A criminal defense lawyer requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.
To become a criminal defense lawyer the first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree. After that, three years of law school to obtain a Juris Doctor degree are necessary. Criminal defense attorneys must also pass the state bar exam.
Criminal defense lawyers represent clients or organizations who have been accused of criminal misconduct. Criminal defense lawyers employed by the government are known as public defenders. A criminal defense lawyer researches, prepares and argues a case on the behalf of a client in order to defend them from the criminal charges. Like all attorneys, they must earn a bachelor’s degree, then complete three years of law school, specializing in criminal defense, before taking their state’s bar exam. The job of a criminal defense lawyer can pay well and may be prestigious, but the work is often stressful and the hours can be long and irregular.