Public defender Resume Examples

You can view our resume examples to provide inspiration for an impressive public defender resume

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Professional Resume Samples for Public defender

Public defender Resume Tips and Ideas

A career as a public defender is just as fulfilling as it is challenging. Your primary role is to offer legal counsel to individuals who cannot afford representation. An effective public defender resume is the first critical item you need to get yourself a job. Your resume should demonstrate your ability to carry out research, apply legal principles, and interpret them to your clients. Generally, it should show your aptitude to effectively handle these tasks:

  • Represent clients in criminal investigative proceedings
  • Offer legal representation, advice, and consultation
  • Gather evidence and facts and preparing a defense
  • Arranging for bail and bonds to be posted
  • Attend sentencing and negotiating plea bargains

As a public defender, your recruiters will want to see a degree in law or Juris Doctorate as academic qualifications, plus previous experience in trial and criminal law. If you possess the ability to carry out the duties above and see justice through, then all you need is a professional resume. You can draft one with our online resume builders, which will take less than half an hour to design an appealing, yet formal resume.

Top Tips

  • Reverse chronological.
  • You can refer to our online resume templates to avail more information on the chronological resume format
  • Neat resume design
  • Formal appearance
  • Margins and white space
  • Resume fonts types and size
  • Subheadings and bullets
  • Columns




  • Contact information
  • Resume professional summary
  • Work history
  • Education background
  • Additional skills and certifications
  • Professional affiliations


  • Volunteer work
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Foreign languages
Resume Length

1 page


As a public defender, you need to write a resume whose format will be easy to follow and will highlight your career through the justice system and in criminal law. The reverse chronological order is an excellent choice for a professional public defender resume. This resume format is universally recognized by HR practitioners and managers, which means that they will know where to look for the information they deem vital. This format is also recommended for featuring the work experience section at the beginning, which makes it easy to note. The chronological format is also ATS systems-friendly.


Public defender resumes, just like other documents used in law, are generally expected to be neat, well-structured, and formal. However, formal does not necessarily mean drab. You can use one color as a column background to make your resume easier on the eye and to make it stand out.

White space is also vital in your document; it helps the resume appear neat and comfortable to read. A one-inch margin around your resume will drastically increase white space.

For consistency and formality, choose one non-oriental resume font like Cambria, Calibri, Georgia, or Arial in sizes 11-13. Also, use subheadings to indicate the start of each section and bulleted points rather than paragraphs to make the resume easier to follow.

When you finish designing and typing the document, read through it to eliminate typographical errors, and then save it in PDF format to conserve your resume layout.


A photo is rarely required while applying for a public defender’s position. Including photographs in your resume is ill-advised because it may expose you to hire biases.

Sections of a Resume

Resume sections are areas in the resume that hold specific aspects of your career and professional attributes. These sections are designed to provide the recruiters with a perception of your abilities and qualities, which is why including all of them is important. Below are the resume sections that are most critical in a public defender resume:

  • Contact information: Include your name (without a title), location (city, state, ZIP code), and contacts used for work purposes (email and phone number) for the panel to contact you
  • Resume professional summary: a 3-4 line paragraph at the beginning of the resume in which you introduce yourself to the panelist and show your professional attributes, specialization, and time spent in the workforce
  • Work history
  • Academic background
  • Additional skills and certifications: any other courses that are relevant and may help edge out the competition
  • Professional affiliations: professional unions and associations that you participate in.

You can add the volunteer experience or internships you have had to act as work experience if you have little experience. Your hobbies and interests are also optional, but they will show the panel your personality and temperament types. They can be helpful if they align with the CSR interests of your recruiters.

Resume Length

A public defender’s resume should be one letter page long. This ensures that you keep the document as brief as possible and do not overwhelm the recruiter with excessive information. Use columns to fit all your details onto the A4-size page.

Public defender Resume Section Headings

Below are additional tips to help you write the work experience and education sections, which may be the focus of your recruiters’ attention:

Work experience

As mentioned earlier, the work experience section is the main focus of the recruitment process. Applicants with extensive experience in criminal law will most likely get preference for a public defender’s position, so indicate all the positions you have worked in criminal law, and demonstrate your expertise in the judiciary. This is helpful if you have extensive experience; only include the most recent and relevant stints. Moreover, the job requirements will act as a guide to help you fashion this section accordingly.

For each position you have held, (starting from the most recent); write the job title you held, the name and location of the employer, and the period of tenure. Highlight your roles and responsibilities in 5-7 bulleted points that are clear and straight to the point.


In your education section, you will highlight your academic qualifications, which are incredibly important in any law career. Your recruiters need to confirm that you are duly qualified for the job and that your theory is from an accredited institution. If you are writing a resume with little experience, write the relevant courses you took plus a stellar GPA to make your resume impressive. Put down your academic qualifications also in reverse chronological order by starting with the qualification (Ph.D. or Bachelors Degree), name and location of the university, and the years of study.

Public defender Resume Vocabulary & Writing Tips

Resume action verbs and vocabulary are essential in making your public defender resume stand out. They help each section appear less generic and more impressive. Below is a list of words that you can use to enrich your resume:

Words to Use

  • Criminal law
  • Court practices
  • Suppression motion
  • Pretrial discovery
  • trial
  • Judicial system
  • sentencing
  • pleas
  • appeals
  • motion
  • Bail/bond
  • Legal research
  • proceedings
  • witness
  • defense
  • client

Action Verbs

  • represent
  • interpret
  • negotiate
  • prepare
  • discuss
  • arrange
  • collaborate
  • supervise
  • attend
  • write
  • argue
  • develop
  • draft
  • interview
  • present
  • gather

Resume Samples

1. Candidate seeking public defender

Diligent and reliable criminal defense attorney with excellent research, communication, and interpersonal skills, and over ten years of experience in offering legal advice and working criminal cases. Possess a passion for appellate advocacy and are thus looking forward to obtaining a position in public defense.

  • Completed 4 years in the research department and wrote motions and writs in addition to attending training and offering trial support
  • Oversaw trial preparation and pretrial discoveries for case litigation
  • Conducted depositions, attended arraignments, reviewed warrants and affidavits, and negotiated plea deals for clients
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  • Experience
    10 years
  • Education
    Juris Doctorate

2. Candidate seeking assistant public defender position

Dedicated criminal defense attorney with a proven track record for excellent performance and remarkable communication and negotiation skills, and two years of experience and learning in criminal law. Looking forward to obtaining a position as an assistant public defender to develop my career.

  • Interviewed clients and witnesses and gathered the necessary evidence for each case
  • Clearly explained all available legal courses of action and their repercussions to clients
  • Drafted legal documents and briefs for clients
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  • Experience
    2 years
  • Certifications
    Licensed and admitted to the bar

Last modified on March 5th, 2020

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