Whether it’s a financial reward, a noble endeavor, the love of sheer excitement, below are just a few of advantages of becoming a criminal attorney.
1. A Noble Endeavor
“Every single day of my life I wake up thrilled that I have the honor of being a criminal defense lawyer.” This from attorney Don Murray in “Why Be a Criminal Defense Lawyer.” The job of a criminal defense lawyer is so very important in a civilized society that in the eyes of the founding fathers they recorded it into our very Bill of Rights in the Sixth Amendment – “and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Not too shabby.
Murray goes on to explain his second most favorite advantage of becoming a criminal attorney. Some of the nation’s greatest heroes were criminal defense attorneys, willing to stand up for people for whom nobody else would. He talks about past criminal defense attorneys such as Abraham Lincoln and John Adams.
Adams once defended a group of British soldiers who were accused of taking part in the “Boston Massacre.” As Murray so eloquently put it, Adams “believed that representing the soldiers in the murder trial would be highly unpopular, but he did it anyway. He believed that his future political career in America might be ruined by taking the job, but he did it anyway. He believed that his own personal safety might be in question if he took the job, but he did it anyway. John Adams demonstrated in his deeds commitment to his beliefs. It was an act of great Patriotism to defend those British soldiers, or at least so John Adams thought.” Adams won the case and in doing so helped to establish the United States as a nation that is committed to what we now consider to be basic human rights.
2. High Stakes Excitement
Many criminal attorneys love the sheer excitement in a winner-take-all, loser-loses-all situation. Another advantage of becoming a criminal attorney is because the high stakes venture gets the blood rushing. Evidently, one of the advantages of being a criminal lawyer is that it’s much more exciting to talk about a bank robbery than it is to discuss Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.
3. A Darn Good Argument
A good argument goes a long way to stimulating a criminal attorney’s mind. Especially when the argument must be well-reasoned, well-researched and well-organized. Most of the action in a lawyer’s work takes place outside of the courtroom and a criminal lawyer’s work is no exception. Where the well-prepared lawyer gets to wind it up and fire that dramatic pitch is in the courtroom, of course. But, it’s also in the office after a magnificent plea deal is agreed upon.
4. Defending the Constitution
In addition to the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment assures the world that the United States will brook no unreasonable searches or seizures. Again, it is the duty and honor of criminal attorneys to ensure that proper police work is conducted in the effort to solve crimes and protect the people.
Without the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, we as a nation are a pretty toothless lot when it comes to defending the freedoms of her people. Stephen Handy, a former lawyer for the district attorney and current criminal defense lawyer, writes about his time as a DA thus, “But it didn’t take long to see sloppy police work and cases sitting on my desk where I did not believe the person was guilty of any crime. I also learned how easily someone can be arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.”
5. Defending the Person
Many criminal defense attorneys get asked why they make their livings defending criminals and getting them off scot-free. Even with our mighty Constitution and Bill of Rights, all too often assumptions are made that if a person is accused of a crime, they must actually be guilty of that crime.
Imagine, if you will, you hear a loud banging on your door at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. It’s the FBI and they have your home surrounded. They burst in through all the doors and start yelling that you are surrounded.
This can be described as being a very bad, very awful day in your life. Not only do your neighbors hate you, but many of your coworkers, friends, and family doubt you now for being guilty of a crime possibly more heinous than murder.
You are completely innocent. The FBI made a mistake. Your best and brightest hope is the lone criminal defense attorney. Even the DA, another criminal lawyer, is mindful that all the legal rules have been followed to a T.
A criminal lawyer is a lone person who is willing to stand up for the accused. And the duty and honor of standing up for the accused are just one of the many advantages of becoming a criminal lawyer.
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