* Criminal lawyers have the same basic duties as other lawyers. * First, they advise their clients of their legal rights and responsibilities, as well as any potential problems. * Second, they represent their clients before the courts. Third, they research rules, regulations, and previous cases. * Finally, they prepare legal documents. In each case, lawyers interpret the law and apply it to specific situations. In the courtroom, criminal lawyers act on one of two “sides:” the defence or the prosecution. * Defence attorneys represent people who have been charged with criminal offences (for example, murder or theft) by making a case that supports their clients’ innocence. * On the other hand, prosecuting attorneys—usually called Crown attorneys or Crown counsel—act for the government on behalf of the public. They form cases against defendants by convincing juries to view the facts as evidence of guilt. * Both prosecuting and defence attorneys are responsible for preparing their cases before and during the trial.
Education & Training:
To become a lawyer, you must attend law school and complete a law degree. Before applying to law school, you must complete at least 2 years of undergraduate studies at university (except in Quebec, where you can get into law school straight from a CEGEP). However, because the admission process is extremely competitive, most applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees usually take 4 years to complete. To get into law school you need very good marks. You almost always need to write an aptitude test called the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as well. After graduating from law school, you still need to work for approximately 1 year as an articling student, under the direction of licensed lawyers (fortunately, you usually get paid for this part) before you can become a licensed lawyer. Then you have to successfully complete the bar admission program, including classes and exams, which several weeks to several months to finish.
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