If you are considering becoming a criminal lawyer, you will likely have to choose a major. Typically, criminal lawyers work on complex cases that require critical thinking and a willingness to act quickly. They must be detail-oriented, as they must gather and analyze vast amounts of evidence. The field of criminal law requires lawyers to pay attention to details in order to win cases. As a result, students who are unsure of their interests often end up changing their majors.
You can choose to pursue a career in criminal defense by completing an accredited law school program. Obtaining a degree from an accredited school will require three to four years of study. You will learn about a wide variety of legal fields during your undergraduate years, and you will need to take the bar exam once you graduate. However, it is not enough to pass the bar exam; you must have substantive knowledge and experience to become a successful criminal lawyer.
If you decide to enter law school, you will need to earn a Juris Doctorate degree. This degree is also required to practice criminal law. Several large colleges and universities offer part-time and full-time J.D. programs. The first year of these programs may consist of introductory courses to law and other fields, while the second year will typically include electives in your chosen area. Criminal law courses typically include evidence, white collar crimes, and criminal defense.