Average Salary
$49,343
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
2,032
Job Openings

Criminal Defense Lawyer Careers

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a criminal defense lawyer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $23.72 an hour? That's $49,343 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 50,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do

There are certain skills that many criminal defense lawyers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a criminal defense lawyer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 17.3% of criminal defense lawyers included trial preparation, while 13.1% of resumes included law firm, and 10.6% of resumes included criminal cases. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the criminal defense lawyer job title. But what industry to start with? Most criminal defense lawyers actually find jobs in the transportation and finance industries.

How To Become a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you're interested in becoming a criminal defense lawyer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 36.7% of criminal defense lawyers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.4% of criminal defense lawyers have master's degrees. Even though most criminal defense lawyers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a criminal defense lawyer. When we researched the most common majors for a criminal defense lawyer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on criminal defense lawyer resumes include associate degree degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a criminal defense lawyer. In fact, many criminal defense lawyer jobs require experience in a role such as paralegal. Meanwhile, many criminal defense lawyers also have previous career experience in roles such as legal assistant or legal extern.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Average Salary
$49,343
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
2,032
Job Openings

Criminal Defense Lawyer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Criminal Defense Lawyer

Paralegal
12.5 %

Top Careers After Criminal Defense Lawyer

Paralegal
16.5 %

Criminal Defense Lawyer Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyers in America make an average salary of $49,343 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $34,000 per year.
Average Salary
$49,343
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Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Criminal Defense Paralegal
Criminal Defense Paralegal
XXX
XXX
04/03/2020
04/03/2020
$45,91404/03/2020
$45,914
Criminal Defense Paralegal
Criminal Defense Paralegal
Robert Half
Robert Half
03/21/2020
03/21/2020
$45,00003/21/2020
$45,000
Criminal Defense Paralegal
Criminal Defense Paralegal
XXX
XXX
02/21/2020
02/21/2020
$58,00002/21/2020
$58,000
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Luttrell Staffing Group
Luttrell Staffing Group
01/30/2020
01/30/2020
$40,00001/30/2020
$40,000
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal Defense Lawyer
XXX
XXX
06/17/2019
06/17/2019
$60,00006/17/2019
$60,000

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Demographics

Gender

female

50.5 %

male

43.5 %

unknown

5.9 %

Ethnicity

White

79.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.0 %

Black or African American

5.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

31.3 %

German

12.5 %

French

12.5 %
See More Demographics

Criminal Defense Lawyer Education

Majors

Law
30.6 %

Degrees

Bachelors

36.7 %

Doctorate

24.7 %

Certificate

15.8 %

Top Colleges for Criminal Defense Lawyers

1. University of Richmond

University of Richmond, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,610
Enrollment
3,215

2. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

3. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

6. University of Chicago

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$58,230
Enrollment
6,600

7. Mississippi College

Clinton, MS • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,026
Enrollment
3,036

8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

9. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

10. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Criminal Defense Lawyer That You May Like

Introduction to Criminal Law
ed2go

An in-depth look at criminal law and the real world of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the paralegals who work closely with them...

Criminal Law in 120 Minutes: A Fast Track Course
udemy
4.4
(276)

A 2 hour fast track summary of Criminal Law, targeting all common law LL.B examinations!...

Introduction to International Criminal Law
coursera

About the Course - From the Nuremberg trial to the case against Saddam Hussein, from the prosecution of Al-Qaeda terrorists to the trial of Somali pirates - no area of law is as important to world peace and security as international criminal law. Taught by one of the world's leading experts in the field, this course will educate students about the fundamentals of international criminal law and policy. We will explore the contours of international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, terrorism, a...

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Top Skills For a Criminal Defense Lawyer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.3% of criminal defense lawyers listed trial preparation on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

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Top Criminal Defense Lawyer Employers

1. United States Marine
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$47,607
Criminal Defense Lawyers Hired: 
2+
2. Florida School For The Deaf
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$48,864
Criminal Defense Lawyers Hired: 
2+
3. Robert Half International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$48,974
Criminal Defense Lawyers Hired: 
1+
4. Martinez Odell & Calabria
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$49,526
Criminal Defense Lawyers Hired: 
1+
5. State and Federal Communications
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$57,612
Criminal Defense Lawyers Hired: 
1+
6. Gibbons P.C.
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$61,329
Criminal Defense Lawyers Hired: 
1+
Updated October 2, 2020