Chief Legal Officer Resume Example & Writing Guide

Use this Chief Legal Officer resume example and guide to improve your career and write a powerful resume that will separate you from the competition.

Legal departments play a crucial role in every organization—they’re the gatekeepers of an organization’s legal affairs, providing guidance and counsel on everything from contracts to intellectual property rights. And because they’re so important to the success of a company, legal departments tend to be well-resourced and staffed by professionals with years of experience in their field.

Legal officers work closely with other departments like HR and marketing to understand how new policies or initiatives will affect the company as a whole. They also collaborate with outside counsel to ensure legal compliance across all areas of the business. And because legal departments tend to be large and complex, legal officers must be organized, detail-oriented, and able to juggle multiple projects at once.

Ready to take your legal career to the next level? Here are some tips plus an example to follow when writing your own legal officer resume.

James Smith
New York City, NY | (123) 456-7891 | [email protected]

Seasoned legal executive with more than fifteen years of experience in the technology, media, and financial services industries. Proven track record of providing strategic and operational leadership to legal teams. Deep knowledge of corporate law and experience with M&A, securities, and intellectual property.

Columbia Law School Jun '10
Columbia University Jun '06
B.A. in Political Science
Company A, Chief Legal Officer Jan '17 – Current
  • Led the legal function of a $1B+ SaaS company, including corporate development and M&A activities, IP portfolio management, privacy & data security compliance, vendor risk management, and general business operations.
  • Managed outside counsel on complex transactions (e.g., acquisitions/investments in excess of $100M) as well as day-to-day matters such as contracts with vendors and employees.
  • Oversaw all aspects of the company’s intellectual property strategy from patenting inventions to protecting trade secrets to licensing technology for commercialization purposes.
  • Served as an advisor to senior leadership regarding regulatory issues related to the company’s products and services across multiple jurisdictions around the world.
  • Advised executive team on cybersecurity risks associated with new technologies and strategies for mitigating those risks while preserving innovation within the organization.
Company B, Chief Legal Officer Jan '12 – Dec '16
  • Spearheaded the development of a new legal department strategic plan, resulting in an increase in productivity and efficiency by 40%
  • Collaborated with senior management to develop and implement a comprehensive risk-based compliance program that reduced regulatory violations by 80%
  • Created and implemented a training program for all attorneys on best practices when interacting with clients and vendors
  • Oversaw the creation of a new company policy manual, increasing consistency across departments and reducing errors by 90%
  • Conducted regular audits of client contracts, ensuring that terms were fair and reasonable for both parties involved
Company C, Legal Assistant Jan '09 – Dec '11
  • Drafted legal documents related to contracts, acquisitions, and divestitures of certain businesses or real property assets or reviewed drafts prepared by others for adherence to corporate policies, procedures, and applicable laws.
  • Reviewed various contract types (e.g., construction, equipment leases) with business units/owners before execution to determine compliance with company standards.
  • Provided support in the preparation of notices required under various state regulations such as WARN Act notifications when a facility is closing or layoffs are occurring due to economic conditions or buyouts.
  • Juris Doctorate
  • Certified Legal Manager
  • Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional

Industry Knowledge: Tax Law, Corporate Law, Securities Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law
Technical Skills: Microsoft Office Suite, Bloomberg, LexisNexis, Westlaw, JD Supra, UpCounsel, LegalZoom

How to Write a Chief Legal Officer Resume

Here’s how to write a resume of your own.

Write Compelling Bullet Points

When you’re writing bullet points, it can be tempting to focus on the responsibilities of your job. But that’s not enough to make a compelling case for why you’re the right candidate for the job.

Instead, you should focus on the results of your work. For example, rather than saying you “managed legal department budgets,” you could say you “reduced department budget by 15% while increasing staff by 10%, resulting in a net increase in department revenue of 15%.”

The second bullet point paints a much clearer picture of what you did and the results of your work. And that’s what hiring managers want to see!

Identify and Include Relevant Keywords

When you submit your resume for a chief legal officer role, it’s likely that it will be scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) for certain keywords. These programs look for certain terms related to the position like “corporate law” or “employment law” in order to determine whether your skills and experience are a match for the job. If your resume doesn’t include enough of the right keywords, the ATS might filter out your application before a recruiter ever sees it.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, use this list of common chief legal officer keywords as a starting point:

  • Corporate Governance
  • Legal Advice
  • Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Legal Research
  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Legal Compliance
  • Corporate Law
  • Due Diligence
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Intellectual Property
  • Cross-border Transactions
  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Joint Ventures
  • Corporate Governance & Compliance
  • Legal Issues
  • Competition Law
  • Arbitration
  • Privacy Law
  • Tax Law
  • Legal Writing
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Due Diligence Preparation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Transactions
  • Trials
  • Commercial Contracts
  • Property Law
  • Litigation

Showcase Your Technical Skills

As a chief legal officer, you will need to be proficient in a variety of software programs and systems in order to effectively manage your work. These programs will allow you to keep track of deadlines, cases, and clients. Additionally, you will need to be able to use technology to communicate with other members of the legal team, including paralegals and lawyers.

Some of the programs and systems that chief legal officers are typically expected to be proficient in include: case management software, document management software, time tracking software, and billing software.


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