Becoming A Criminal Defense Lawyer? Everything You Need to Know 

 January 30, 2022


If the criminal defense is what you are interested in, it’s important to first determine if criminal law as a whole is something that truly sparks your interest and curiosity. Criminal lawyers represent individuals who have been accused of criminal activity or those who have been wrongfully convicted of criminal wrongdoing. Oftentimes, criminal defense lawyers work to protect the accused’s rights and freedom. The criminal justice system can be a scary place for an individual accused or suspected of criminal wrongdoing. If this is your passion, you may be wondering what criminal how to become one. Below are things you need to know to achieve a career in that path.

Attend law school

To practice criminal defense, future criminal defense lawyers must attend criminal law school or criminal justice school. You can find law degrees at criminal law schools that offer a Juris Doctor (JD) or a Bachelor of Laws (LLB). There are also criminal law schools that offer Master in Law (LLM) degrees to criminal lawyers who wish to not only practice criminal law but gain further criminal justice knowledge. Depending on where you decide to attend criminal law school or criminal justice school, these programs can prepare prospective criminal lawyers for criminal trials by teaching courses such as constitutional law, criminal evidence code, and criminal procedure code.

The criminal law school or criminal justice school that you attend should be affordable, not only money-wise but through offering criminal scholarships to criminal lawyers. Many criminal law schools and criminal justice schools offer scholarships, grants, and criminal tuition assistance to individuals who plan on becoming criminal defense attorneys for the indigent. Aspiring criminal lawyers can also take advantage of criminal law workshops, criminal summer programs, and criminal externships to gain criminal experience.

Gain Criminal Law Experience

It’s best to gain criminal law experience in all aspects of criminal defense practice, including criminal appeals, criminal misdemeanor, and criminal felony cases. If you are just starting, it may be beneficial to begin your career by working with an established criminal defense attorney before branching off into your solo or small firm practice. Individuals who work as criminal defense lawyers should take pleasure in criminal law and criminal procedure. They must be able to defend individuals who have been accused of criminal wrongdoing and understand criminal charges, criminal investigations, and criminal punishment. Criminal lawyers often work long hours; if they do not enjoy criminal law or criminal trials, their motivation to continue representing such cases may quickly fade.

Pass Criminal Law Exams


Depending on whether you are interested in criminal defense practice or a criminal appellate practice, there are specific examinations that future criminal lawyers must pass before being admitted to the bar. The General Bar Exam is an exam that evaluates entry-level criminal lawyers. It tests criminal law, criminal evidence code, criminal procedure code, and criminal trial issues. Federal criminal defense attorneys must pass the General Bar Exam as well as the United States Federal Court Exam to be admitted into states that accept it.

Obtain Criminal Licenses & Memberships

Once criminal lawyers have obtained their criminal law degree or criminal justice degree, they must consider criminal licenses that are specific to their state. In addition to being a criminal defense attorney, some criminal lawyers take on the role of a criminal notary public. A criminal notary public is an individual who can administer oaths and witness signatures. These criminal lawyers must carry criminal licenses with them, which they need to renew yearly. Some lawyers become criminal members of criminal law associations or criminal bar associations. Such associations can provide lawyers with support, professional tools, and professional recognition.

Network & Market Yourself As A Criminal Defense Lawyer

Once you have passed the necessary examinations, criminal lawyers must take steps to market themselves in their field. You can network with other criminal defense attorneys or appellate attorneys,  judges, prosecutors, and criminal public defenders through bar associations. These organizations often hold various events where criminal lawyers can get together collectively. They are also helpful for obtaining referrals from friends who are already criminal lawyers, criminal defense attorneys, or criminal appellate attorneys.

Establish your criminal law firm or criminal law office

Once criminal lawyers have successfully passed the Criminal General Bar Exam and obtained criminal licenses & criminal memberships, they can now open their criminal law firms or criminal law offices. Criminal defense attorneys often rely on word-of-mouth referrals from lawyers who have continued to grow their criminal law practice. These lawyers can stand out in their field by making sure that they provide clients with outstanding representation, support, and guidance throughout their court proceedings.

Being a criminal lawyer is not easy. Criminal lawyers are often required to work long criminal hours, handle difficult criminal cases and deal with To clients who do not always have criminal funds available to them. Despite the challenges, They earn excellent criminal incomes and many criminal law firms offer outstanding benefits for their employees. If you plan on becoming a criminal lawyer, make sure that you are prepared to commit yourself to criminal law.

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