Becoming a criminal defence lawyer is hard enough, but the challenges don’t stop after you’ve passed the bar. Lawyers have to be emotionally secure and painfully aware that their actions could change someone’s life, for better or worse. Even a few mistakes could cost your career.
10 Challenges Criminal Defence Lawyers Face In Their Careers
The old adage “with great power comes great responsibility” is true for criminal defence lawyers. While there are a lot of positives associated with practising, the challenges are numerous.
1. Balancing Work And Home
Lawyers have a demanding, sensitive job that requires a lot of focus, skill, and precision. For this reason, lawyers may not have enough time to spend with their families or for themselves. If they’re not careful, their careers could negatively affect their personal and professional life.
2. Running Your Own Firm
A large number of criminal lawyers will operate under a large firm, but some run a business. These lawyers have more to worry about than casework, as they need to market their law firm, manage employees, pay for building expenses, and more. It can become really stressful.
3. Clients Withholding Information
Clients sometimes withhold information because they’re afraid of being judged. If you’re a client, make sure you hire a lawyer you can trust. For example, Marshall Criminal Defense Lawyers are here to help you fight for your freedom, regardless of who you are or what you’ve done.
4. Working With Frustrating Clients
Any client-based profession will have its fair share of difficult clients (see above), but criminal lawyers deal with frustrating people more often than not. It isn’t their fault; the law is a sensitive, often terrifying topic for defendants. Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t wind up these lawyers.
5. Negative Public Perception
Public perception of criminal defence attorneys is often low because they’re “defending criminals.” The media doesn’t help this reputation, but criminal defence lawyers are far from evil. Everyone has the right to be defended in court, and it’s something we often take for granted.
6. Beating The Competition
Fortunately, crime rates are dropping all over the country, but that isn’t always beneficial to a defence lawyer’s career. This makes it difficult to find clients. With competition so fierce, many lawyers will undercut themselves or offer their services for free just to get a bit of experience.
7. Limited Time And Resources
Although most criminal defence lawyer positions are advertised as full-time jobs (40 hours a week), most attorneys work twice that. This is usually because they don’t have enough staff or resources to prepare for cases, so they often rely on freelance paralegals for research help.
8. Client-Directed Trauma
Clients are, understandingly, traumatised after going through the court system. Most defendants come from complex backgrounds, which adds an extra layer of emotional stress. If the client is deemed guilty, both the client and lawyer have to learn to accept it, which never gets easier.
9. Lawyer-Specific Trauma
Criminal defence lawyers often experience burnout, depression, and PTSD due to the nature of their work. Ethical lawyers may always wonder if they made the right decision or whether the defendant deserved to be punished for their crimes. They may question themselves constantly.
10. Finding The Right Evidence
In a criminal defence trial, a single piece of evidence can make or break a case. Unfortunately, getting your hands on such evidence isn’t easy. Lawyers have to go through the right channels to ensure what they collect is admissible in court. Otherwise, they’ll have to use something else.