The field of criminal defense never seems to lose its appeal in the job market. Every year, a vast majority of students take up law to become criminal defense lawyers, what with the prestige and earning potential the profession promises. However, the path to becoming a lawyer is an arduous and competitive one. Before deciding to become a Utah criminal defense attorney, here are a couple of questions every prospective law student must consider.
1. Are you willing to study for at least seven years?
Law school involves three years of study, and before a person qualifies for admission to any law school, he must have finished a bachelor’s degree. That is equivalent to seven whole years of study. While a law student is still neck-deep in legal study, his friend may already be earning decent fortune and working his way up the corporate ladder. Consider how the rewards of the profession weigh against the three extra years lost to further education.
2. Do you have the resources needed to fund your education?
A degree in law comes with a price tag. To be able to finish law school, one must have a good deal of fortune readied; else, he would most likely be deep in debt by the time he graduates. In this case, most of his initial earnings as a Utah criminal defense attorney will merely serve to reduce his debts.
3. Do you enjoy studying and reading a lot?
Prospective law students should expect to be bombarded with a great deal of readings from day one of law school up to the day before their retirement. A Utah criminal defense attorney never ceases to study as laws, court decisions, and agency rules are expected to change every so often. Additionally, he must thoroughly read and internalize each of his clients’ cases to be able to devise an effective trial strategy. Lawyers practically get no break from reading and studying.
4. Can you articulately express yourself through speaking and writing?
A Utah criminal defense attorney will only succeed in persuading the opposing counsel and jury into believing that his client is guilt-free if he can present his arguments articulately. On the other hand, if he’s not defending a case, a criminal lawyer will most likely be busy drafting agreements, motions, legal proceedings, and resolutions. Thus, it is absolutely necessary that a lawyer is adept in both oral and written communication for him to thrive in his workplace.
5. Are you prepared to work closely with people?
A criminal defense attorney spends most of his time speaking with people—clients who are accused of a crime and have come to his aid. Researching legal matters, studying cases, devising trial strategies, and reading resolutions take up but a small part of a lawyer’s time compared to his interaction with his clients. That’s why he must be comfortable speaking with various people and patient in explaining the legal procedures they do not understand. A person who prefers to work mostly alone might not be a good fit for a career in criminal defense.
6. Do you enjoy analyzing issues and solving puzzles?
The profession of a criminal lawyer mostly revolves around two things: analyzing complex cases and working the way out of the intricate maze that is the court trial. Lawyers are expected to master the art of solving mysterious cases and formulating excellent strategies. Having said that, slow and sloppy people would find that law isn’t probably the best career for them, while a person with an analytic mind and a penchant for puzzles is sure to thrive well in the legal industry.
There are certainly a lot of sacrifices that must be made to study and become a Utah criminal defense attorney. However, once a person succeeds in becoming one, he is sure to find that law school is worth the investment of time, money, and effort. A lot of lawyers can attest to the fact that the drawbacks of studying law are nothing compared to the perks the profession brings.