The road to becoming a lawyer is a long and rocky one. Serious dedication is required to study law as it requires long years of schooling, plus to practice your profession, you would need to pass the state bar examination – one of the hardest tests out there. However, the challenges don’t end there.
After you have struggled to become a lawyer, you would now have to face the trials a lawyer face on a day-to-day basis.
There are many different ways one can practice the legal profession. Some opt to focus on a specific branch of law, one of which is criminal law. For those interested in criminal law, a criminal justice degree is a good choice of undergraduate degrees to pursue.
Criminal law deals with cases involving the violation of laws, as well as the liabilities that are apt for the violation. A lawyer is needed for both the plaintiff and the defendant so you would have to defend either side.
You would either need to prove that a violation of the law has happened, or that has not. That’s basically how it rolls for a criminal lawyer.
While the criminal law has the potential to give a practicing lawyer high pay and job autonomy, there are corresponding challenges that go with it.
Here are 5 day-to-day challenges that criminal lawyers face in their careers:
1. Juggling Between Home and Work Priorities
Like with any other profession, there is a constant need to juggle your responsibilities at home and work. And while it is true that lawyers have more control of their time as they are not constrained to a shift, it also means that work-related tasks would also kick in during personal time.
And since we’re talking about criminal law, everything is crucial. The client would constantly be in contact with you, and that could take a toll on your time. It’s a different level of work-life, this one being that work almost becomes your life.
Being a lawyer is not much different from being a workaholic individual. You sacrifice your time to complete the requirements that clients ask of you. This is just the way it is a lawyer.
2. Running a Business and Practicing Law at the Same Time
Some lawyers opt to be employed in an established firm, while some opt to join a partnership or set a firm for himself. For those who op to become partners or a solo-law professional, there is a need for them to manage their business.
Running a business is a truly taxing role and is a challenging one as well.
When you are a partner in a firm, or when you are the boss of your firm, you not only practice your craft as a lawyer, but you also become a businessman, or partner that would have to portray managerial skills.
3. Competition Between Lawyers
The legal profession is not immune to competition. The sector is a highly competitive one as there are lots of lawyers out there, and more and more are added each year. It is also difficult to distinguish oneself from other practicing lawyers.
There would be a need for a lawyer to show a great track record, but how could he if he is still just trying to be known in the industry, right?
The practice of law is a truly competitive feat. It is also very difficult to fight alongside known lawyers. Again, a lot of clients would like to seek the track record of the lawyers being offered to him. Between you and an experienced lawyer, clients would more likely want the popular lawyer.
4. Time, Resources, and Difficult Clients
Among the challenges that legal practitioners face is how much time and resources are a need for each case. The thing about law is that you don’t exactly remember all the laws out there, but you should be able to quickly find what law applies to a particular case.
This being said, a lawyer would need to have updated references at all times, and this includes having copies of all laws and codes out there. As well as access to sites that contain legal references.
Again for time, while lawyers are not bound to a shift, their whole day is technically open for anything that might come up. Lawyers cannot raise the “beyond work hours” flag as they should be available for advice all the time.
Another challenge is that lawyers will deal with many different kinds of clients – and a lot of them would be difficult clients. This is especially true for criminal law as some cases tend to be quite sensitive.
So deal with time, deal with resource challenges, deal with time problems, and deal with difficult clients.
5. Stress and Pressure
As one progresses in the field of law, only bigger stress and pressure will come in. That being said, a lawyer must have the right mind, and strong positive emotions to counter all the stresses and pressures of work.
Criminal law can be extra stressful, especially when you are defending the respondent. You study the entire facts of the case, and sometimes, you become so hooked on it and you become affected. True enough, the practice of criminal law is full of stress and pressure that the lawyers must not give into.
Being a Criminal Lawyer is Indeed Challenging
If you are still just planning to become a lawyer, beware of all the challenges that revolve around the road to becoming a lawyer.
And should you become a lawyer, always try to face these challenges head-on as these are what you have been studying for all these years.
Nobody would contest when I say that being a legal practitioner is such a hard feat. But you’ve come all this way. There’s no point in backing out now!
Just do your best, put your best foot forward, and always face the challenges of being a criminal lawyer head on!