The more you improve yourself, the better you will be able to represent your client. Becoming the best might take time, but once you do, nothing will be able to stop you.
Criminal justice is one of the most desirable fields to work in, especially if you have a knack for catching bad guys. However, while the police are responsible for convicting those alleged bad guys, a criminal defense attorney will act in their defense. And since those people already look bad in the eyes of the law, a criminal defense attorney needs to be especially good.
There’s no secret that the system doesn’t always work, and a loophole can cause a good person to be wrongfully convicted of a crime. For instance, a woman from Philadelphia was recently wrongfully charged with a crime, simply because her identity was mistaken. A criminal defense attorney will prove one’s innocence or find the path to the shortest sentence.
As a criminal defense attorney, you will need the skill and charisma to represent your client. Criminal defense is a tough field, so if you want to succeed, here are a couple of tips that can help you improve your game:
- Get Your Criminal Law Specialization
As a graduate lawyer, you will probably be able to get into criminal law without any form of specialization. College will likely teach you enough of the basics so that you can start a career, and experience can work the rest. However, if you want to become one of the best in your field, you have to get an even deeper understanding.
Take specialized criminal law courses and take as many internships and opportunities as you can find. You can also find a mentor to teach you all of these things firsthand. The deeper your knowledge base goes, the better you should be able to perform in your field.
- Get Local Experience
Each state and city may have its own laws to bring criminals to justice. For example, if your client gets charged with disorderly conduct in Colorado, such a petty offense in Denver may be punished by 10 days in jail. In other states, the same offense may go up to 15 days. Therefore, if you plan on joining the Denver criminal defense lawyers ranks, you need to be familiar with the local law.
- Hone Your Negotiation Skills
As a criminal defense attorney, you need to accept the fact that not all of your clients are innocents that were wrongfully accused. Some are definitely guilty, in which case your job is to get a more favorable outcome for them.
This is why you need to hone your negotiation skills, so that you may obtain a compromise for your clients. For instance, if your client is guilty of DUI, you may get them to not put it on your client’s record, so long as they go to rehab. Practice your skills, maybe even take a few classes to improve.
- Exhibit Aggressiveness and Perseverance
As a criminal defense lawyer, you will likely have a lot of heat to take on cases that are not easy. There will be plenty of times when you’ll have to fight uphill battles, with clients that are definitely guilty. This is why you need to be tenacious.
Now, we are not saying that you should start picking fights with the court. However, appearing weak will not work to your advantage either. You need to emanate strength in posture and presence, to show that you are determined to fight for your client. Very often, it’s the attitude that will get you to be listened to in court.
- Be Supportive and Responsive
We did just say that you need to be aggressive, but this only goes as far as the judge and jury. Where your clients are involved, you need to be responsive and supportive. Your clients need to know that you are there for them and that they can trust you. This way, you will be able to officially represent them in court without any surprises.
Be communicative with your clients and offer them as much information as you can. Whenever they have questions, make sure that you answer them truthfully. This will improve the relationship between you two, ensuring they remain truthful. The last thing you want is a client hiding things, which can come back to bite you in court.
The Bottom Line
Being a criminal defense attorney is not an easy job, but you can make yourself better at it. The more you improve yourself, the better you will be able to represent your client. Becoming the best might take time, but once you do, nothing will be able to stop you.