criminal defense lawyer

Education, experience, and skills needed to become a criminal defense lawyer

 If you grew up watching crime procedurals and court dramas, there is a high chance that you are interested in the legal field. With prosecutors, defendants, and judges, there are many different occupations within the legal field. However, one of the most rewarding jobs in the legal world is a criminal defense lawyer.

A criminal defense lawyer can help a defendant get off from the convicted charges, helping thousands of innocent people avoid unwarranted jail time by providing the evidence of the case, showing eyewitness reports, including testimonials, and the background of the defendant to provide a foolproof and comprehensive argument.

If this sounds like the job for you, here is the background you need to make sure you qualify for this important position in the legal world.

become a criminal defense lawyer

How to become a criminal defense lawyer

Although criminal law is tough, requires thousands of hours of studying, and passing intense exams, becoming a criminal defense lawyer is well worth the process. If you want to grow up and work in a reputable law firm, such as Spodek Law Group, you need to put in the work during school and your work experience to ensure you can make it as a trustworthy criminal lawyer.

First, we need to know what a criminal lawyer is to understand why you want to be one. If a person commits a crime they need to be defended in court. A crime refers to any act that brings harm to a person or property, which is a direct offense against the state. In this case, the prosecutor will be defending the interest of the people and the government, while the defense lawyer is arguing on the side of the defendant.

To become a criminal defense lawyer, you need to enter and graduate law school. Those in law school will have to take classes directly related to criminal law, combined with other electives and prerequisites to ensure they receive a well-rounded education.

Some of the basics that are covered during a criminal law course include the details of murder/homicide crimes, learning about the statutes of limitations and degrees of murder, defenses to crimes, and elements needed to prove innocence or guilt. After the basic course is completed, those interested in criminal law will typically take more advanced classes, such as juvenile law, white-collar crime, or prosecutorial ethics. Additionally, it’s essential to stay informed about continuing education requirements, and resources like NBI offer comprehensive guidance on New York CLE requirements for aspiring criminal defense lawyers.

After classes have been completed, students can decide to continue their education by earning their Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, or Doctor of Science of Law. Usually, most students just obtain the Juris Doctor so they can practice in a court of law, along with passing the infamous bar exam. Once they have completed all necessary courses, they can apply for a job at a reputable law firm, like Spodek Law Group.


If becoming a criminal defense lawyer sounds like something you might be interested in, you need to make sure you choose a college that has criminal law courses, crime classes, and advanced level courses that directly relate to crimes and offenses. By learning how to categorize crimes, learn about the different defenses, and the various categories of crime, you can pinpoint the exact type of law that you want to focus on.

For criminal law, you can become a criminal defense attorney to help those convicted of crimes age their case in a court of law to prove their innocence.