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Working As An Assistant District Attorney

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $115,820

    Average Salary

What Does An Assistant District Attorney Do

An Assistant District Attorney helps the District Attorney, a government official. They represent the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses.

How To Become An Assistant District Attorney

All lawyers must have a law degree and must also typically pass a state’s written bar examination.

Education

Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Most states and jurisdictions require lawyers to complete a juris doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA accreditation signifies that the law school—particularly its curricula and faculty—meets certain standards.

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into most law schools, and courses in English, public speaking, government, history, economics, and mathematics are useful.

Almost all law schools, particularly those approved by the ABA, require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test measures applicants’ aptitude for the study of law.

A J.D. degree program includes courses such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Law students may choose specialized courses in areas such as tax, labor, and corporate law.

Licenses

Prospective lawyers take licensing exams called "bar exams." When a lawyer receives their license to practice law, they are "admitted to the bar."

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted to the state’s bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by individual states and jurisdictions. For more details on individual state and jurisdiction requirements, visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others. Prior felony convictions, academic misconduct, or a history of substance abuse are just some factors that may disqualify an applicant from being admitted to the bar.

Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state often must take the bar exam in each state.

After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal developments that affect their practices. Almost all states require lawyers to participate in continuing legal education either every year or every 3 years. 

Many law schools and state and local bar associations provide continuing legal education courses that help lawyers stay current with recent developments. Courses vary by state and generally cover a subject within the practice of law, such as legal ethics, taxes and tax fraud, and healthcare. Some states allow lawyers to take their continuing education credits through online courses. 

Advancement

Newly hired attorneys usually start as associates and work with more experienced lawyers. After several years, some lawyers may be admitted to partnership of their firm, which means they become partial owners of the firm.

After gaining a few years of work experience, some lawyers go into practice for themselves or move to the legal department of a large corporation. Very few in-house attorneys are hired directly out of law school.

A small number of experienced lawyers are nominated or elected to judgeships. Other lawyers may become full-time law school faculty and administrators. For more information about judges and law school faculty, see the profile on judges and hearing officers and the profile on postsecondary teachers.

Other Experience

Law students often gain practical experience by participating in school-sponsored legal clinics, in a school’s moot court competitions, in practice trials under the supervision of experienced lawyers and judges, and through research and writing on legal issues for a school’s law journals.

Part-time jobs or summer internships in law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments also provide valuable experience. Some smaller firms, government agencies, and public interest organizations may hire students as summer associate interns after they have completed their first year at law school. Many larger firms’ summer internship programs are only eligible to law students who have completed their second year. These experiences can help law students decide what kind of legal work they want to focus on in their careers, and these internships may lead directly to a job after graduation.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues. As a result, they must be able to analyze large amounts of information, determine relevant facts, and propose viable solutions.

Interpersonal skills. Lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship, so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case.

Problem-solving skills. Lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the matter. Therefore, good problem-solving skills are important for lawyers, to prepare the best defense and recommendation.

Research skills. Preparing legal advice or representation for a client commonly requires substantial research. All lawyers need to be able to find what applicable laws and regulations apply to a specific matter.

Speaking skills. Clients hire lawyers to speak on their behalf. Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries. 

Writing skills. Lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.

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144,159 Assistant District Attorney jobs

Jobleads
Houston, TX
Chief - Assistant District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

State of Massachusetts
Springfield, MA
Assistant District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

State of Massachusetts
Pittsfield, MA
Assistant District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

State of Massachusetts
Springfield, MA
Assistant District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

Napa County
Napa, CA
DISTRICT ATTORNEY INVESTIGATOR

$146,050 Estimated

Albany-Dougherty County, Georgia
Albany, NY
Assistant District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

State of Massachusetts
Brockton, MA
Assistant District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

Oswego County Dept of Personnel
Oswego, NY
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY

$115,820 Estimated

City of Carson City, Nv
Carson City, NV
Deputy District Attorney-Juvenile

$115,820 Estimated

San Joaquin County, Ca
Stockton, CA
District Attorney Investigator II

$146,050 Estimated

City of Carson City, Nv
Carson City, NV
Deputy District Attorney-Civil

$115,820 Estimated

Weld County Government
Greeley, CO
Deputy District Attorney I

$115,820 Estimated

Malheur County
Vale, OR
Deputy District Attorney

$115,820 Estimated

County of El Paso Tx
El Paso, TX
District Attorney- Interpreter

$115,820 Estimated

McLennan County, Texas
Waco, TX
Assistant District Attorney Appellate No.2

$115,820 Estimated

Santa Barbara County, Ca
Santa Barbara, CA
Deputy District Attorney II / III

$146,050 Estimated

Merced County, Ca
Merced, CA
District Attorney Investigator I / II - Extra Help District Attorney Investigator I / II

$146,050 Estimated

City of San Jose
San Jose, CA
Council Assistant District 10

$115,820 Estimated

County of Lake, California
Lakeport, CA
Deputy District Attorney I / II / III / senior

$146,050 Estimated

Santa Barbara County, Ca
Santa Barbara, CA
Deputy District Attorney, Senior (Gang Prosecutor Specialty)

$146,050 Estimated

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Real Assistant District Attorney Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Assistant District Attorney Gwinnett District Attorney's Office Lawrenceville, GA Sep 04, 2015 $86,940
Assistant District Attorney Gwinnett District Attorney's Office Lawrenceville, GA Oct 22, 2012 $85,168
Assistant District Attorney Gwinnett District Attorney's Office Lawrenceville, GA Sep 04, 2012 $85,168
Assistant District Attorney Gwinnett District Attorney's Office Lawrenceville, GA Oct 01, 2009 $85,168
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Top Skills for An Assistant District Attorney

FelonyCasesMisdemeanorCasesNon-JuryTrialsGrandJuryPresentationsCrimeScenesLawEnforcementOfficersCriminalCasesSexualAssaultChildAbuseExtensiveLegalResearchBenchTrialsDomesticViolenceCasesPoliceOfficersPleaAgreementsPreliminaryHearingsSearchWarrantsRobberyLegalIssuesDefenseAttorneysPleaNegotiations

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Top Assistant District Attorney Skills

  1. Felony Cases
  2. Misdemeanor Cases
  3. Non-Jury Trials
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prosecuted felony cases from initial intake through indictment and to trial or a guilty plea.
  • Prosecuted felony and misdemeanor cases.
  • Interviewed and prepped expert witnesses in the areas of law enforcement, forensics, and psychology for jury and non-jury trials.
  • Conduct Grand Jury presentations for cases including, attempted murder, burglary, assault, robbery, kidnapping and assault.
  • Utilize evidence recovered from crime scenes and law enforcement teams targeting gang members responsible for violent crimes.

Top Assistant District Attorney Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire an Assistant District Attorney

  1. King's County District Attorney's Office
  2. Bronx County District Attorney's Office
  3. Office of The District Attorney
  4. Queens County District Attorney's Office
  5. Fulton County District Attorney's Office
  6. Harris County District Attorney's Office
  7. District Attorney's Office
  8. Allegheny County District Attorney's Office
  9. Nassau County District Attorney's Office
  10. Bronx District Attorney's Office
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