If youâ€™re looking for a career that provides you with both a sense of justice and a great paycheck, criminal law may be right up your alley. But to be successful in this field, youâ€™ll need a deep understanding of the laws that govern our society, as well as a strong desire to help others navigate the criminal justice system.
If Youâ€™re Interested in Becoming a Criminal Lawyer
The first step to becoming a criminal lawyer is to earn your bachelorâ€™s degree, which should be a major in criminal justice or another legal field. After youâ€™ve earned your bachelorâ€™s degree, youâ€™ll need to attend law school. Typically, the first two years of law school will be spent in classes that teach you the fundamentals of the American legal system.
Youâ€™ll also need to take a number of advanced courses that cover topics such as evidence, courtroom procedure, and constitutional law. Additionally, youâ€™ll want to study and practice oral advocacy skills, which will help you prepare for your future as a defense attorney.
A criminal defense attorney often works on several cases at a time, so itâ€™s important to be able to focus on each case in a timely manner. Youâ€™ll need to be able to quickly and efficiently gather evidence and evidence-related information, as well as interview witnesses and conduct interrogations.
Having good communication skills is also essential, especially as a criminal lawyer will be required to interact with clients on a regular basis and communicate with judges and other lawyers during and outside of the courtroom. Attention to detail is also crucial, as criminal cases can be won or lost due to small factual details.
Once youâ€™ve obtained your law degree, youâ€™ll need to pass the bar exam in order to become licensed to practice in the state you wish to practice in. The bar examination is a rigorous process that requires you to demonstrate your knowledge of the legal system and the ability to represent clients in court. Recommended this site medical malpractice lawyer .
Your first job after graduating from law school will probably be working as a clerk or associate in a law firm. This can be a good place to start, as youâ€™ll get your foot in the door and learn how a law firm runs. Youâ€™ll also get to see how the other attorneys work, and can decide if this is a good fit for you.
To further develop your skills as a criminal attorney, you should consider getting an internship with a public defender or with a judge who deals with criminal cases. This will allow you to see the full spectrum of a criminal defense attorneyâ€™s duties and gain insight into how these professionals operate.
Youâ€™ll likely also have the opportunity to volunteer or pursue other forms of pro bono work before securing your first criminal defense job. You can do this by reaching out to organizations that seek assistance from criminal defense attorneys, including religious charities and immigration organizations. You can also try to find court-appointed work, especially if your state doesnâ€™t have a public defender office or has one that is insufficiently funded.