The criminal law career path is an interesting one, but becoming a criminal defense attorney is not as easy as it may appear to be in films and TV shows. A defense lawyer has many responsibilities and needs to take them seriously. In fact, if you act like the lawyers in Hollywood, you risk being an accused lawyer who broke the law yourself.
If you hope to become an attorney for criminal cases, you need to keep in mind that many people will think you’re a villain as well. You must have thick skin in this career. It will take many years before you’re at that place where you can feel you’re an accomplished criminal defense attorney, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment.
There are many law degree requirements that need to be met before you can graduate and join other defense attorneys in representing criminal cases. It takes a lot of hard work, many late nights of study, and can be quite stressful. However, once you’ve graduated, you can become the attorney you’ve dreamt of being, and chase your dreams as a legal eagle.
So you’ve decided to go to law school. Good choice — now it’s time to decide what kind of law you want to practice. What about criminal law? Read on to find out all about criminal lawyers and what they do every day.
How do you become an attorney for criminal defendants?
First, attend college and graduate with a four-year degree. After that, you’ll need to spend three more years studying law at an accredited law school. After you pass the bar, you can begin representing clients, including criminal defendants.
Who’s the best criminal defense attorney in America?
There’s no one best lawyer for criminal cases, mostly because of the variety of criminal matters that require subspecialization. Defending white-collar clients requires a different skill set than representing individuals charged with sexual assault.
How much can I earn as a criminal lawyer?
How much you earn depends on factors such as where you work and the complexity of your cases. Some criminal defense attorneys choose to specialize in representing clients charged with driving under the influence, and others opt to concentrate on complex financial crimes. If you’re interested in criminal law but can’t see yourself working as a defense attorney, there are also opportunities to work as a prosecutor.
Becoming a lawyer is a long and strenuous process. For the right person, however, the wait is well worth it. It take a very trusting person to become a criminal defense lawyer, and there are some hard steps that one needs to take in order to get there. This is how to become a criminal defense attorney:
Obtain a Four-Year Degree
The first step towards practicing criminal law it by earning a four-year degree fron an accredited institution. You do not need to declare a specific major, however, some majors may be more useful than others in the long-run. Legal studies, naturally, is a great major to get a degree in in order to move on towards law school, as is criminology. Many other law students also graduate with undergraduate degrees in philosophy, journalism, political science, among others.
The most important step in an undergraduate career is to maintain a high GPA, as the law school admission boards look hard into your grades, as well as the difficulty of your course load.
Take the LSAT
The LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test, is a standardized examination that is necessary to take in order to complete any law school application. Students often take months to study for the exam, and often take it more than once in order to get the best possible score. Different law schools require different ranges of scores in order to consider admission. The more time is spent preparing, the better the chances are of receiving a higher score and being considered for more schools.
Complete Law Degree Requirements
After being admitted to the law school of your choosing, you must complete a number of degree requirements. You will need to learn a variety of law aspects that may or may not pertain to criminal law, although that area is very well covered. During your second and third year you will be able to select an area of concentration that will help you become an expert in the field. You may also apply for internships with criminal defense firms in order to expand your experience.
After sufficiently completing the requirements, usually within three years, you will be granted the degree of Juris Doctor.
Even after passing many tests in school, once you’ve earned your law degree, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which tests your knowledge of law ethics, as well as state?s bar examination, which tests your knowledge of the material you learned in law school, as well as the material required by your specific stat of practice.
After completing all of the above requirements and receiving passing scores on both the MPRE and the state bar exam, you are ready to practice criminal law. For more information see this.