A career as a district attorney (DA) is an excellent option for those who care about truth and justice and would like to work in public service. There are a lot of things you need to do to enter into this profession and succeed. Here is what we recommend.
Understand Your Role
In order to succeed in your career you must know what is expected of you at all times. As a DA, you will be required to prosecute criminals with the aim of rectifying their wrongdoings and making them better members of the public. You will be required to exercise your duties without fear or favor and work to promote truth and justice. Other duties will include analyzing and gathering evidence to identify facts surrounding a particular case and controlling proceedings at the court.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Most district attorneys begin their profession as lawyers who specialize in criminal law. To get an admission in law school, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a college or university recognized by the American Bar Association. The degree should be in law or anything related. Find a school that has a good reputation.
Obtain a Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree
You need to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. The degree takes two to three years to complete. It may take more years if you attend part-time classes. The courses covered include trial experience, criminal procedure, best practices during prosecution and criminal justice. These courses will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to gather evidence, run court proceedings and prosecute criminals.
Go for Internship
You need to seek an internship in a reputable institution to help you get practical experience. There are many places you can join, and each can help you acquire new skills and build your confidence in prosecution. Some places you can join include judicial clerkships, law review institutions, government law offices and private law firms.
Get Admitted to the Bar
Apart from obtaining a law degree, you need to be a member of the American Bar Association before you are considered an attorney. You will be required to take the bar exam, satisfy moral and character requirements and take the multi-state professional responsibility exam. The bar exams come in February and July and usually last for two to three days, depending on the state you live in.
Gain Trial Experience
The work of district attorneys is serious and more advanced, so you need to gain some work experience for you to perform well. Most district attorneys are selected from a list of assistant district attorneys. You might first need to apply for a position as an assistant district attorney to increase your employment prospects. You can also enhance your experience elsewhere, preferably in criminal justice and defense.
Put More Emphasis on Trial Experience
As a law professional who is looking to become a DA, you need to build a strong trial experience. You need to learn how the courtroom works and how to advocate for your clients in a clear and persuasive manner.
District attorneys are highly respected individuals in the society due to the nature of their job. In order to become a district attorney, you must earn a law degree, become a member of the American Bar Association, obtain a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and gain some trial experience.