Monthly Archives: June 2012

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

attorneyHave you ever wondered what a criminal defense attorney does? Perhaps you’re looking for a rewarding career and would like to know what the duties and job description for this career might be.

Educational Requirements

Apart from an undergraduate degree, a criminal defense attorney will need to have a license and a juris doctorate. To qualify as this type of lawyer, it’s advisable to have plenty of clinical experience in criminal law.

Job Description

This type of legal advisor will be adept at representing their defendant in the court system. One of their requirements is to defend both juveniles and adults in a variety of legal venues.

This is a very busy career, as caseloads can mean juggling multiple priorities at any given time. Each case will probably be at a different stage depending on when the case was accepted. The representative will always be working on the defendant’s behalf and have their best interest at heart. Not only do they want to help their client, but they also want to uphold their own reputation as a successful criminal defense attorney.

One of the most fascinating and exciting parts of this occupation is the time spent gathering evidence. This can be in the form of interviewing eyewitnesses, obtaining police reports and performing other legal searches. It can be challenging for them to do all of the gathering of information needed on their own. Each office generally employs private investigators, paralegals, litigation consultants and other staff members to help them.

It’s Your Choice

Each case is subject to the discretion of each lawyer if he or she wants to represent the people involved. Some cases will not have enough evidence for a prosecution so it would be difficult to represent well.


The average yearly income of a criminal defense attorney can be as much as $80,000, depending on the area you practice in, but some make half that and some make much more. What constitutes a higher salary will be based on experience, time and success.

Job Outlook

Don’t expect to earn the huge salaries from the very start. A lawyer of this type usually has to begin as an associate at a firm, a public defender or a prosecutor. After these initial steps are taken, you can move up from a junior to a senior associate at a law firm or open your own office. The highest prestige comes when you accelerate to a full-fledged partner but competition is high for these positions.

The occupation of a criminal defense attorney is indeed a rewarding one. It is an occupation in which you will be called upon to help people every day. Some of those people will have already been accused of a crime and you may help to prosecute or defend them. Whatever dilemma they are in, it will be your job to represent them and help them during one of the most challenging times of their lives.