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what does a lawyer do?

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Michelle’s Answer

Attorney's or lawyer's have the job of making the laws work for their client, whether that is the defendant (person identified as the criminal) or the victim. Prosecutor's (lawyers for the victim - a person or the state where the crime was committed) have the burden of proof in a legal action. That means they have to prove that the defendant did do what they say happened. Committed the crime, stole money, hurt or kill someone, or damaged something/ property. The Defense (lawyers for the defendant) have to provide evidence that their client did not commit the crime. But they don't have to prove anything. They debate the evidence and testimony of the witnesses and experts that the Prosecution use to prove the guilt of the defendant (criminal).
A Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Political Science or Business Administration are a good foundation. Completing a legal degree or Juris Doctor is another step. Then going to Law School. Taking the Bar - is the exam for certification that you need in order to practice law. So just having the degree is not enough.

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Kyle W.’s Answer

A lawyer (aka attorney) can do many, many things. Most people associate attorneys with criminal law, i.e. prosecutor or defense attorney. There is, however, a huge area that attorneys play a role in. Attorneys also practice in civil law; that is the area dealing with child support, divorce, civil lawsuits, family law, etc. Attorney's also practice in the area of corporate compliance, corporate general counsel, and city/town/county attorney. In these roles, an attorney will be acting on behalf of a company or a municipality.

Practicing law has many areas of specialty and is very lucrative, depending on the area. That being said, depending on where you are licensed and live, the market for attorney's might not be so great (the US has more attorney's per capita than anywhere else in the world).

Kyle W. recommends the following next steps:

Think about what area of law excites you (criminal law, juvenile law, civil law, business law, etc.)
Complete a relevant undergraduate degree (criminal justice, political science, pre-law, business, etc.)
Prep for the LSAT, and take the LSAT (and get a competitive score)
Apply for an ABA accredited Law School
Take the Bar Exam where you would like to be licensed

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Ashley’s Answer

A criminal justice lawyer (attorney) is someone who is qualified and licensed to represent a client in court and plays an important role within the U.S criminal justice system. They're largely responsible for representing either the state or a criminal defendant throughout the entirety of a criminal trial. They also take part in court procedures, researching evidentiary laws, and works with local judges to navigate the criminal justice system efficiently and competently. Most of their time is spent gathering facts, analyzing the information, filing the necessary legal paperwork as it relates to the case and attending hearings.

To become a criminal justice lawyer, you will need obtain your undergraduate degree, a Juris Doctor, pass the bar examination, and obtain state licensing. Law school is typically a 3-year program and some states require continuing education to maintain up-to-date knowledge of laws.

Hope this helps!

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