5 Reasons to Become a Defense Attorney
While there are multiple types of law you can practice after graduating from law school and passing the bar, you may want to look at some of the top reasons to become a defense attorney.
The criminal justice system in America relies heavily on both defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys. Prosecutors are the ones who bring forth evidence to charge a suspected criminal, while a defense attorney attempts to defend that person and show why the individual is not guilty. Working as a defense attorney is a good option for those who want to help others.
Follow the Constitution
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives all American citizens the right to legal counsel and legal representation. Working as a defense attorney gives you the chance to learn more about constitutional law and to follow the standards put forth in that document. While you may work with poor clients, you can also work with wealthier clients too.
Protect the Rights of Others
One of the top reasons to become a defense attorney is because you have the chance to protect the rights of others. Laws require that prosecutors gather enough evidence to present to a judge and jury that proves without a reasonable doubt that a suspected criminal is guilty. As a defense attorney, you need to show that your client is innocent or that there is not enough evidence to prosecute. You essentially protect the rights of clients from criminal prosecution.
Make More Money
Defense attorneys can make quite a bit of money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median salary for lawyers is nearly $116,000 a year. Those making the highest salaries are those working for private firms and in private practice. The clients who come to you have the money necessary to pay your costs as well as the cost of hiring any experts to work on that case. You can also work for a local agency that provides free or reduced cost legal services for clients who make less money.
Have More Flexibility
During your time in law school, you’ll hear horror stories about what it’s like working in a law firm as a recent graduate. You’ll hear about attorneys working 60 hours or more a week and how new lawyers seldom have time for themselves. One of the reasons to become a defense attorney though is that defense attorneys often have more flexible schedules than other lawyers do. Once you gain more experience, you can decide which cases you want to take on and how you want to divide up the work. You can use associates and others in your practice to prepare for that case without that case taking over your life.
Help Those Who Cannot Help Themselves
One of the top reasons to become a defense attorney is because you’ll have the chance to help others who cannot help themselves. Working in a legal aid office or for a civil rights organization lets you work on cases that involve an individual charged with a crime who does not have the financial means to hire a lawyer. These clients may suffer from mental diseases, have a lack of education or have a history of criminal activities in the past. With your help, they can escape their criminal charges.
Criminal defense lawyers typically work at least 40 hours a week, but longer hours are common. Additionally, work hours may be irregular because evenings and weekends may be required by clients or law firms. New criminal defense lawyers usually join up with an existing firm; however many go on to open up their own firms. Criminal defense lawyers regularly travel to courtrooms, law libraries, prisons, hospitals, offices and the homes of clients.
Research and case preparation are the two main duties performed outside of actual trials. Criminal defense lawyers examine evidence, laws and statues, and past judicial rulings in order to build up the strength of their arguments. Once all this research is gathered, a criminal defense lawyer prepares it by creating an effective argument strategy for the courtroom. When in the courtroom, a criminal defense lawyer must constantly adapt and choose the most effective argumentative methods available to them in order to win a case.
- Conduct research and analyze a case to determine a probable outcome and devise an effective strategy to defend your client/s in court.
- Interpret laws for clients and help them to understand their legal options.
- Aim to resolve cases as quickly and favorably as possible.
- Represent clients at arraignments, hearings, and court trials.
- Present evidence to a judge and/or jury should the case go to trial.
- Prepare and draft legal documents, including legal briefs and appeals.
- Negotiate plea negotiations, punishments, and settlements.
- Undergo ongoing training to stay updated about changes and new developments in the legal field.
- Conduct yourself in an ethical and professional manner at all times.
WHAT QUALITIES SHOULD A PERTH CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER HAVE?
Communication – The interaction between you and your lawyer is extremely important. It’s vital that you have a criminal lawyer who is easily approachable and can communicate legal advice to you honestly and in a way that you clearly understand. Your criminal lawyer should be a good listener, as he is a speaker, so your queries and concerns can be considered and properly answered. Effective communication with your lawyer will assist you to understand of the law as it relates to your charges, the plea options available to you, the court procedure, and the potential legal issues that may arise during the court process. Good communication facilitates a client-lawyer relationship built on confidence and trust.
Understanding – The criminal lawyer should be understanding and empathetic to the stressful and emotional impact that the criminal charges are taking on you. The lawyer should have respect for your reputation, concern for your safety and well- being, as well as concern for the direction that your case is headed. The criminal lawyer should ensure that you understand what measures can be taken to minimise public exposure and to maintain privacy during the court process.
Consideration & Preparation – A criminal lawyer should carefully consider the evidence giving rise to the factual allegations of the criminal charges and provide you with honest advice about your case. The lawyer should be thorough and detailed in the preparation of your case for trial and consider all possible defences that may be raised at the trial.
Representation – The criminal defence lawyer should be a good speaker and maintain commitment, determination and focus to achieve the best possible result in court for you. The representation should be strategic in its approach. The defences to your charge should also be communicated and presented in a way that is clearly understood by a Judge or Jury.
Can a lawyer get you out of anything, as long as you haven’t talked or incriminated yourself?
Absolutely not. If there is evidence against you which proves the case, then there is evidence against you which proves the case. If there is enough evidence, even if you never say a word, then you might still be convicted. There have been times when very good lawyers in combination with just the right jury have allowed people to be acquitted of crimes that they were clearly guilty of. But those are a combination of a lot of skill on the part of the attorneys, (often) a lot of money on the part of the client, a lot of luck on the part of picking the right jury, and frequently, mistakes on the part of the prosecution.