Becoming a lawyer is a lifelong dream for many people. In order to become a federal criminal defense lawyer, it is important to understand both the educational steps you must take to achieve you goal, as well as what kind of work you will likely do as a defense attorney. To learn more about how to become an attorney and what life is like for a federal criminal defense lawyer, keep reading.
1) Education First In order to become a top criminal defense attorney, first you have to make sure you prioritize education from the very beginning. During high school, position yourself to get into a good college, preferably with good financial aid. During college, make sure your choose your classes, extra-curricular activities, and internships to allow you to get into a top law school. Once you are in law school, pick clerkship opportunities that will help you form connections with the best criminal defense attorney in your area. Making sure that you keep your goal of becoming a federal criminal defense lawyer in mind, you can work to put yourself in the best position as possible.
2) Stay Up to Date A big part of working at a criminal defense firm is making sure you are aware of the changes in the field, as well as continuing to grow your expertise in local laws. If you work on DUI cases, make sure you know the basics. Laws vary state to state, but in Ohio, for example, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .02 percent if you are under 21. Also in Ohio, a single conviction can result in jail time from six months to three years. Keep up to date on changing laws and cases in your area.
3) Support Your Clients Working with your clients is a crucial part of being a top criminal defense attorney. For your DUI clients, this may mean analyzing videos, contacting witnesses, and challenging breathalyzer results. It may also mean being heavily involved with law enforcement. One important role of attorneys is offering their clients moral support. It is typically a very stressful situation when a person has to seek the assistance of a defense attorney, and being understanding and kind is a huge advantages.
4) Remain Ready While your day-to-day as a defense attorney may consist mostly of DUI charges and small crimes, you also need to always be ready to take on the next big case. Big cases may require you to completely shift your focus, so it is a good idea to always keep a balanced caseload. It’s also important to make sure you have a good team of assistants working for you to help make sure that your skills are dedicated to the things that matter the most.
Fulfilling a dream to become a federal criminal defense attorney is a long, and sometimes arduous, process. But if you take steps from early on to make the right choices in education and internships, and make sure you stay up to date on the latest in the legal field, achieving your goal is well within reach.