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Career as Criminal Lawyer

Last Updated By Sukriti Vajpayee on 23 Feb, 2022

How to Become a Criminal Lawyer

About Criminal Lawyer

"If there were no bad people there would be no good lawyers" — Charles Dickens
Welcome to the front lines of the legal profession. A Criminal Lawyer per se is a practitioner of Law with a preferred practice of Crimes and Punishments, representing the State on hand and defending the Accused on the other hand. Lawyers representing the State/ the Government are also known as Public Prosecutors, they serve as the voice of the State as a policing system and assist the Courts by carefully and articulately putting the facts and evidence on record for the Criminal act to be tried and punished. On the counterpart, a Defense Lawyer defends the client who has been accused of a crime and assists the Court in considering the plea for the innocence of the accused. It is a fast-paced practice area and therefore requires effective practical training before on can professionally pursue it individually. To become a Criminal lawyer it is very important to be able to work under pressure and be able to think on your feet. Criminal law involves a lot of research and evidence gathering, therefore being able to deal with information promptly will serve you well.

Eligibility to become Criminal Lawyer

To pursue Criminal Law, you must have a relevant LLB (bachelor’s) degree in Law. 

  • You past have passed 3 or 5 year LLB (bachelor’s) degree from a recognised university to get admission into a masters course
  • One of the best career routes to get into a Criminal Law is to work/ intern under a Criminal Lawyer and gain experience in Criminal trials and cases. This will provide you with the required experience.

Types of Job Roles Criminal Lawyer

There is an ample number of job roles/ profiles available for Criminal Lawyers that one can opt based on their interest and skill set. Some of the job roles for Criminal lawyers are given in detail below:

Government Advocate

Government Advocates are the advocates who are hired by the state or by the central government to represent them in court cases. To become a Government Advocate, recruitment exams are conducted by UPSC and State Level Public Commission. Government Advocates are selected on the basis of the same to represent the government. The states are just like the artificial person, so they also need someone to represent them in front of the court during any allegation against them

NOTE- Every Government Advocate is a Private Lawyer But Not Every Private Lawyer is a Government Advocate.

 Government Pleader

Government Pleader is an officer appointed by the State Government to perform all the functions imposed by the Code of Civil Procedure on the Government Pleader. The job role of the Government Pleader is to draft pleadings and pleads in the court of law on the behalf of the Government.

Public Prosecutor/ Additional Public Prosecutor

The main job role of the Public Prosecutor is to represent the case from the States-side (State Government) against the suspected criminal in a criminal case or in criminal prosecution. An additional Public Prosecutor is a part of the state’s judiciary and is in charge of litigation and all other procedures. To become a Public Prosecutor you will have to appear in the UPSC exam for the post of Public Prosecutor.

Criminal Law Practitioner

The job role of the Criminal Law Practitioner is to address key Criminal Law Issues in such a way that they are useful for lawyers, judiciary and students.


A lecturer who specialises in Criminal Law will be responsible for teaching undergraduate/ postgraduate courses in Criminal law and its practices. A Criminal Law lecturer will be responsible to undertake and develop high-quality research and scholarly publishing. Lawyers who have an advanced qualification, relevant experience and research in Criminal Law usually become lecturers in the respective specialisation.

Employment Sector/ Industry for a Criminal Lawyer

There are a number of employment opportunities for Criminal Lawyers in different industries. Some of the top sectors that hire Criminal Lawyer are listed below:

  • High Courts/ Supreme Courts
  • Legal Practice
  • Law Firms
  • Law Colleges/ Law Universities
  • United Nation Organisations
  • Legal Websites

Top Recruiting Companies for a Criminal Lawyer

There are no listed companies that recruit criminal lawyers. As most of them do private practice or either work with reputed and established Criminal Lawyers and their chambers. Some of the well-known Criminal Lawyers and their chambers in India are listed below:

  • KTS Tulsi
  • Siddhartha Luthra
  • Pinky Anand
  • Salman Khurshid
  • Kapil Sibal
  • Parag Tripathi
  • Mukul Rohtagi

Work Description of a Criminal Lawyer

Criminal lawyers are frequently required to perform the following tasks.

  • Identifying and accumulating witnesses
  • Conducting witness interviews
  • Investigating the scene of the crime and evidence
  • Case Strategy Development
  • Putting up strong defences
  • Documenting, filing, and opposing pleas

Criminal lawyers may also handle cases in which they work for the public welfare without being compensated. High-profile cases might expose the criminal lawyer to media scrutiny. They may be required to give interviews and remarks on behalf of their clients in connection with a case.

Employment Sector/Industry for Criminal Lawyer



Planning to choose Criminal Lawyer as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Criminal Lawyer

A Criminal Lawyer usually starts his/ her career as an intern under an established Criminal Lawyer for which they are paid a stipend. A fresh graduate lawyer practicing under high court gets a salary of Rs.20,000 on average per month. While an experienced Criminal lawyer draws around RS. 2,00,000-3,00,000 on an average per month.

The salary of a Criminal Lawyer doing private practice will vary from client to client, and case to case.

Books & Study Material to Become Criminal Lawyer

Some of the best preparation books for criminal law for beginners are as follows.

  • Investigative Criminal Procedure in Focus by Todd A. Berger.
  • International and Transnational Criminal Law by David Luban (Author), Julie R. O'Sullivan, David P. Stewart, Neha Jain.
  • The Decision-Making Network: An Introduction to Criminal Justice 2nd Edition by Risdon N. Slate, Patrick R. Anderson, Lisa M. Carter.
  • A Short & Happy Guide to Criminal Law (Short & Happy Guides) 2nd Edition by Joseph Kennedy.
  • Legal Issues in Professional Hockey: National And International Dimensions by Lewis Kurlantzick.
  • Comprehensive Criminal Procedure 5th Edition by Ronald Jay Allen, Joseph L. Hoffmann, Debra A. Livingston, Andrew D. Leipold, Tracey L. Meares.
  • Siegel's Criminal Law: Essay and Multiple-Choice Questions and Answers 5th Edition by Brian N. Siegel, Lazar Emanuel, Steven Chanenson.
  • Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum 1st Edition by David Gray, Donald Gifford, Mark Graber, William Richman, David Super, Michael Van Alstine.

Pros of becoming a Criminal Lawyer

  • One of the biggest pros of becoming a Criminal Lawyer is helping people in crisis.  serving justice for the wrongs of the society 
  • A career as a Criminal Lawyer is just not limited to handling criminal trials. There are many exciting careers which you can pursue such as CID Officer. 
  • Even when the market is declining, a career in the same does not seem to be affected. No job security but a very well paid career. A practise of Criminal Law can never be affected by the Market 
  • A career as a Criminal Lawyer can be very rewarding and satisfying as you are giving back to the community.

Cons of becoming a Criminal Lawyer

  • The nature of the Criminal Lawyer is such that it can lead to stress and an unhealthy lifestyle.
  • There are no fixed hours when it comes to working as a Criminal Lawyer. Since it involves a lot of research and investigation, the traditional 9-5 work hours do not apply in this career.
  • Being a Criminal Lawyer can lead to life-threatening possibilities as you will be dealing with criminals which can decline your emotional health.

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FAQs about Criminal Lawyer

What does a Criminal Lawyer do?

A criminal lawyer is a law practitioner who prefers the practice of Crimes and Punishments. The lawyers defend the individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. They conduct analysis and research and present their findings in court in order to negotiate a plea bargain or settlement or gain the defendant's freedom.

Can I be a Criminal Lawyer after completing LLB?

Yes, after completing an integrated LLB or 3 years long LLB, an individual can be a Criminal Lawyer.

What are the requirements for being a Criminal Lawyer?

In order to be a Criminal Lawyer, an aspirant must possess the right qualifications. The candidate must have qualified either integrated or 3 years LLB in the Criminal Law specialisation. The individual can also go for an LLM degree in order to get a complete understanding of the Criminal Law.

What skills does a Criminal Lawyer require to be successful?

A criminal lawyer needs to be Confident, Rational, Intellectual, Detail-Oriented and a Good Orator. Besides this, the person needs to have the Debating, Leadership, Multi-tasking, Persuasiveness, Observational Skills. Other traits that a Criminal Lawyer is required to have are Communication, Convincing, Research, Presenting and Sharp Decision-Making Skill.

What are some other career options for a Criminal Lawyer?

Some other job profiles than that of a Criminal Lawyer are Government Advocate, Government Pleader, Criminal Law Practitioner, Additional Public Prosecutor, Lecturer or a Standing Counsel.

What is the difference between a Criminal Lawyer and a Civil Lawyer?

The major difference between the two is that a Criminal Lawyer handles the cases for defendants who are accused of committing a crime while a Civil Lawyer does not deal with the criminal cases. They handle lawsuits between individuals.

What are the demerits of being a Criminal Lawyer?

The criminal lawyers deal with the criminal cases which require a lot of investigation and research. The job becomes highly stressful, time-consuming and emotionally overwhelming. The individual does not work in a 9-5 job which makes the work hours irregular and lifestyle becomes unhealthy.

Name some notable Criminal Lawyers in India?

Some popular companies hiring a criminal lawyer are Gopal Subramanium, Ram Jethmalani, K.T.S. Tulsi, Sushil Kumar, Shanti Bhushan, Majeed Memon, Ujwal Nikam, L. Nageswara Rao, Satish Mahashinde, Shrikant Shivade etc.

How much does a Criminal Lawyer earn?

The average salary of a Criminal Lawyer in India is ?600,582. In the initial stages, an individual earns ?1,97,000 and it goes up till ?30,00,000 in senior stages.

What are the advantages of being a Criminal Lawyer?

Criminal Lawyers have a fair share of advantages. They can explore more options after establishing a career. They can also join the CID. A Criminal Lawyer gets paid a good amount of money. It is a satisfying and rewarding career as through it, you get to help people in Crises.

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