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Learn the Ropes for Becoming a Professional Criminal Lawyer

A judges gavel

“What else is a criminal except for somebody who can’t function in a society” – Wendy Carr (Mind Hunter).

Crime, justice, and punishment- three words you understand at an early age. We grow up with the distinction between right and wrong to avoid social offenses and consequently severe penalties.

Crime dances around the fine line of morality, and how twisted that sense of morality determines the nature and the degree of the offense committed. Corruption of mind, soul, and the system is an inherent part of society. This dark reality has the charisma and magnetism to appeal to either one’s sense of justice or morbidity.

Our exposure to criminal law comes through the voracious consumption of books, TV shows, movies, and documentaries. However, what you see is mostly fluff and glamour for entertainment and often is misleading.

Criminal law is a tough nut to crack, but if you are passionate enough to take up the challenge, you’ll find nothing more rewarding than playing the vigilante you always dreamt of becoming. So, if you are confused about choosing criminal law as your career and how to excel at it- we’ve got you covered below.

Who is a Criminal Lawyer?

Criminal law is the administration of justice in society, upholding morals and punishing what crosses the bounds of jurisdiction. Criminal lawyers ensure that justice is served! They may prosecute individuals for breaking the laws or defend those accused of a crime.

What Type of a Criminal Lawyer to Become?

You can either be a Prosecuting Attorney, otherwise also known as a District Attorney. They represent the local, state, or federal governments in trials, evidence reviews, and court hearings of the crimes committed against the government.

Defense Attorneys are the second category of criminal lawyers. They defend the individual or organization accused of an alleged crime.

What do you require to become a Criminal lawyer?

Criminal law is research-intensive; it involves handling bulk information and sifting through redundant data, false evidence, case studies to connect the dots to the actual scenario. Suppose you want to be a successful criminal attorney. In that case, you need to have a bachelor’s in criminal justice and the ability to work under intense pressure.

But how long does it take to get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice before you lead an investigation? The typical time duration of the completion of your degree is four years. Although, how you choose to complete your program is up to you. Universities offer courses in different formats- part-time, on-campus, or online classes to facilitate the students. So, enroll in what suits you the best.

What Qualities Should You Possess and Polish to Excel?

When you are standing in front of a room full of jury and opposition, analyzing your every move, your clients entrust you with their life to bail them out, or those criminals you are trying to convict and throw behind bars, all entail immense responsibility and pressure.

Sure, you can gain knowledge through textbooks and practice becoming better. However, good prep alone may not prevent you from breaking out a sweat in the courtroom unless you possess the following skills to keep those nerves in check.

  • Quick reflexes– you should be quick to gauge a shift in perception/situation and manipulating it to your advantage or maneuver your client out of tight situations.
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • Good leadership skills
  • An open mind and the ability to think out of the box
  • Patience and good listening skills

Work on building a good personality. An authoritative aura and confidence will win you clients and cases.

Know Your Niche

During your bachelor’s, take advantage of the courses offered. Determine what tickles your fancy the most and research if it is the right one for you. Many law schools offer an array of intriguing courses, namely white-collar crime, forensics, investigative skill, cybercrime, racial crime, and prejudice.

Show interest in lectures, conduct discussions with your professors, and make the right decision for yourself.

Intern in Your Field of Criminology

While you can develop a sound understanding and a concrete foundation of the basics of criminal law, nothing compares to the real-life experience. Seize the opportunity to work alongside local judges, district and defense attorneys and learn from their invaluable experiences. Internships provide hands-on experience, develop a deeper understanding of your chosen field and ultimately make you better at presiding over cases or defending your clients.

Why People Need Criminal Lawyers? – Areas You Can Specialize in to Stay on Top

Law is extensive, but the general public blissfully stays ignorant of the most basic social norms. They will hire you to avoid the stress of dealing with the legalities and exposure to risk. At the same time, they can focus on their personal and professional lives. 

What Other Jobs Can You Pursue with a Degree in Criminal Justice? 

There are numerous other job opportunities to pursue based on your interests and skills, as mentioned below.

  • Government Pleader- They work on issuing plea bargains that help the convicted get a reduced potential sentence or drop specific allegations against the individual.
  • Lecturer- You can be the next Annalise Keating! Educate the masses to become successful attorneys. 

Final Words

Criminal justice is a dynamic career path. If you are willing to make a difference in society, step up and grab the opportunity. Becoming a professional criminal lawyer is not easy. It requires dedication and an understanding of top-level skills for handling cases in this field. Do your research to understand better criminal law and the career opportunities you can explore.


More on this topic:

Things to Look for When Hiring a Private Criminal Defense Attorney

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