Criminal defense lawyers are responsible for representing clients who are charged with crimes in courts. They may represent clients who are charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses, such as drug-related crimes, murder, domestic violence, DUI, etc., and applicants must be a member of the Bar in their state of employment. Employers also require that their lawyers graduate from a school which is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).
To apply for a junior criminal defense lawyer position, prior experience as a law clerk or intern in a law office, such as a district attorney’s office, public defender’s office, or private law firm may be required, and some employers may promote interns to become criminal defense lawyers provided that they meet all requirements.
Interpersonal skills are important in this position to work well with judges, clients, witnesses, prosecutors, and judicial staff, and verbal and written communication skills are also important. Criminal defense lawyers must be able to write efficient legal briefs to effectively represent clients in court, and they also perform legal research, analyses, and motion writing. Flexibility is important for this job, as criminal defense lawyers must make appearances at various criminal courts within their state, and those who represent clients in federal court may spend a great deal of time away from home. Criminal defense lawyers must be reliable and able to work independently without any supervision, and the ability to speak a second language such as Spanish is also beneficial. To stay up-to-date with laws and regulations, they may also be expected to read relevant professional journals.
Criminal Defense Lawyer Tasks
Question witnesses, victims or others involved in the case.
Review reports, evidence, and conduct research.
Present cases in court representing the local, state or federal government.