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Career as Criminal Lawyer

Criminal Lawyer

A criminal defence attorney, often known as a criminal lawyer, is a legal practitioner who specialises in defending persons or organisations accused of criminal offences. Their principal obligation is to preserve their clients' rights and guarantee a fair trial. A criminal lawyer's job description is as follows:



Legal Representation: Criminal attorneys represent persons or organisations that are facing criminal charges. They interview clients, compile case material, and evaluate the evidence against their clients.


Case Analysis: They meticulously examine the case's specifics, such as police records, witness testimonies, and any other pertinent evidence. They evaluate the prosecution's strengths and weaknesses and design a defence plan for their clients.

Legal Advice: Criminal attorneys give their clients legal advice, describing the charges against them, the probable repercussions, and the available legal remedies. Throughout the legal process, they assist their clients in understanding their rights and making educated decisions.  Based on their case study, prosecutors prepare a defense strategy specifically tailored to the client's circumstances. Interrogating witnesses, challenging the reliability of evidence, negotiating a plea bargain or preparing for trial may be part of that process.


Negotiations and Plea Bargains: In certain situations, criminal defence attorneys negotiate with prosecutors in order to obtain a plea deal, which can result in reduced charges or punishments for their clients. They fight for the greatest potential outcome for their clients.



Legal Research and Documentation: To grasp important laws, precedents, and regulations that pertain to their cases, criminal lawyers perform substantial legal research. To support their views, they create legal papers such as motions, briefs, and appeals.



Client Support: Throughout the legal procedure, criminal lawyers give emotional support and counsel to their clients. They communicate with customers on a regular basis, keep them up to speed on the status of their cases, and address any issues or queries they may have.



Legal Ethics: Criminal lawyers must follow professional and ethical guidelines. They must respect client confidentiality, prevent conflicts of interest, and adhere to fairness and justice standards. Criminal attorneys participate in continual professional development and education to keep current with changes in legislation and legal practises. Attending legal seminars, workshops, and reading pertinent publications are all part of this.

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Eligibility Criteria

Educational Prerequisites:


  • Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree in any discipline is required. While no specific college major is necessary, getting a degree in law or criminal justice may be advantageous to develop core understanding in the discipline.
  • Law School: Earn your Juris Doctor (J.D.) from a recognised law school. Law school normally requires three years of full-time study, or more if pursued part-time.
  • LSAT (Law School Admission Test): Take the LSAT, a standardised test used for law school admission. The LSAT evaluates critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension.
  • Law School Application: Submit your undergraduate transcripts, LSAT scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and any other needed materials to law schools. Each law school establishes its own admission standards, so ...

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Skills required for Course
  • Legal Knowledge
  • Analytical Skills
  • Research skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Communication

Types of Job Roles

As a criminal lawyer, you may be responsible for a variety of activities linked to defending clients accused of criminal offences. A criminal lawyer's typical employment responsibilities are as follows:


  • Legal Representation: Offer legal counsel to persons or organisations facing criminal accusations at various phases of the legal process, such as pretrial, trial, and appeals.
  • Case Analysis: Develop a strategic defence plan by thoroughly analysing the facts, evidence, and legal issues of the case. Identify viable defences, flaws in the prosecution's case, and chances to call evidence or witnesses into question.
  • Consultation with clients: Meet with clients to discuss their legal status, clarify the accusations against them, and give legal counsel. Assist clients in understanding their rights, potential implications, and legal choices. Represent clients in court processes such as arraignments, bail hearings, motion hearings, trials, and sentence. Present arguments, cross-examine witnesses, object to inadmissible evidence, and argue for the best interests of the client.
  • Negotiations & Plea Bargaining: Work with prosecutors to secure favourable plea deals for clients. Evaluate the prosecution's case, negotiate lower charges or fines, and advise clients on the merits and downsides of accepting plea bargains.
  • Legal study and Documentation: Conduct significant legal study to comprehend the applicable laws, legislation, regulations, and legal precedents. Prepare legal documentation to support the defence strategy, such as motions, briefs, and appeals.
  • Witness Preparation: Prepare clients and defence witnesses for in-court evidence. Conduct interviews, analyse statements, and assist them in properly presenting their testimony. Collaboration with expert witnesses, such as forensic specialists or medical professionals, to obtain specialised information or evidence that may be used to assist the defence plan.
  • Case Management: Manage all parts of the case, including document organisation and review, client contact, scheduling court appearances, and fulfilling deadlines.
  • Legal Ethics and Professional behaviour: Uphold the legal profession's ethical obligations, such as protecting client confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and adhering to professional standards of behaviour.
  • Continuing Education: Through continuous professional development and legal education programmes, you may stay up to speed on developments in criminal law, legal precedents, and new courtroom processes.
  • Client Support: Throughout the legal process, provide emotional support to clients and their families. Address their worries, answer their inquiries, and keep them updated on the status of the case.



  • Education: A bachelor's degree in any discipline is required. While no specific college major is necessary, studying law or criminal justice disciplines might be advantageous in establishing basic knowledge.
  • Law School: Earn your Juris Doctor (J.D.) from a recognised law school. Law school normally requires three years of full-time study, or more if pursued part-time. Take the Law School entrance Test (LSAT), a standardised test used for entrance to law schools. The LSAT measures critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension.
  • Law School Application: Submit your undergraduate transcripts, LSAT scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and any other needed materials to law schools. Each law school establishes its own admission standards, so do your study and select the institutions that correspond with your professional objectives.
  • Successfully finish the J.D. programme, which involves coursework in a variety of legal areas such as criminal law, constitutional law, evidence, and criminal process. Participate in criminal law internships, clinics, or externships to get practical experience.
  • After graduating from law school, aspiring criminal lawyers must take and pass the bar exam in the jurisdiction in which they wish to practise. The bar exam is a rigorous test evaluating legal knowledge andevaluates legal knowledge and legal concepts. It usually involves both a written portion and a multiple-choice portion.
  • Evaluation of Character and Fitness: Many jurisdictions require prospective attorneys to go through a character and fitness evaluation. This assessment looks at your moral character, integrity, and suitability to practise law. It might include a background check, fingerprints, and reference checks.
  • Admission to the Bar: After passing the bar test and passing the character and fitness examination, you can apply for admission to your jurisdiction's bar organisation. This includes completing an application, paying fees, and satisfying any further bar association criteria.
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE): After passing the bar exam, you must complete continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. CLE programmes assist attorneys with staying current on legal changes, new legal precedents, and advancements in the field of criminal law.



You need to study law before you can be a criminal defence attorney, in order to complete your legal education and the J.D.A. at an accredited juridical college. While it is not mandatory to study law, studies of certain areas can provide a solid base and help prepare you for your career in criminal law. We've put together a few suggested topics to think about:


  • Criminal Justice: A Criminal Lawyer deals with the laws of crimes, more often to defend and represent the accused in lawsuits. Famous criminal lawyers in India include Ram Jethmalani, Mukul Rohatgi, Shanti Bhushan, Kapil Sibal and many more. They have set standards for Criminal Law in India and hence many fancy this law specialization. Those who aspire to be criminal lawyers, have to cover a long path from studying the core subjects of Criminal law specialization to learning and practicing the key skills. 
  • Constitutional Law: Constitutional law is concerned with the ideas and interpretation of the United States Constitution, which serves as the foundation for criminal law. Understanding constitutional rights including due process, search and seizure, and accused rights is critical for criminal lawyers.
  • Criminal Law: This topic delves into the substantive law of criminal offenses, such as crime components, criminal culpability, defendefenses sentences. Criminal law studies will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the principles and concepts that govern criminal prosecutions.
  • Trial Advocacy: Enrolling in a trial advocacy course will help you acquire important courtroom abilities including presenting arguments, questioning witnesses, and delivering effective presentations. This hands-on experience can be beneficial for criminal lawyers who are involved in courtroom action.
  • Legal Research and Writing: All attorneys must be capable of doing legal research and writing. These courses will teach you how to locate and analyse legal materials, draught legal documents, and effectively communicate in writing. As a criminal lawyer, these abilities are essential for producing briefs, motions, and other legal papers.
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility: Understanding the legal profession's ethical duties and professional standards is critical for criminal lawyers. Client confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and the attorney's obligation are all issues covered in legal ethics classes.

Prep Books

  • "Indian Penal Code" by Ratanlal and Dhirajlal
  • "Code of Criminal Procedure" by R.V. Kelkar
  • "Law of Evidence" by Batuk Lal
  • "Criminal Law - Cases and Materials" by C.K. Takwani
  • "Criminal Major Acts" by LexisNexis
  • "Principles of Criminal Law" by Ratanlal and Dhirajlal
  • "Criminal Justice in India" by K.I. Vibhute
  • "Textbook on Criminology" by Sneh Lata Singhal


What does a criminal lawyer do?

A criminal lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in defending individuals or organizations charged with criminal offenses. They provide legal representation, counsel, and support to their clients throughout the entire criminal justice process.

How can one become a criminal lawyer?

To become a criminal lawyer, you typically need to follow these steps: a. Complete a bachelor's degree in any field. b. Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and apply to law school. c. Earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an accredited law school. d. Pass the bar exam in the state or jurisdiction where you plan to practice. e. Consider gaining experience through internships or clerkships in criminal law firms or public defender's.

What are the main responsibilities of a criminal lawyer?

The primary responsibilities of a criminal lawyer include: a. Analyzing the facts of the case and conducting legal research. b. Formulating defense strategies and building a strong case for the client. c. Negotiating with prosecutors for plea bargains if applicable. d. Representing clients in court during trials and hearings. e. Advising clients on their rights and potential legal consequences. f. Presenting evidence and cross-examining witnesses.