Many lawyers start out as associates in a law firm. Many of them eventually move on to partner status. Many others become law school instructors. Others open solo practices. Although the latter is the most rewarding option, many criminal lawyers choose to enter the corporate world. These lawyers are typically well-versed in legal concepts and have excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Ultimately, however, the success of their practice is based on their abilities to win cases.
A criminal justice lawyer’s salary varies from state to state, and even within a jurisdiction. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, attorneys make an average salary of $148,910 a year. However, lawyers who work for the government earn a lower salary than those working in private practice. Prosecutors are lawyers who argue on behalf of the state in court. They investigate crimes and interview witnesses to determine whether to pursue criminal charges.
As a criminal lawyer, you need a law degree. Generally, criminal lawyers have a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Typically, the highest-paying criminal attorneys represent wealthy defendants. For the most money, criminal attorneys must earn a bachelor’s degree before entering the field. To be a criminal lawyer, you need to earn a law degree, too, and pass the bar exam in the state you plan to practice.