How to Become a Lawyer

How to Be a Defense Lawyer

A defense attorney represents clients, called defendants, in the court of law. Some defense lawyers start off as prosecutors.

If a defendant cannot afford to hire a private defense attorney, the state assigns an attorney called a public defender. In criminal lawsuits, the defense attorney has as her job to defend her client and cast doubt on the case the prosecution presents. A jury cannot convict an individual unless it is convinced beyond any reasonable doubt of the crime. The defense attorney has to bring evidence that her client is not guilty of the charges brought forth.

1. Whether you want to practice law to defend the innocent or just have a passion for the legal system, becoming a lawyer takes years of training and practice. Learn how to debate from an early age. Join you school’s debate team and develop your argumentation skills. Get good grades and constantly practice you learning and communication skills.

2. Graduate four years of university or college, earn your degree and start preparing your admission file.

3. Register for the Law School Admission Test, commonly known as the LSAT. Similar to the SAT, the LSAT is especially designed for future law students. It evaluates reading comprehension and verbal reasoning skills, and it provides law schools with an idea of how successful you might be as a lawyer. You should prepare thoroughly for this test, get study materials and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to prepare. The score will prove an important factor in the admission process.

4. Choose one or several law schools to which to apply. The website of the Law School Admission Council ( is a good place to find all the law schools the American Bar Association approves and offers tips on how to create a successful application.

5. Once admitted to law school, you are on your way to becoming a defense attorney. Most law schools allow students to customize their curriculum in order to follow a specialization. Talk with your teachers, let them know about your plans, and get their advice on what classes you should follow.

6. Go to courts of law and watch trials. See how a defense attorney argues in favor of his client, what evidence he brings forth and how he approaches different cases. Also pay attention to the prosecutor, as you might have the option to become one.

7. Even before graduation, start contacting law firms to discuss the possibility of getting a part-time job assisting a defense attorney. If they like you, you might come back for a full-time job after graduation. In any case, you will have some valuable work experience to put on your resume.

8. Graduate and register for the bar exam in your state. Pass the bar exam, get your license to practice, and start looking for a job. You might not work as a defense attorney from the beginning, but keep your goal in mind and seek every opportunity to get to it.