Is Criminal Law the Right Career for Me?
Don't let the television shows fool you; a career as a criminal lawyer is exciting, but it entails a lot more than dramatic courtroom appearances. That said, this is an exciting and extremely rewarding career for those who possess certain interests and skills. Answer the questions below to see if you're a good fit.
|Are you a powerful orator?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong interpersonal skills?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy research?||Yes or No|
|Are you prepared for extensive post-secondary education?||Yes or No|
|Are you compassionate?||Yes or No|
|Is your appearance important to you?||Yes or No|
|Are you a skilled negotiator?||Yes or No|
|Are you self-confident?||Yes or No|
|Are you persuasive?||Yes or No|
|Are you a competitor?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to multi-task?||Yes or No|
Why Do These Qualities Matter?
Are you a powerful orator?
Not all criminal cases end up in court but, when they do, the defendant's outcome relies heavily on a criminal lawyer's oratory skill in presenting convincing arguments.
Do you have strong interpersonal skills?
Criminal lawyers work closely with other people, often relying on the relationships they build with them. In this career, you will need outstanding interpersonal skills to interact daily with clients, police, witnesses, colleagues, judges and juries.
Do you enjoy research?
Successful criminal lawyers rely heavily on their ability to conduct legal research to find relevant rulings that support their defenses, and to investigate the details of prosecutors' cases against their clients.
Are you prepared for extensive post-secondary education?
To become a criminal lawyer, you must earn a bachelor's degree and a law degree. This typically means at least seven years of post-secondary education.
Are you compassionate?
Criminal lawyers must have and demonstrate compassion not only for their clients but, when investigating a case and appearing before a jury, also for the victims of their clients' alleged crimes.
Is your appearance important to you?
In a courtroom, a criminal lawyer's appearance and demeanor influence a jury's opinion and level of trust.
Are you a skilled negotiator?
In this career, you will be negotiating on a daily basis with everyone from prosecutors and judges to reluctant witnesses in a case. You will need the ability to weigh your desired outcome against the other party's and reach a middle ground.
Are you self-confident?
Even the best criminal lawyers lose cases. They also may face public criticism for those they win. In both instances, you will need the self-assuredness to stand up for your work and confidently move on to new cases.
Are you persuasive?
To win court cases, criminal lawyers must persuade juries to believe their arguments more than those of prosecutors.
Are you a competitor?
Successful criminal lawyers thrive on the competition they face in every courtroom, enjoy the challenge of an argument, and are perseverant in their quest to win.
Are you able to multi-task?
Criminal lawyers usually work on several cases simultaneously. Given that each case requires an attorney to conduct legal research, follow up on police reports, interact with clients and witnesses, and, at times, appear in court, the ability to multi-task is critical for a criminal lawyer.
What Are My Next Steps?
If you answered affirmatively to many of these questions, criminal law may be a wise career choice for you. While completing educational requirements will take time, rest assured: job opportunities for qualified lawyers are expected to grow at a steady rate of about 6% during the next decade.