How to Become a Defense Attorney

Picturing one’s self in legal defense of another is clearer when one knows how to become a defense attorney. People who have acquired sufficient professional legal training are mostly practicing attorneys. They are expected to use their knowledge and expertise in upholding the law.

What is a Defense Attorney?

Attorneys or lawyers in general practice can perform various functions in their profession including providing advise to clients regarding their legal rights and duties, handling estates and contracts, negotiating out-of-court settlements, and representing their clients before various administrative bodies specifically in courts. They can work for individuals, companies, or the government.

A defense attorney represents an accused person or the defendant in a criminal case. Representation is not merely limited to defending the innocent but as well as those who are perceived as guilty in the public eye. This is due to the presumption of innocence of all suspects until proven guilty. It should be noted that some of the most celebrated defense attorneys have successfully defended their clients who have already been judged guilty by public perception. The ability of the defense attorney to “sway” the jury into his line of argument is one of the most preferred capabilities from the view of the paying clients.

The decision as to whether to accept or not the request for representation in a legal proceeding is a personal matter decided upon by the defense attorneys themselves. The convincing prowess of a defense attorney comes with excellent communication and interpersonal skills as well as solid assertiveness and the ability to argue their handled cases confidently face to face with judges and juries. Defense attorneys handle criminal cases such as robbery, murder, fraud, assault, and many others.

Education and Training

Aspiring defense attorneys need to complete a bachelor’s degree and three additional years of law school. There are many possible choices for undergraduate study including political science, business, economics, history, philosophy, or English. Taking English as a minor for those who choose not to make it their major is highly recommended because of the need for excellent writing ability for success in law school.

The three-year post-graduate program in law school leads to the attainment of the juris doctorate degree. Courses typically included in the curriculum include criminal law, constitutional law, property, civil procedure, contracts, personal injury law, and legal methods. Students intending to become defense attorneys should provide special attention to courses in criminal law, constitutional law, criminal procedure as well as trial and appellate practice. Graduates will have to take and pass the State Bar Exams and the Multi-State Bar Exam.

Becoming a Defense Attorney

The job of the defense attorney is usually open to practicing lawyers who have the extensive experience in the practice of law. Getting the required experience can be started early through internships and volunteer work at law firms that specialize in criminal law. All criminal defense lawyers are required to regularly participate in continuing legal education programs not only to maintain their licenses but to keep their knowledge and skills current. The best opportunities are accessible to defense attorneys backed up by excellent academic records and extensive experience in actual court defense. That is how to become a defense attorney.