Law Degree Specialty
What is a Criminal Lawyer?
Criminal lawyers, also known as criminal defense lawyers or public defenders, defend individuals, organizations and entities that have been charged with a crime. Criminal lawyers handle many criminal cases, ranging from domestic violence crimes, sex crimes, violent crimes and drug crimes to driving under the influence.
- Investigate the case and interview witnesses
- Research case law, statutes, crime codes, and procedural law
- Build a defense and develop a case strategy
- Negotiate with the prosecution
- Draft, file, and argue motions
- Advocate for the defendant
- Draft, file, and argue appeals
Education & Experience
Must obtain a law degree and pass the bar examination in any state they plan to practice in. Some Criminal Lawyers earn a board certification from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC).
Criminal Lawyer Salaries
Public defender and non-profit salaries are usually in the range of $30,000-$50,000 per year. Criminal lawyers employed in law firms typically earn the most, whereas an experienced criminal lawyer can earn six figures.
Skills to Have
- excellent oral and written advocacy skills
- investigative and research skills
- strong creative thinking and analytical skills
- strong understanding of the law and common law practices
- excellent interpersonal skills