Criminal Lawyer Resume Example & Writing Guide

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

As a criminal lawyer, you’ll work closely with clients to develop defense strategies, build cases, and represent them in court. Because of the sensitive nature of the work, you’ll need a thick skin and a sense of humor. You’ll also need a solid grounding in the law and years of experience representing clients in courtrooms across the country.

Because there are so many different types of criminal cases, you’ll need to be flexible and willing to tackle whatever comes your way. Some criminal lawyers specialize in defending individuals against criminal charges, while others work on behalf of corporations or government agencies to resolve civil matters.

Here are some tips and an example for writing a compelling criminal defense attorney resume that hiring managers will love.

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

Driven criminal defense lawyer with over 10 years of experience defending the rights of the accused in state and federal courts. Proven ability to win tough cases and provide zealous representation for clients. Seeking a challenging criminal law position in a top-tier law firm.

Brooklyn Law School Jun '10
University of Pennsylvania Jun '06
B.A. in Political Science
Company A, Criminal Lawyer Jan '17 – Current
  • Drafted motions, memoranda of law, and briefs in state and federal courts across the country on a wide range of criminal matters including white-collar crimes, frauds & scams, money laundering, RICO violations, tax offenses, immigration offenses (both civil and criminal), firearms charges, violent crimes such as homicide/assault/robbery/kidnapping/etc., drug trafficking cases (including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances), internet crimes involving hacking or other computer intrusions into protected systems or data theft;
  • Conducted extensive legal research regarding applicable statutes and case law related to each matter; prepared witnesses for depositions and trial testimony; conducted witness interviews; drafted affidavits and declarations under penalty of perjury; negotiated with opposing counsel in an effort to resolve disputes prior to litigation where possible;
  • Assisted clients with non-criminal issues such as personal injury claims arising from accidents or negligence by others that resulted in physical injuries or property damage; reviewed documents pertaining to real estate transactions such as purchase agreements, deeds, mortgages etc.; advised clients about their rights concerning consumer protection laws like Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which prohibits debt collectors from engaging in abusive practices when attempting to collect debts owed by consumers;
  • Prepared client files for presentation before administrative agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Court or Social Security Administration (SSA); assisted clients with regard to bankruptcy filings either Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 reorganization depending upon the circumstances involved; provided advice regarding family law matters such as divorce actions including child custody arrangements and support obligations pursuant to orders entered by Family Court Judges;
  • Handled all aspects of employment discrimination lawsuits filed against employers based on race / sex / national origin / age / religion / disability / retaliation claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) or similar state statutes prohibiting discrimination at work because of one’s membership in a protected class.
Company B, Criminal Lawyer Jan '12 – Dec '16
  • Assisted in the defense of over 100 criminal cases, including felonies and misdemeanors
  • Conducted legal research on a daily basis to assist in defending clients from prosecution
  • Prepared opening statements, closing arguments and witness examinations for trial proceedings
  • Negotiated plea bargains with prosecutors on behalf of clients to reduce sentences or charges
  • Collaborated with private investigators to uncover favorable evidence for trials and negotiations
Company C, Law Clerk Jan '09 – Dec '11
  • Researched and analyzed legal issues and prepared memoranda on findings.
  • Drafted pleadings, motions, and other legal documents.
  • Assisted attorneys with all phases of litigation, including discovery, trial preparation, and settlement negotiation.
  • Juris Doctorate
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association

Industry Knowledge: Justice System, Procedural Law, Criminal Law, Civil Law, Civil Rights, Evidence, Case Law, Law Enforcement, Legal Ethics
Technical Skills: Microsoft Office Suite, Westlaw, LexisNexis, Legal Research
Soft Skills: Communication, Analytical Thinking, Research, Legal Ethics, Complex Problem Solving, Negotiation

How to Write a Criminal Lawyer Resume

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

Write Compelling Bullet Points

Bullet points are the most effective way to showcase your experience and qualifications. But rather than simply listing your responsibilities, you can use them to tell a story about your work. For example, rather than saying you “represented clients in criminal court,” you could say you “represented clients in criminal court on charges ranging from petty theft to murder, securing acquittals on all but one count in a high-profile murder case.”

Notice how the second bullet point is more specific and provides more detail about the nature of the case. It also provides more context by mentioning the outcome of the case.

Identify and Include Relevant Keywords

When you apply for a job as a criminal lawyer, your resume is typically scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) for certain keywords. This system looks for certain terms that are commonly used in the job posting, like “prosecutor” or “trial experience.” If your resume doesn’t include enough of the right keywords, the ATS might automatically reject your application.

To increase your chances of getting an interview, focus on including relevant keywords throughout all parts of your resume. Here are some of the most commonly used criminal lawyer keywords:

  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Advice
  • Trials
  • Litigation
  • Hearings
  • Legal Writing
  • Criminal Defense
  • Appeals
  • Trial Practice
  • Corporate Law
  • Westlaw
  • Civil Litigation
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Issues
  • Intellectual Property
  • Mediation
  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Prosecutions
  • Motions
  • White Collar Crime
  • Prosecution
  • Corporate Governance
  • Criminal Trials
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Competition Law
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Civil Litigation Defense

Showcase Your Technical Skills

As a criminal lawyer, you will need to be proficient in the use of technology in order to effectively represent your clients. This includes being familiar with legal research databases, case management software, and e-discovery platforms. You should also have experience with specific programs like Microsoft Office Suite and Westlaw. Being able to list your level of expertise in each area will show that you’re a valuable asset to any law firm.


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