better!
Lastly, ditch “responsible for” – it’s not particularly rousing – and lead with exciting action verbs that inspire belief. Some of our favourites include “coordinated”, “executed”, “founded”, “implemented”, and “pioneered”.
Example of work experience for a solicitor CV
Criminal defence solicitor | Barry & Co Firm, London | 2020 – present
- Prepared evidence for over 100 court cases
- Conducted legal research
- Argued over 80 successful defence cases
- Coached clients to give successful testimonies
- Maintained good working relationships with decision-makers
Criminal prosecution solicitor | Law & Order Firm, London | 2014 – 2020
- Examined police evidence
- Used critical thinking skills to determine whether to prosecute
- Communicated compassionately with crime victims
- Won 86% of cases over a six-year period
- Liaised with court staff and defence solicitors
Top skills for your solicitor CV
CV skills are traits that set you apart from the competition. You should include up to 12 in total, split equally between job-specific hard skills and personality-based soft skills. Hard skills cover technical knowledge like “arguing in court” and “negotiating plea deals”. Soft skills are transferable qualities such as “charismatic” and “time management”.
The most common mistake people make here is relying too heavily on hard skills – this will only come across as impersonal and cold. Employers also want to know about your personality, so they can decide whether you’d integrate with the wider company.
Another top tip is to tailor your solicitor CV skills to the job advertisement. For example, there’s no point in mentioning “independent working” if the hiring manager wants a motivated team player. Still stuck for ideas? Take a look at some of the suggestions below:
Essential skills for a solicitor
- Exhaustive understanding of the best legal practices
- Able to work effectively as part of a team
- Excellent public speaker
- Lateral thinking abilities
- Meticulous research skills
Desirable aptitudes to set you apart
- Perseverance during tough cases
- Ability to work in high-pressure environments
- Amazing time management and organisation skills
How to add education to your solicitor CV
Unsurprisingly, solicitors need several qualifications to support their work experience. Higher education organisations foster research, critical thinking, and debate skills – all of which are essential to succeed in this highly competitive field.
How do you become a solicitor? There are a few routes into this career, including university, an apprenticeship, or on-the-job training. University is the most popular choice – you can study any subject, but you’ll need enough legal knowledge to pass the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).
Whatever avenue you take, you must complete part one and part two of the SQE before practising law. Plus, you’ll have to show that you have at least two years of qualifying work experience (QWE) – this includes volunteering, placements, and training contracts completed during your studies.
Employers will only accept your application if you have the right credentials. We suggest outlining your core qualifications at the top of your CV to prove your suitability. You should include:
- Name of school, college, university, or other awarding body
- Study dates
- Course title – not applicable to GCSEs
- Qualification level – e.g. A level or undergraduate degree
- Qualification result
You can also mention other relevant courses in this section, such as first aid training – treat these like traditional academic achievements, using the format above.
Example of education for a solicitor CV
Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) | 2013 – 2014
SQE1 and SQE1 of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)
London University | 2010 – 2013
Criminal Law (LLB) | 2:1
London College | 2008 – 2010
3 A levels: Law (A), Business (B), and English (B)
London High School | 2003 – 2008
11 GCSEs at grades A* – C
Get your solicitor CV right with our proven tips
Write a compelling cover letter
A cover letter is a professional introduction and summary you send alongside your solicitor CV. It's a fantastic opportunity to stress why you're the best person for the position. Additionally, taking the time to introduce yourself shows that you're willing to go the extra mile – employers will always appreciate the effort!
Note your specialisms
"Solicitor" is a broad umbrella role that encompasses many specialisms. Therefore, highlight your career focus in your personal statement. Being specific will guide your CV towards the right people and departments.
Keep the tone confident
Solicitors must be confident to renegotiate contracts, win cases, and advise clients. If your CV sounds weak and uninspiring, it'll only collect dust on the recruiter's desk. As mentioned, lean on positive adjectives and action verbs to give your application an air of authority.
Spotlight your core qualifications and skills
Like specialisms, it's a good idea to include your core qualifications and skills at the top of your CV – this quickly validates you as a viable candidate (there's nothing worse than time wasters).
Flesh out the work experience section
As solicitors need a few years of work experience before qualifying, you should spend a reasonable amount of time adding to the employment section. Hiring managers will scour through the information, identifying your strengths and weaknesses (via what you don't say).
Your solicitor CV questions answered
What are the main responsibilities of a solicitor?
The principal duties of a solicitor vary depending on the niche and case. However, there are a few crossovers, including:
- Writing and researching legal documents
- Liaising with clients and advising on the best course of action
- Preparing (and sometimes arguing) cases in court
- Keeping up to date with changes in the law
- Maintaining good relationships with other legal professionals
What are legal skills?
Legal skills are all the qualities you’ll need to excel as a solicitor. Alongside possessing an astute understanding of legal practices, you’ll need a versatile communication style to work with diverse clients. Some of the skills include:
- Ability to work under pressure
- Excellent oral and written skills
- Unshakeable work ethic (this job involves long, unsociable hours)
- Public speaking abilities
- Team player who can assume a leadership role when necessary
What values should a solicitor have?
The most successful solicitors believe in justice and treating everyone respectfully – even if they’re in opposition. Core values often cover putting the client’s interests above all else, acting with integrity, and striving for fairness in every interaction. Ultimately, solicitors must be impartial and make objective decisions based on evidence.
How do you describe a legal internship on a CV?
You’d treat a legal internship like any other traditional full-time employment, following the format in the work history section. This also applies to volunteering, part-time roles, temporary contracts, and apprenticeships.
Build a winning solicitor CV using our online tools
Take a close look at the CV sample we have provided, as it gives a good account of the sort of things a suitable CV might contain.
Alongside the above guidance, we have a wealth of handy online tools to simplify the CV writing process, including informative CV examples and pre-made CV templates. You can then fill your template of choice with excellent duties and skills specifically for solicitors in our online builder to fast-track your CV success.