Human Resource Management

HRM Guide World HRM Guide USA HRM Guide UK About HRM Guide Student HRM Jobs/Careers HR Updates Facebook
Search all of HRM Guide

The Different Areas of Law: A Career Guide on Becoming a Criminal Lawyer

Criminal Law

November 5 2019 - With so many different areas of law to choose from, you're probably feeling a bit overwhelmed if you're in law school and trying to decide. One type of lawyer that we're all familiar with is a criminal defense attorney.

Whether you're a fan of Law and Order, loved L.A. Law, or watched Saul Goodman religiously on Breaking Bad, you know about a defense attorney. If you want to make sure that everyone gets adequate representation, whether guilty or not, specializing in criminal law is a great option for you.

Keep reading to learn more about this specialty.

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

Criminal defense attorneys represent people who have been accused of a crime. There's generally two tracks you can take to becoming a defense attorney: work as a public defender or work in private practice.

A public defender is employed by the government (state or federal) and is appointed to represent defendants who are indigent, or can't afford an attorney on their own. Public defenders often have huge caseloads, as many defendants come from low socioeconomic statuses.

If you go into private practice, you'll be retained by clients who can pay for their own defense. You can be selective about the cases you take on and you often have many more resources to investigate the case, bring in expert witnesses, and have more time to devote to each case.

Job Requirements

Before heading to law school, you must have an undergraduate degree. Your major isn't that important, yet many students choose majors like pre-law, criminology, or criminal justice.

Many experts suggest focusing strong reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, rather than trying to learn specific legal content. You'll learn all of that in law school.

Working in any of the different areas of law will require you to earn your Juris Doctor (JD) degree, which can only be earned at an accredited law school. You'll take classes in criminal law, civil law, and electives of your choosing. Upon graduating from law school, you'll have to take the bar exam to become licensed in your specific state.

While in law school, it's beneficial to volunteer with a law clinic focused on criminal representation or trial advocacy.

Salary and Career Outlook

The median pay for lawyers is $120,000+ and the job outlook is strong. Of course, your pay will vary, depending on what kind of defense attorney you become. Public defenders generally earn less than defense attorneys in private practice though.

Pay will vary depending on what area of the country you're in as well. Bigger cities with a higher cost of living tend to have higher salaries while smaller cities often pay less, as it is cheaper to live there.

Which of the Different Areas of Law Will You Choose?

Criminal law is just one of the different areas of law that you can choose from. Time in law school, different classes, and volunteer and internship experiences will help you to decide which specialization you are most interested in.

If you found this useful, be sure to check out some of our other career-related articles.

More Career Articles



PHR/SPHR

PHR / SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Kit
by Sandra M Reed and James J. Galluzzo III

Must-have preparation for those looking to take the PHR or SPHR certification exams in order to strengthen their resume.
 


PHR Study Guide 2020-2021: PHR Certification Preparation and Practice Test Prep Questions for the Professional in Human Resources Exam


Essential HR

The Essential HR Handbook, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional
  This fully updated 10th anniversary edition is packed with information, tools, checklists, sample forms, and timely tips to guide you through the maze of personnel issues in today's complex business environment.



Successful Onboarding

Successful Onboarding: Strategies to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen
  Fact: 1/3rd of all external hires are no longer with the organization after 2 years. What can you do about it? In a word: onboarding.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


The HR Answer Book

The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals by Shawn A. Smith, Rebecca A. Mazin
  The HR Answer Book addresses 200 questions that every employer needs to deal with. Accessible and concise on-the-job companion.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Cdn dollars
Amazon.co.uk - UK pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros




HRM Guide makes minimal use of cookies, including some placed to facilitate features such as Google Search. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to the use of cookies. Learn more here

Contact
HR Directory
Privacy Policy

Anything But Work
British Isles
City Visit Guide
Job Skills
Copyright © 1997-2020 Alan Price and HRM Guide contributors. All rights reserved.