Rotundo, Matthew - Criminal Lawyer

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[edit] Job Title (Matthew Rotundo)

Criminal Lawyer

[edit] General Overview

Criminal Lawyers are lawyers who work within the criminal justice system. There are two types of criminal lawyers which are prosecutors and defense attorneys [1]. Prosecutors are those who seek to convict individuals, companies, or organizations that are charged with different crimes and defense attorneys are those who defend those who are charged with such crimes [1].

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

The job duties and responsibilities of a criminal lawyer are strenuous and include but are not limited to the following:

  • Representing or prosecuting individuals, companies, or organizations in the court of law [2]
  • Gathering and presenting evidence to either prosecute or defend individuals, companies, or organizations [2]
  • Speaking with judges, select jurors, and cross examining as well as questioning witnesses in trial [2]
  • Understanding and interpreting the laws and rights that fall under the constitution, Criminal Code of Canada, and the legal powers within the court system [2]
  • Preparing concrete cases, legal briefs and file appeals when necessary in the court of law [2]
  • Understanding the outcomes of similar resulting in the proper analysis of the probable outcome [2]
  • Evaluating findings that help the case in question and developing concrete arguments when preparing for trial [2]

[edit] Typical Workday

The usual hours of work of a criminal lawyer usually are at least 40 hours a week where the days start early in the morning and often run until midafternoon depending on the workload and day [3]. Overtime hours are often expected in this occupation primarily because of the amount of preparation needed for court. This preparation is required most every single day [3].

As previously stated the work setting of a criminal lawyer is primarily the court room but also spending extensive time in their office doing paper work and preparations for trial [3]. When not in the court room or doing administrative work criminal lawyers are often meeting with their clients, witnesses, or the judges [3].

The types of clients are dependent on the type of criminal lawyer [1]. If the criminal lawyer is a defense attorney then their clients can range from individuals, companies or organizations whom are being accused of a crime [1]. If the criminal lawyer is a prosecutor there usually is no client and they are often working for the government to prosecute those being accused of the crime at hand [1].

Criminal lawyers often work alone but the colleagues they have are usually within the office and company they work for [1]. Lawyers usually use computer related technology (e.g. scanners, fax machines, laptops, etc.) [2]. The only technology that a criminal lawyer would find useful would be those that fall under search software as they often have to do a lot of research on specific individuals or specific crimes when preparing for trial or witness interviews [2].

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

Educational requirements to become a lawyer are as follows:

  • Must hold a Juris Doctorate which is obtained from graduating law school [1]
  • To get into law schools in Canada, one must have completed an undergraduate degree or have three or more years of university experience [4]
  • One must also write the law school admission test (LSAT) to be considered for law school [5].

Other qualifications to become a criminal lawyer are as followed:

  • To practice Criminal Law as a lawyer in Canada one must write the Barrister examination and to be eligible for this examination the above educational requirements must be met [6]

[edit] Related skills, interests and abilities

To become a criminal lawyer as well as be successful individuals are recommended to have the following skills:

  • Active listening: paying full attention in court, carefully listening to the counter arguments being made against you, and asking questions when necessary [2]
  • Speaking: being able to explain your arguments in court in an effective and captivating way [2]
  • Critical thinking: logically identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the opposing counsels case [2]
  • Reading comprehension: being able to understand written information in case files as well as legal documents [2]
  • Complex Problem solving: being able to identify the difficulties in problems and being able to come up with logical solutions [2]
  • Judgment and decision making: understanding the strengths and weaknesses of decisions within the trial and the case as well as being able to make the right decision [2]
  • Analytical skills: being able to analyze and understand critical information about a case [2]
  • Writing: being able to effectively explain your thoughts and gathered information in a written legal document [2]
  • Negotiation: being able to come to an understanding with the opposing side when necessary [2]
  • Persuasion: especially evident in trials by jury, criminal lawyers must be able to convince the jury that their side is the right side to lean towards [2]
  • Active learning: being able to understand new information relative to the case and being able to use such information in an effective way [2]

There are also a number of abilities that are often expected and required of Criminal Lawyers which are as follows:

  • Effective oral expression: being able to explain ideas in language that the judge, jury and important individuals within the trial will understand [2]
  • Oral comprehension: being able to effectively listen and understand information being explained from the opposite side, the judge, the accused, or the witnesses [2]
  • Speech clarity: being able to speak clearly [2]
  • Written comprehension: being able to understand information written in legal documents [2]
  • Written expression: being able to effectively explain information when writing legal documents [2]
  • Deductive reasoning: being able to understand and apply the general rules within a court room as well as the laws related to the case and the job [2]
  • Inductive reasoning: being able to bring several pieces of information together and develop a concrete case [2]
  • Problem sensitivity: being able to detect when the case isn’t going the way it is wanted to or when facts do not add up [2]
  • Speech recognition: being able to understand that individuals speak differently [2]
  • Information ordering: being able to prioritize information within a case and plan information accordingly when putting together a concrete case [2]

[edit] Relevance of psychology undergraduate degree

There is much relevance between carrying a psychology undergraduate degree and pursuing a career as a criminal lawyer. There are several courses within the psychology undergraduate degree that have great relevance as they focus on psychology within the criminal justice system. Forensic psychology courses tend to teach content that is greatly related to the criminal justice system including topics such as: court room procedures, preliminary hearings, cross examinations, how to deal with children within a court room, roles of police officers, witness testimonies and much more.

A psychology undergraduate degree teaches through numerous courses how to relate to different individuals. This is extremely evident in becoming a lawyer as you constantly have to interact with different individuals of different forms per se and this is something that you learn early on as well as throughout the years spent in completing a psychology undergraduate degree.

A psychology undergraduate degree also has great relevance when becoming a criminal lawyer as it teaches through numerous courses about human behaviour. Knowing how to properly distinguish and analyze human behaviour has become an important aspect of a criminal lawyer’s job as often in the court room one must analyze witnesses, offenders, judges and juries behaviour and respond accordingly when doing so to make for a good case. One must appeal to individuals of different kinds and to do so they must fully understand different aspects of human behaviour.

Furthermore, throughout completing a psychology undergraduate degree one acquires and nurtures the above skills and abilities that are recommended for an individual to have as a Criminal Lawyer. This is done through the degree related assignments as well as the information taught in the several different courses that are available for psychology undergraduates. A psychology undergraduate degree should be recommended before going to law school for individuals who are thinking about pursuing a career as a criminal lawyer because of this.

[edit] Salary potential

The average salary potential for criminal lawyers is $71, 955 per year [7]. However, their salary can range from $45, 292 to $126,235 per year which is dependent on the company and years of experience as those with less experience will usually fall on the low end of the pay scale range [7]. Criminal lawyers can also earn bonuses which often range from $0 to $20,241 per year [7].

[edit] Job outlook

Criminal lawyers were ranked the first best Canadian job out of twenty jobs in 2014. For this reason the project demand for this job has dramatically increased [8]. There has been a 14% increase in salary and the ranking has changed from 2013 as number six to number one in 2014 [8]. The reason why projected demand is so high and why it will continue to increase is primarily because there are more law school students graduating then there were several years ago, there is always going to be criminals to prosecute or defend, and the salary as well as benefits are too good for this job to ever significantly decline [8].

[edit] To know more

  • To know more about the career of a criminal lawyer visit: [1]
  • To know more about Canadian law school requirements visit: [2]
  • To know more about the law school admission test visit: [3]
  • To know more about the Canadian Barrister examination visit: [4]

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Criminal Lawyer Career. (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 Summary Report for: 23-1011.00 - Lawyers. (2015). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 My job explained: Criminal lawyer. (2015). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  4. Law School Requirements – First Year. (2015). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  5. Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  6. Licensing Examinations. (2015). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Attorney / Lawyer Salary (Canada). (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Canada’s Best Jobs 2014: Lawyer. (2014). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
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