All You Need to Know About Becoming a Criminal Lawyer
April 8, 2021
Whether you grew up watching law documentaries or have your loved ones say you’d make a good lawyer, becoming a criminal lawyer takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication. The hard work translates to a lucrative career afterward, especially with the correlation between criminal law and American governance and democracy. Are you looking to get into law school or delve into Canyon State Law serving Chandler, AZ? We have compiled a detailed post on becoming a criminal lawyer and the exciting ventures that lie ahead. Take a look.
What is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is a framework of laws dealing with the punishment of persons who commit crimes. The government comprises the criminal prosecution and is responsible for determining whether an individual will be punished for a certain crime. This crime has to be an act or omission that violates a statutory law or regulation prohibiting the same.
As a criminal lawyer, you may find yourself prosecuting lawbreakers, defending persons who have been accused of committing crimes, or any other tasks within those lines. Your work will always resonate with societal standards and the administration of justice. Criminal law differs from other forms of law mainly because of how the crimes are perceived. Crimes that have been committed against a certain individual are regarded as offenses against the state.
Some criminal lawyers will tell you that their careers feel like detective work. That is because criminal law is not entirely black and white. Numerous gray areas call upon you to demonstrate a standard and figure out how it relates to your case. You have to constantly think and research outside your comfort zone to determine what aspects hurt or help your case and how you can use them to your advantage.
How to Become a Criminal Lawyer?
If you have your sights on any legal profession, enrolling in law school is inevitable. You will be required to complete several mandatory and elective courses. Some of them will equip you with the workings of the criminal law practice. All accredited law schools offer a first-year course that covers the basics of criminal law. This course usually focuses on two crucial crimes: homicide and sexual assault.
In homicide/murder, you will familiarize yourself with the applicable statutes, various degrees of murder, and the elements of proof that go into determining whether one is innocent or guilty. The course provides a foundation for more comprehensive criminal law knowledge later in your studies. You also learn about the laws on sexual assault and how they have evolved. The class also touches on mitigating factors and possible defenses for these crimes.
You will be intrigued to learn that criminal law elements are alike worldwide, with slight variations when it comes to statutory regulations. A criminal lawyer doesn’t just study the law and show up in court. You will find yourself constantly working with defendants, victims, family members, and loved ones or organizations.
Upper-level classes allow you to broaden your knowledge with courses such as trial practice, juvenile law, prosecutorial ethics, mental health law, and other classes. This stage also comprises action-oriented learning with internships, law school clinics, mock trial/moot court, and many more. All this leads up to getting your Juris Doctor (JD) after completion of your studies. If you hope to follow criminal law, all you need is your JD and passing your bar exam to practice.
Characteristics of a Good Criminal Lawyer
Criminal law is as much about skills as it is about personality. While some are born with the following skills, others have to cultivate them to unleash the best criminal lawyer they can be:
- Working well under pressure
- Impeccable communication skills
- Attention to even the slightest details
- Ability to think unconventionally
- Fundamental data management solutions
- Capability to maintain an unbiased stance to ensure fair defense
- Excellent research and analytic skills
- Ability to utilize limited resources innovatively
Networking is also an essential aspect of building your career as a criminal lawyer. You can do this by looking for a mentor, speaking to law school alumni, and proactively attending seminars, webinars, and professional events touching on criminal law. These activities can help fuel your passion and give you a more realistic overview of the practice.
Criminal lawyers can work as public defenders, defense attorneys, or prosecutors. You can also choose to become a judge or join politics later in your career. Becoming a criminal lawyer is no mean feat, but the rewards are well worth it.