Defense Attorney Resume Example (Free Guide)

Create an Defense Attorney resume that lands you the interview with our free examples and writing tips. Use and customize our template and land an interview today.

Defense Attorney Resume Example
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Defense Attorney Resume Example

Our Defense Attorney Resume Example article provides an in-depth look at what it takes to create a successful defense attorney resume. We provide a comprehensive guide to crafting a resume that will help you stand out from the competition and get noticed by potential employers. We also provide an example of a defense attorney resume that you can use as a guide when creating your own.

We will cover:

  • How to write a resume, no matter your industry or job title.
  • What to put on a resume to stand out.
  • The top skills employers from every industry want to see.
  • How to build a resume fast with our professional Resume Builder.
  • What a resume template is, and why you should use it.
Plus, we will provide expert resume writing tips and professional examples to inspire you.

What does a Defense Attorney do?

A defense attorney, also known as a criminal defense lawyer, is a lawyer who specializes in defending individuals and organizations charged with criminal activity. They provide legal advice to their clients and represent them in court proceedings. They work to ensure their client receives a fair trial and the best possible outcome, whether that is an acquittal, a plea bargain, or a reduced sentence. Defense attorneys research the facts of the case, interview witnesses, and prepare legal documents related to the case. They also develop strategies to defend their client’s case and present arguments in court.

What are some responsibilities of a Defense Attorney?

  • Advise the client on their legal rights and any potential risks they may face
  • Conduct legal research and analyze applicable laws to build a strong defense
  • Gather evidence such as witness testimony or medical records to support the client's case
  • Cross-examine witnesses and question their credibility
  • Negotiate plea deals or settlements on the client's behalf
  • Analyze and challenge the prosecution's evidence
  • Present closing arguments in court

Sample Defense Attorney Resume for Inspiration

Defense Attorney

John Doe is an experienced defense attorney and former prosecutor with a decade of experience in both criminal and civil litigation. He is a highly respected advocate for his clients and works diligently to secure the best possible outcome for each case. John has a proven track record of success in the courtroom and is dedicated to providing the highest quality legal representation.

Work Experience

  • Law Clerk, Smith and Johnson Law Firm, 2012-2014
  • Associate Attorney, Doe and Associates, 2014-present


  • University of California, Berkeley, Juris Doctorate, 2012
  • University of California, San Diego, Bachelor of Arts, 2008


  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong knowledge of civil and criminal law
  • Knowledge of trial procedures and practices
  • Proficient in legal research and analysis
  • Excellent client relations skills


  • California Bar, 2012
  • State Bar of California, 2012


  • English (fluent)
  • Spanish (proficient)

Resume tips for Defense Attorney

Creating a perfect, career-launching resume is no easy task. Following general writing rules can help, but it is also smart to get advice tailored to your specific job search. When you’re new to the employment world, you need Defense Attorney resume tips.
We collected the best tips from seasoned Defense Attorney - Check out their advice to not only make your writing process easier but also increase your chances of creating a resume that piques the interest of prospective employers.

  • Highlight your courtroom experience, successes, and awards.
  • Include any specialized experience in defending cases.
  • Present your education in a professional manner.
  • Demonstrate your skills in research and investigation.
  • Be sure to showcase your communication and advocacy skills.

Defense Attorney Resume Summary Examples

Using a defense attorney resume summary or resume objective can be an effective way to showcase the most relevant qualifications and experiences you have that make you a great candidate for a defense attorney job. A summary or objective will allow you to highlight your legal background, experience with specific court systems, and any specialized skills that you have that make you the perfect fit for the job. This is a great way to leave an impression on potential employers and help them to see why you would be an ideal candidate for the position.

For Example:

  • Experienced Defense Attorney with 10+ years of experience in trial and appellate work.
  • Highly skilled in the preparation and analysis of legal documents, negotiation of settlements, and representation of clients in court.
  • Proven track record of achieving successful results for clients in a wide range of criminal cases.
  • Adept at crafting legal strategies and utilizing litigation tactics to create favorable outcomes.
  • Strong ability to build and maintain relationships with clients, opposing counsel, and court personnel.

Build a Strong Experience Section for Your Defense Attorney Resume

Building a strong experience section for a defense attorney resume is important because it allows the prospective employer to quickly see the applicant’s qualifications and relevant experience. It is also the section that will be looked at most closely by the hiring manager. The experience section should include a list of the attorney’s past cases and how they were successfully defended. It should also include any awards or honors the attorney has received. Finally, the experience section should highlight the attorney’s most impressive accomplishments and results. By providing a comprehensive overview of the attorney’s qualifications and experience, the section can help the employer make a more informed decision about the applicant’s suitability for the position.

For Example:

  • Successfully defended clients in various criminal cases in state court, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.
  • Developed legal strategies, filed motions, conducted discovery, and negotiated plea agreements.
  • Conducted multiple full-scale jury trials, securing acquittals in cases involving allegations of assault, larceny and burglary.
  • Advised clients on their legal rights and responsibilities in the courtroom, and provided guidance through the criminal justice system.
  • Developed relationships with prosecutors, judicial officers, and court personnel to further the interests of clients.
  • Provided legal advice to clients in pre-trial settings and throughout plea negotiations.
  • Assisted in the preparation of legal documents, and conducted extensive legal research.
  • Represented clients in post-conviction proceedings, such as parole hearings and writs of habeas corpus.
  • Successfully argued motions in court and mediated in settlement negotiations.
  • Conducted investigations, interviewed witnesses, and wrote briefs and memoranda.

Defense Attorney resume education example

A defense attorney typically needs a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. To obtain a J.D. degree, most law schools require a bachelor's degree and the successful completion of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Most states also require a defense attorney to be admitted to the state's bar association. In addition to formal education, experience as a prosecutor or other legal experience can be beneficial for defense attorneys.

Here is an example of an experience listing suitable for a Defense Attorney resume:

  • Juris Doctor, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, 2008
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 2004
  • Admitted to the California Bar, 2008
  • Completed coursework in Criminal Justice, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 2005
  • Continuing Legal Education in Criminal Law, State Bar of California, 2019
  • Certificate in Trial Advocacy, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2018

Defense Attorney Skills for a Resume

It is important to add skills for a Defense Attorney Resume because it allows potential employers to quickly assess the applicant’s capabilities and qualifications. Skills should reflect the candidate’s ability to effectively handle the responsibilities of a defense attorney, including written and oral advocacy, legal research and analysis, understanding of legal procedure and court rules, and interpersonal skills such as negotiation and client relations. By providing a comprehensive list of skills, employers can quickly determine if an applicant is qualified for the position. Examples are not necessary.

Soft Skills:

  1. Interpersonal communication
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Research skills
  4. Negotiation skills
  5. Time management
  6. Organizational skills
  7. Public speaking
  8. Problem solving
  9. Creative thinking
  10. Leadership skills
Hard Skills:
  1. Legal Research
  2. Trial Preparation
  3. Argumentation Skills
  4. Courtroom Presentation
  5. Case Management
  6. Contract Negotiation
  7. Client Counseling
  8. Cross-Examination
  9. Strategic Planning
  10. Document Drafting

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Defense Attorney Resume

In this competitive job market, employers receive an average of 180 applications for each open position. To process these resumes, companies often rely on automated applicant tracking systems, which can sift through resumes and eliminate the least qualified applicants. If your resume is among the few that make it past these bots, it must still impress the recruiter or hiring manager. With so many applications coming in, recruiters typically give each resume only 5 seconds of their attention before deciding whether to discard it. Considering this, it's best to avoid including any distracting information on your application that could cause it to be thrown away. To help make sure your resume stands out, review the list below of what you should not include on your job application.

  • Not including a cover letter. A cover letter is a great way to explain why you are the best candidate for the job and why you want the position.
  • Using too much jargon. Hiring managers do not want to read a resume full of technical terms that they do not understand.
  • Omitting important details. Make sure to include your contact information, educational background, job history, and any relevant skills and experiences.
  • Using a generic template. Take the time to customize your resume to the job you are applying for. This will show the employer that you are serious about the position.
  • Spelling and grammar errors. Always double-check your resume for typos, spelling mistakes, and grammar errors.
  • Focusing too much on duties. Make sure to include accomplishments and successes to show the employer that you are a great candidate.
  • Including personal information. Avoid including any personal information such as age, marital status, or religious beliefs.

Key takeaways for a Defense Attorney resume

  • Highlight any experience in criminal defense, such as past cases or jury trials.
  • List any relevant certifications, such as membership in a bar association or trial lawyer organizations.
  • Include any awards or honors you’ve received for your legal work.
  • Demonstrate excellent research, writing, and communication skills.
  • Showcase your ability to work independently, as well as with teams.
  • Detail any experience with courtroom procedures and legal proceedings.
  • Mention any experience you have with legal technology or software.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the criminal justice system.

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