Q&A – Attorney Resumes | BCGSearch.com

Q&A – Attorney Resumes


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1. Do the rules of attorney résumés also apply to professional staff in law firms?
No, they don't. You can write different types of resume's if you're looking for a professional staff position in a law firm. It doesn't necessarily need to be the same as an attorney's resume.

2. Is a 1-page résumé realistic for a professional with more than 20 years of relevant experience?
Yes, it is. And the problem with a longer résumé sometimes is that it does highlight how much experience you have. That is not always the best thing. So, you should try to be careful about highlighting and making your résumé too long.
3. If you took three years' time for various reasons between graduating from law school and being licensed, how do you recommend getting over that hurdle on a résumé?
That's not a problem. Attorneys graduate all the time. And there are various reasons they take time to get admitted to the bar—they may fail the bar in California, which is a very difficult bar exam, or they may do something else after law school. So, I would suggest that you don't need to list all your experience prior to becoming licensed. You may just list your first legal job. Then, you can certainly list your law school graduation date. But you don't need to list the date you were admitted to the bar on there.
You can just list your first legal job if you're have passed the bar recently, and you've been out of school for three years and doing related jobs. You can still apply to jobs and get positions. That's fine, but I would be careful.
(And if you want to ask another follow-up question because I'm not sure I have all your reasons for your specific question, I can answer that in more detail.)
4. I am the founder and leader of several diverse bar associations. Should these be included?
That's a very good question. Showing leadership and so forth, and founding those organizations is useful. I don't know if you're saying you founded them in law school, or you founded them after law school. In general, though, if you are the founder, it depends on what organizations they are. It depends on where you're applying to firms, and so forth.
As a general rule, I will tell you that law firms value diversity very much. But they're also afraid of people who may create issues with anything to do with diversity; meaning, they don't want to get sued. They don't want people to be upset, they don't want people to be looking for trouble, and so forth. And reading stories about things that have gone wrong would be helpful. I would say that you can include those. But depending on where you include them, it could hurt you. Anytime you're in a leadership position in an organization that may have some sort of political agenda, I think it can sometimes hurt you, but maybe not. I think it's a good thing, being the leader of those organizations and founding them. But at the same time, just be careful.
(If you want to ask a follow-up question, I'd be happy to answer it. But I don't think there's anything wrong.)
5. Do you see a need for affirmative action in the private sector?
Yes, I do think there's a need for affirmative action in the private sector. But at the same time, I'm not saying that I have favoritism. There definitely is a need for affirmative action in the private sector. I don't know how that's going to happen, but I do know that at the same time, people will hire people from backgrounds and so forth that they like. But as I already said, people tend to hire people who are similar to them.
6. I want to specialize in an area that is one of several I am involved in at a firm. What is the best way to reflect that if only a portion of my years at the firm was spent on that particular practice area?
If you've done a bunch of different things, and you want to specialize at a different firm, when you discuss your experience, you need to make sure that you take up more of the experience section discussing your experience in the practice area you want to focus on. Then, you can list your other experience. You certainly don't want to be dishonest. You can list the other areas you may have worked in. But you do want to list and discuss the fact that you want to focus on the practice area you're most interested in. You really want to discuss that in as much detail as possible.
A good interviewer in a law firm, by the way, will drill down and ask about your other experience. But if they like you, they may bring you in and ignore that. I mean, even when you give an explanation that you typically want to lead with whatever you're trying to do and your résumé has that, it also depends on how much experience you have and how long you've been doing it. So, if you only have a little bit of experience in that practice area, you need to be careful. You're probably not going to get jobs doing something like that if you don't have a ton of experience.
(If you want to ask a follow-up question, I'd be happy to help you with that, too.)
7. Would your advice be different for a large firm litigation lawyer seeking to move in-house?
It depends on how long you've been at a large law firm. For the most part, if you're a large firm lawyer seeking to move in-house, please make sure you highlight all your experience related to everything you'll work on after you become an in-house attorney in a law firm. That's going to be helpful. But it's much harder for a litigator to get a job in-house than it is for corporate and transactional attorneys. So, if you've done any type of corporate work, and you're applying for a generalist type in-house job, it depends on the size of the company. You may try to look for other things that you've done. But for the most part, you need to be careful.
8. What should other lawyers say in the narrative section for each firm regarding his past experiences, if anything other than the department worked with his partner and complex personal litigation team?
In the narrative section, under the past experiences for older attorneys, you can include statements about what you've done. If you're saying you do complex personal litigation, you don't need to say a lot. It depends on what type of job you're applying for. So, if you're applying for an in-house job in a law firm that does a specific type of work, then you may want to highlight that you have some experience doing that.
If that law firm does product liability, you may want to discuss that. But other than that, you don't need to put a lot. I think in some cases, the partners, typically in the largest law firms, are attorneys doing litigation and so forth. So, you don't need to put in a lot of detail because most people have a pretty good understanding of what you've done.
9. How does someone convey his or her story without a narrative beyond contact, education, and experience information?
Well, the best way to communicate your story is typically going to be in your cover letter, which I have covered in great detail in a separate post. But you don't need a narrative at the top of your résumé. People like doing that, but I do think it hurts you. I'm just telling you that it hurts you. So, I mean, it can do more harm than good. So you can include that information in the cover letter. Your cover letter, by the way, does not have to be that long. You can include most of that, but people really aren't that interested in your whole story. I mean, what they're interested in is your recent history and where you are right now. I think that's one way to think about it.
I mean, an example would be, well, this is a personal example. I'm in a relationship with a woman for a year, and I'm older. I don't know everything that she's done since she was 18 and dating people. I don't know the history of all this stuff. I'm more concerned about her last relationship or what's going on there. Maybe the one before, but that's about it. So, it's like that with employers. Employers are not concerned about every single thing that you've done. They're more concerned about where you are now. And that's an important thing to remember.
10. I left my firm after only about seven months of working there as the law firm, and, in particular, the group I was in was a very bad fit. How should I explain this on my résumé?
Your résumé can just have a stop date. Mention when you stopped working there. It's very difficult for attorneys, a lot of times, to get positions when they're unemployed—a little bit more difficult than if you are employed. But what you need to do is when someone asks you why you're not working there, rather than talking about it was a bad fit or there were issues with it, and so forth, you try not to emphasize this point. Don't go into a lot of detail both in interviews and in talking to people.
I had an experience yesterday that was unusual. I was interviewing someone for a position in our company, and she had a one-year gap where there was nothing on her résumé. I asked her, What happened during that time? She replied I was a contractor. And I asked her, So what? Why did you leave this great firm and become a contractor? And she replied, Well, because my firm was having financial problems, and I heard they were having financial problems. I just thought it'd be a smart thing for me to leave. That wasn't a good answer.
Your answer to why you left the firm after only seven months is it wasn't a good fit. Remember, there are all sorts of reasons for leaving firms. Most attorneys, by the way, have been fired and have left jobs over the course of their career—sometimes, many, many times. So, there's nothing to explain in your résumé. Just put the stop date. Then, people will ask you about it during the interview. You simply need to have a good story, and the story, hopefully, can be something along the lines of—the best examples are—work was slow, I had to take care of a parent, and those sorts of things to look at your best.
(If you want to ask a follow-up question to put on there, I'd be happy to help you with that, too.)
11. If I have a lot of relevant experience that's too much to fit on one page, how do I choose what to keep and remove?
In most practice areas and most types of work that people do, the law firms and the people interviewing you already know what attorneys who work in your practice area do. So, if you've worked at tons and tons of firms or jobs, you need to remove them. You don't need to list all your jobs after college. Just put your legal experience. Also, you don't need to put long paragraphs about the work you've done. Since graduating from law school and taking legal jobs, try to minimize the amount of information you have on your résumé. Make sure you keep it relevant.
The idea is that every attorney reviewing your résumé is going to have a sense of what you've done. But they're almost always most concerned with your most recent experience. Just think of the example I gave you in dating. I mean, if you're in your 40s, you're not going to be interested in who your significant other was seeing when they were 18. You don't need to put all that down there because it's not relevant anymore.
12. For junior to mid-level attorneys, how should you format the content under a section? For example, under each position, advised clients on tasks, could be more results-oriented, or what if you were only involved in portions of the matter?
So, basically, the idea is a junior to mid-level attorney—I'll put some résumé samples up for people to look at—can say what you have experience in that whatever it is, you list a few things. You don't want to be too results-oriented. But if you wrote a brief, you can say "experienced in writing briefs or discovery and litigation." If you have experience with due diligence or whatever it is, you can list it, but you don't need to put too much. Remember, the more focused your experience is, the better off you're going to be.
Make sure that everything you write is focused on whatever the position is and not too much money, not too much information. The other thing, too, is sometimes writing a lot of information will draw attention to the fact that you may not have a lot of experience in something. So sometimes, just being careful about what you put in there is better, and this is something you need to think through. It depends on what you're doing. But if you're working in a large law firm, remember, it needs to be very focused on your specialty.
13. How do you recommend dealing with gaps caused by a layoff?
There's nothing you can do. You just put the dates when you were there. One thing too is, by the way, when you're laid off anytime—I hope you guys remember this—from a law firm or employer, always ask them to keep you on their website, to keep your voicemail live, and to keep your email, and so forth, as long as possible. Law firms will negotiate that, and so will private employers. It's always easier to find a job when you're employed.
But if you are laid off—lots of people, by the way, were laid off because of COVID-19, I mean, tons of them—there's really nothing wrong with being laid off. Right now, as it has been in the past, you don't really want to worry too much about it. You just leave it on there and roll the dice. Hopefully, you have good reasons. Law firms and everybody can be very understanding when things go wrong from a business point of view. So, it's alright to leave that information on there about being laid off.
14. Are there different perspectives when talking about in-house in a compliance position versus currently legal position?
Yes. So, if you're looking for an in-house position, a lot of times, you may want to put a little more detail. An in-house position is different to some extent, but I don't think that different.
15. Should we include bullet points that are more general, such as responsibilities increased over time included XYZ?
No. I don't think you need to include bullet points that are more general. People assume that responsibilities are increasing over time.
16. Should I make my font smaller so it can fit on one page? Is it better to use a larger font and more spacing, so it's more readable?
It's better to use a larger font, so it's more readable. That's what I would recommend.
17. I became a parent in law school and didn't work until my kids were teens. How do we overcome this?
That's fine. That's perfectly acceptable, and lots of people do that. It's always difficult when you've had a lot of space between a law degree and starting work. But the best suggestion I can make is you need to apply to a lot of places. Do the best you can. There's no reason you can't overcome the fact that you may have spent a lot of time working on that.
18. (This is another question about in-house versus corporate positions.) Is there a difference between a résumé for in-house versus corporate positions?
There are a couple of points I want to make about corporate positions. So, very large corporations like very large law firms are looking for specialists. The more specialized you are, the better it is. The smaller to midsize firms or companies may be looking for positions where people are more generalists, like someone who has experience doing IP, litigation, and corporate. So my advice for working in smaller to midsize companies is similar to working in small or midsize firms. It's actually okay to be more of a generalist if you're trying to work in-house for small to midsize companies. A lot of times, they only have one person there, and they'll need that person to do a bunch of different things. So that's perfectly fine.
19. How do you recommend explaining positions on a résumé that are designed for a certain period of time? For example, I was a Mirror Corp's fellow clerk for one year. I don't want a potential employer to think I jumped around from job to job and can't stay in one place.
It's okay to list that you were a fellow doing something to clerk for one year. That's perfectly fine, and that doesn't mean you've jumped around. There's nothing wrong with doing fellowships and so forth. A lot of times, attorneys will do clerkships in the middle of their careers, though. I'm working with several people right now who have done that, and they're doing very well in the job market. They take fellowships doing something, and that's great. You can certainly list all that information on your résumé. That's perfectly fine, and there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't make it look like you've jumped around. It makes it look like maybe you've done some exploration.
20. I graduated with a JD degree from a top law school with a B plus average, and I'm interested in employment law. I also passed the bar exam. I've got a minimum. Unfortunately, I've not been able to get secure any law firm jobs. I got offers from quite a few companies for employer relations and manager positions. I have eight years of experience working six years as a paralegal materials and HR. With the current crisis, I feel I should keep my job. But the longer I wait, the harder it will be for me to land an attorney job in a law firm. Can you advise what I should do about my résumé jobs or strategies to maximize my chance for law firm offers?
Okay, the first thing to do is take your GPA off. If you went to a great school—T14 is a great school—that's fine. I don't understand why you got an MBA if you are interested in employment law. But it depends on what type of employment law you're interested in. But if you took any type of employment law classes and so forth in your MBA program, that would be useful. What I'm concerned about with your particular background is most people who get MBAs are interested in doing corporate related work, not litigation or employment law.
Then the other thing about HR that you're doing is that it's not necessarily adverse. You're working for a company. And those are actually very good jobs, by the way, working inside of companies to HR. I know lots of employment attorneys. I know one who worked in a major law firm and then went to work in-house. He is the head of HR now, and it's a very much more lucrative position—better hours and so forth. But the thing is, should you keep your job, or try to get a job in a law firm?
Well, people who get MBAs too, by the way, are typically not as interested in writing and arguing. It sounds like you did well. I don't know why you are interested in HR or employment law. I would think you might do much better in business-related areas. But typically, law firms love to hire MBAs. You have a couple of different options. You need to highlight anything to do with employment on your résumé.
It is hard to get into a law firm. When you want to do employment law and you are not working in a law firm, and you're working in-house in administrative law, that's a hard switch to make. You can do it. But the way to do it, I think is, I've done some stuff on networking. But before you can network in, you need to get anything off your résumé that looks like it's not related to what they want to do. There are different types of employment law jobs. There are plaintiff employment jobs, which aren't that difficult to get, and there are also defense employment jobs. I don't know which one you're interested in.
But I would think defense, and the way to really find one of those firms is to research in whatever market you want to work in. Apply to lots of them, and you can definitely get a job. If you're in a major US market, there are probably 100 plus firms that do it. You may not get a job in a major firm. But as a general rule, in most cities, there are certain firms that do nothing but Labor and Employment Law. They may be interested in you. You have places like Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis, FordHarrison, and more. I mean, there are lots and lots of them. Then, there are also local ones in every city. So, I would network, but I would also apply to all the firms that do labor and employment—both plaintiff and defense. I don't think you'd have any problem getting a job if you do that.
21. I've been practicing since 1996. My first eight years were in firms—litigation and real estate—and the last part of my legal career was as solo litigation and real estate attorney. I ran for elected office in 2018 and won. I would like to retire from elected office and go back to practicing law, preferably in-house with a big firm. How do I get law firms and corporations with me as a lawyer and not as a politician?
You don't want to talk too much about your lack of experience on your résumé. If you did real estate, I don't know if you did transactional work or real estate related work or real estate litigation. But if you did transactional real estate, you should be able to find a job in most major markets by applying. If you did litigation, hopefully, it's real estate litigation. Then, you should also be able to find a job.
As a solo practitioner, you said you did litigation in real estate. I'm assuming you probably did some transactional work. So you can apply to positions, and I don't think you need to go into too much detail, though, about being in elected office. If you want to retire from elected office, that's fine. But keep in mind that you do face a little bit of an uphill battle. Anytime someone does something that suggests they may not have a commitment to practicing law, then that can hurt them. So, de-emphasize your elected office job unless it's relevant. I mean, sometimes, a lot of law firms like hiring people from elected office because they believe they can bring in business.
So, if you did anything to do with real estate and so forth in your elected office job, it actually could help you quite a bit. For instance, if you did zoning or something, then you may want to include it. But the less emphasis you give on that and the more emphasis you give on your legal experience, the better. I've reviewed so many resumes, and I've seen a lot of people who do what you've done. They will put their legal experience at the top of their résumé. Then, at the bottom, they'll put the elected office details. The reader will focus on the legal experience first and then the other stuff at the end.
22. What is the reason for not having a summary as a more senior attorney?
Most attorneys who are reviewing your resume know how to review a resume. They know what your experience means based on looking at it. If you have the summary at the top of your resume, it's typically going to make you look like a more senior attorney. There's nothing wrong with that. But as a general rule, people who have been 20 plus years out of law school put a summary a lot of times. I think it's much better to not have that on there. You can cover the information in your cover letter. In my opinion, the summary typically will detract from the message. The best resume typically do not have the summaries on them to be able to get jobs.
23. I'm a foreign attorney with over 15 years of experience. I find it difficult to find a job in New York. Do you have any suggestions as to how to work in the market?
Yes, it's very difficult for foreign attorneys to get positions, especially in markets like New York. It depends on your practice area and what you do. But remember, people—I keep coming back to this, and I know it's offensive—will hire people who they identify with. So it's much easier to get a position where you're from typically than where you're not from. And New York is a very competitive market. The problem for people getting jobs in New York is that there are so many people competing for so many jobs that the law firms can pretty much get anybody they want. And that's one of the advantages of having a law firm there.
But it's also one of the disadvantages of trying to work there. Although it's very difficult, it depends on what your practice area is. The biggest action you can take is you need to apply to firms that have the type of positions that you want and do the kind of work that you do. Make sure your resume is as focused as possible. Beyond that, as I already said, apply to as many firms as you can. They don't necessarily need to have openings. And one of the things that I like is when you send letters in the mail, that's also a very good way of getting positions because it gets people's attention.
24. This question is about following up on the time between graduating and being licensed. Will it hurt if I list the position that was taken before the time it was legal, for instance, business ethics marketing advisor? Also, if there are gaps between one job and the next, do I need to address that? If so, how?
Typically, you want to list all your experience. If you did something else and you're trying to work in a law firm, it can hurt you. But there's obviously not something wrong with that. What I would recommend is if you have a lot of experience after your law degree that's not necessarily legal, you can have a section called legal experience, and another section called other experience. You can list that and explain it. And if it's interesting and relevant, you can write more about it in your resume. 
(If there are any follow-up questions, please ask them.) 
25. In my jurisdiction, specialists are virtually non-existent. Would it be a better idea to emphasize the diversity of experiences and interests here?
Yes. If there are no specialists, that's fine. In smaller legal markets around the country and in mid-size markets, any mid-size markets, it can be very helpful to have lots of different experiences. There's nothing wrong with having to be a generalist in a small market. So that's fine.
(Someone wrote, thank you for the honest answers and volunteering your time. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Thanks.)
26. How do you recommend an attorney to prepare their résumé for an in-house position versus a position in a law firm?
(Please refer to the answers to question nos. 14 and 18.) Remember, specialists in large corporations are going to be more valued. Larger corporations are looking for specialists. However, small corporations, for the most part, are going to be looking for people who are not specialists. They might want generalists to help them because they may want people to work in a variety of areas. For example, in a small company, they may have to do trademarks, they may have to defend against nuisance lawsuits, they have to do corporate filings, and so forth. And they may only want to hire one person to do that. Hence, it's great to be a generalist for smaller companies. So, you can highlight all your experience for smaller companies. But if you want to work in a large company, you need to be more specialized.
27. For a short term law position, what if you worked on only one brief along with letters covering mediations? Can you still include brief experience?
Yes, that's fine. You should include brief experience. You can say experienced in briefing, discovery, and mediation.
28. For legal internships that were more than five years ago, should they be listed (e.g., 2011 to 2013)?
If they were in law school, and you worked in an area that's relevant to what you're doing, or they were with a prestigious firm or a judge, you need to list that all the time. But if you worked for a great firm after that or you got very good experience, it may not be necessary to list it. But one thing is a lot of large law firms will expect you to have had a summer associate job in the firm. And if you haven't, they may wonder why you were not interested in being a summer associate. So, you can include that, as well. That's up to you.
You should list legal internships if they're relevant. For example, I did a summer job in Washington, DC. I did not do that with a law firm, but with the government. I just left that on my resume. But was it a good idea? More than five years ago, you probably don't need it unless it's related to what you do.
One example I would give is I did an internship with the Department of Justice but in the Environmental section. I probably shouldn't have left that on when I was applying to work in law firms because environmental is not really related to what I was doing. So, it's up to you. But you should be careful in the internships also. You need to be careful about what kind of organization it is and so forth.
29. About listing awards, is it alright to list being a quarterfinalist in one year and then champion the next? Do you recommend leaving out the quarterfinalist designation, or does it show dedication, determination, and greater skills?
No, I don't recommend it. Being a quarterfinalist is a great achievement that you should list. Then, you should list being the champion. That's a good idea, and it does show dedication and commitment to something.
30. How can I address that I've never supervised a team of lawyers to advance my career? I want to apply for supervisor positions. What skills can be highly liquid transferring capable of supervising others? I do not have an MBA or other degrees, but I have many years of experience.
I don't think you need to highlight that you have never supervised other lawyers. I think it's okay if you leave that out. If you haven't supervised other lawyers, I think most people will assume that you can supervise other lawyers when you have an opportunity. So, I think that's okay.
31. I want to transfer to privacy and data security. I am currently at the intersection of consumer financial services and privacy. How detailed should I be in my narrative for junior to mid-level candidate in DC?
Privacy is in great demand right now. I mean, attorneys are trying to get into it. A lot of it has to do with the fact that some of these in-house positions are incredible. And they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because there are not a lot of privacy people right now. So, it's a good market to get into. But how detailed should you be? I would recommend that you highlight more of your privacy experience. Sometimes, you may be in the Consumer Financial Services Group at your firm. I would recommend making sure that you do what you can to highlight your privacy and data security work. But I think that there are not a lot of people who do that practice here right now.
If you really want to transfer, I would recommend getting a privacy certification. Taking some classes on that during weekends and stuff like that will help you. But that's a very in-demand practice area right now, and I think it will be in demand for some time.
32. You mentioned briefly about applying to firms that had openings. What strategies do you have to recommend for applying to law firms that do not have openings?
Well, you can research the firms in your practice area, and you can find the firms that do the kind of work in your practice area. On BCG Search, we have all sorts of recommended firms. There are four different practice areas that we've put together. That's a good place to start. But I recommend that you drill down by practice area. I recommend applying to firms without openings, and the reason is that firms without openings can definitely help you. A lot of times, they'll hire you because you'll be the only applicant.
When you don't have a job, and you're the only applicant for a job in a firm, it can be very helpful. As a matter of fact, if you are looking for a position, I recommend that you apply to as many firms and places that don't have openings as you can because a lot of times, they will hire you right away.
33. I missed last week's session on cover letters. When will the video materials be posted?
The materials are posted on www.oar.com and are available to members.
34. Is it possible for you or someone at your firm to review my résumé?
Yes. If you are a member, then I will review your résumé and make a video for you. You can just email your résumé to us, and we'll send you an email later. If you're not an email member, we have a company called Attorney Résumé that can do it for you. Also, LawCrossing has something called LawCrossing Résumé Facelift that can help you.
35. I currently practice in finance banking laws. Hope I'm going to change my practice area to patent law. Do you have any pins or suggestions? Also, does self-improvement really help with job-seeking?
Finance and banking is actually a very good practice area to be in right now. There's quite a bit of work that's going to be in finance and banking over the next several months because of COVID and so forth. But if you want to change your practice area to patent law, you need to have a science background. You also need to make sure you take the patent bar, which I'm sure you're aware of. If you do want to change your practice area, taking classes and showing commitment will help.
You also asked if self-improvement is really critical in job seeking. No, it's not. Of course, self-improvement is great. If you go to HarrisonBarnes.com, I've written hundreds of articles about self-improvement. I think it's a great thing. I have no problems with it. I recommend doing all the self-improvement you can. But you don't need to list everything on your résumé and on your job applications.
36. Do you send your materials to the practice group leader or HR?
Typically, large law firms will have an HR person. They'll be listed on the website, so they're very easy to find. Smaller law firms may not. They may just have a bunch of attorneys listed on the website. In that case, all you need to do is apply to one of the named partners in the firm who looks like they're the one responsible for hiring. That's how I do it. This information is very useful if you're looking for a job. Applying to firms without openings really works. I'm telling you, it's extremely effective because you're the only applicant. Law firms will love the initiative you show. Obviously, they'll be delighted to receive your letter. And that's very helpful to you, as well.
37. My GPA is slightly over 3.2. My school career advisor said that's the main reason why I did not get firm offers even though I worked at six.
I don't think your 3.2 GPA is going to hurt you. I just don't think you need to list it on there because I don't think it's that important.
38. What is the best way to work with your firm on a résumé? What's the best BCG Search number to reach you at?
The BCG number is 800-298-6440. You can also go to BCG Search, and there are more numbers there.
39. If you list the GPA for undergrad, does it hurt you to not include the law school GPA?
I don't think so. If you list the GPA for undergrad, I think showing that you did very well as an undergrad is good. And one of the things too, that a lot of times happens, especially for patent attorneys and other types of attorneys is they major in physics and get 3.8 or something, which personally, I'd be lucky to get a 2.8 or 2.9 if I majored in physics in college, or maybe even a 1.8. But if you majored in something very difficult and you've got a good GPA, you can list that. And it's not going to hurt to include your law school GPA, as well.
The thing about law school GPAs, too, is they're confusing. I went to the University of Virginia Law School. When I graduated a long time ago, I think that 80 percent of the class graduated between 2.9 and 3.1. But, these days, if you tell someone that you graduated from UVA with a 3.0 grade point average, they're going to think you're a terrible student, whereas back then, that was the norm.
The other thing is, I think the average now is 3.5—it's between 3.3 and 3.7. I don't even know what it is, but I've grown so confused by what grade point averages mean in law school. I've literally reviewed more than half a million résumés; at least, that's what I have in our database. Anyhow, you just can't make sense of it.
So, 4.0 is a great score, or 3.7 in college is also great. I don't think there's as much great inflation in college. So, I think it's okay to list it.
About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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