A criminal lawyer – sometimes called a prosecutor or a barrister – is someone who represents people accused of committing crimes in court. Their job is to fight for justice on behalf of their clients, arguing the facts and the law in order to protect their client’s liberty or minimise the penalties they face. Criminal lawyers need a combination of legal and non-legal skills, including critical thinking, interpersonal and written communication, to be successful. They also need to be able to handle stress and pressure well, as they may find themselves facing life-changing cases with very serious consequences for their clients.
Those interested in becoming a criminal lawyer usually take a law degree, which will give them the foundation they need. They can then go on to study for a master’s degree in law (LLM), or for an advanced degree known as a Doctor of Laws (JD) if they want to teach or conduct research in their chosen area. In the UK, there is also the option to complete a legal trainee scheme through the Crown Prosecution Service.
When looking for a criminal lawyer, it is important to choose an attorney who specialises in criminal defense. Some attorneys practice multiple areas of law, and may not understand the nuances involved in a criminal case well enough to ensure that your rights are fully protected. It is also important that they have experience working in the court where your case will be heard, as courts have different procedures and staff.