Careers in Criminal Law is a book put together by the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, and I strongly recommend reading it. Different attorneys that are a part of the Criminal Justice Section contributed to this book, which delves into a day in the life of a criminal lawyer in several different areas of Criminal Law. A link to the Criminal Justice Section’s website is provided at the end, and  a copy of the book is available in Career Services.

The book is organized into five different parts:

  • Part I focuses on the defense side of Criminal Law. It speaks on various aspects and careers within criminal defense such as death penalty cases, criminal defense in a small firm setting, working as a public defender, international criminal law, and even securities fraud defense.
  • Part II switches to the Prosecution side of Criminal Law. There are excerpts written by different legal professionals within various prosecution environments. There is a section that talks about prosecuting in an inner city, which is written by a prosecutor in Baltimore. There is also a section about prosecuting social services fraud, which is contrasted by a section written by a District Attorney in Brooklyn. The final section in Part II is about Juvenile Prosecution.
  • Part III is about being a judge in criminal cases. There is a section about the Judge Advocate General within different military branches and the work of a misdemeanor judge.
  • Part IV is about advocating for prisoners. This Part includes information on representing clients who are on parole or other supervised release. It also includes information on what it is like to be a re-entry attorney.
  • Part V is a mixed bag. This Part has various sections on out of the box specialties within criminal law. There is a section on careers in forensic social work, or being a sentencing advocate, and even talks on careers as a victims’ rights attorney.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend that anyone questioning whether or not Criminal Law is for them, read this book. There are so many avenues and nuances within Criminal Law, and even if death penalty defense isn’t for you maybe juvenile prosecution is. This book gave me a much better insight into the different and diverging career paths within Criminal Law from individuals who practice within that area. It is a fairly short read, and you may even choose to read some of the small sections that you are most interested in rather than the entire book. Either way, I strongly recommend this book to all those who are even remotely interested in Criminal Law.

 ABA Criminal Justice Section: www.abanet.org/crimjust