How to write a legal assistant CV: template and example

Updated 19 January 2023

A well-written CV can enhance your chances of getting legal assistant jobs. This document can help you communicate your skills and educational qualifications to employers. If you want to pursue a career in this field, you may benefit from learning how to format and write a tailored CV. In this article, we explain what a legal assistant is, discuss how to write a legal assistant CV and provide a template and sample to guide you.

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What is a legal assistant?

A legal assistant is a professional who helps lawyers complete everyday administrative and clerical duties. They often gather and organise information and legal documents to assist lawyers, attorneys and paralegals in preparing for trials. They can work in diverse areas, such as criminal law, immigration, corporate law and litigation. They sometimes operate independently and provide legal advice to private clients. Their job description might vary depending on the type and size of a firm. Here are examples of their everyday responsibilities:

  • preparing and maintaining records of legal documents, such as witness summons, complaints, wills and responses

  • reading trial documents and verifying their accuracy

  • maintaining case files for review and reference

  • researching and compiling evidence to help lawyers support their arguments in court

  • processing billing and accounting

  • handling routine administrative roles, such as responding to emails and answering calls

  • scheduling meetings between lawyers and clients

  • performing legal research to help lawyers identify laws applying to specific cases

  • writing case reports

  • transcribing legal documents

  • drafting legal letters and contracts

Related: How to become a legal assistant (with duties and skills)

How to write a legal assistant CV

A legal assistant CV can help you get an employer's attention and distinguish yourself from other candidates. Follow these eight steps to create an effective CV:

1. Review the job description and specifications

While legal assistants' responsibilities are often similar across organisations, employers sometimes have job-specific requirements. A job description summarises expectations, duties, tasks and deliverables. Specifications include skills, professional experience and educational qualifications you might require for performing your tasks. Companies often publish these details besides job postings. You can find them below a career page or ask the human resources department to send you copies. Review them to identify what employers want and customise your CV accordingly. For example, if a company needs legal assistants with research skills, ensure this expertise appears on your CV.

You can optimise your CV with relevant skills by mentioning them in your professional summary and skills section. An employer may use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which uses artificial intelligence to scan CVs for specific keywords. Making your document match a job description can help you pass the ATS stage and demonstrate you researched the position.

Related: Job profile vs. job description: definitions and differences

2. Find a suitable template

A template can guide you on how to format your CV and what credentials to include. Several word-processing solutions offer free CV templates that you can customise to suit your preferred document structure. If a template doesn't support customisation, ensure it can accommodate everything you want to communicate to a hiring manager.

Related: How to write a legal assistant cover letter (plus example)

3. Write your CV header

A header is a section that introduces you to employers by highlighting your primary contact details, such as name and address. It typically appears at the top of a CV. You can centre it for prominence or enhance its visibility by writing it in bold or a larger font. Here are details that typically appear in a header:

  • Name: Include all your official names and relevant titles. Ensure these details are accurate and the same on all accompanying documents.

  • Degree or certification, if applicable: An employer may have strict certification or educational requirements depending on the job description. Mentioning them in a header makes it easy for hiring managers to notice them.

  • Phone number: Organisations often call or text candidates for clarifications regarding their CVs or to invite them for physical interviews. Including your phone number helps ensure you don't miss these updates.

  • Email address: Show your professionalism by using a simple and formal address, such as Professional email addresses usually combine candidates' first and last names.

  • Location: A hiring manager may want to know your location to determine your proximity to a workplace and whether you require relocation. They may prefer candidates who live close to a firm.

Related: How to create an effective cv header (with tips and examples)

4. Create your professional summary

A professional summary is a section below the header that can highlight a candidate's strengths, most significant career achievements and potential contributions to an organisation. It often comprises two to three sentences. Use it to introduce yourself and explain why you deserve a position. A hiring manager typically reviews the summary before deciding whether to read the entire CV.

Keep it short, direct and relevant to the job description. Focus on what makes you a competent legal assistant and distinguishes you from other candidates. The following are details you can mention in this section:

  • your most significant strengths

  • an overview of work ethics

  • the number of years you've worked in the legal industry

  • any relevant awards and recognitions

  • the reasons you want to work with a company

  • your past employers

  • any personal traits relevant to legal assistants' tasks

  • your career goals

Related: How to include a profile summary in CV

5. Highlight your work experience

Hiring managers often prefer candidates with considerable industry experience. Use this section to present your career background, focusing on the experience that demonstrates your proficiency in relevant skills. List your past roles, including employers' names, locations, primary duties and achievements. If you haven't held legal assistant positions before, you can mention other jobs, such as office receptionist or legal secretary, where you applied transferable expertise. Highlight five responsibilities or achievements for your current role and three for previous ones. Here are examples of job duties you can mention:

  • preparing legal documents, such as contracts and wills

  • maintaining case files

  • helping lawyers research and compile evidence

  • answering office calls and emails

  • billing and accounting

  • managing lawyers' calendars

  • verifying the accuracy of documents

Related: Work experience: definition, importance and tips

6. List relevant skills

Legal assistants often require specific hard and soft skills to perform their duties. Create a separate section to list your most competitive expertise. Here are examples of relevant skills for this role:

  • administration

  • effective communication

  • confidentiality

  • professional etiquette

  • empathy

  • research

  • teamwork

  • time management

Related: 11 top job skills: transferable skills for any industry

7. Include your educational qualifications

While you may get legal assistant jobs with a GCSE, companies often prefer candidates with legal backgrounds. You can enrol on short legal writing and research courses to familiarise yourself with the industry. A bachelor's degree in law, journalism, accounting or administration can enhance your competitiveness. List your credentials in reverse chronological order and mention the graduation date for qualifications that are less than five years old.

8. Mention your certifications

Certifications can show your mastery of specific industry concepts. There are several relevant legal assistant certifications you can include. Here are their examples:

  • Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant

  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice

  • NALP Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies

Related: How to list certifications on a CV: template and examples

Legal assistant CV Template

Here's a template you can refer to when creating your CV:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [Location]

Professional Summary
[Two to three sentences highlighting years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional].

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [Location]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [Location]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

[Degree and subject] | [Name of school or university]

[Certification name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Sample CV for legal assistant jobs

Here's an example you can use to write an effective CV:

Maria Monroe, Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant +44 (0) 70882 109436 || Oxford

Professional Summary
Highly motivated legal assistant with over four years of industry experience. Proficient in office etiquette, legal research, office administration, billing and accounting. Recipient of JJ & Co. Advocates 2019 Employee of the year award.

Legal Assistant | February 2019–Current JJ & Co Advocates | Oxford

  • manage lawyer's calendars and schedule appointments

  • answer phone calls and emails to ensure good client relations

  • perform evidence research and verification to support court cases

  • maintain case files for easy retrieval

  • handle billing and accounting to ensure the firm's financial records are up to date

Legal Secretary | December 2017–August 2018
J Murphy Law Firm | Liverpool

  • scheduled appointments with clients to match lawyers' calendars

  • researched and compiled evidence to help lawyers create strong cases

  • transcribed legal documents for future reference

Office management | Effective communication | Research | Time management | Teamwork

Education Bachelor of Arts, Garteser University

Chartered Institute of Legal Executives Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice, CILEc - 2019

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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