A criminal lawyer functions slightly differently from a criminal defense lawyer. The latter is summoned in court cases where the client is being charged with a specific crime, and criminal defense lawyers are tasked with representing them in these cases. On the other hand, a criminal lawyer may represent their client in a case versus another civilian entity, when some form of criminal activity is still involved. The criminal lawyer acts not only as a defendant to their client, but also provides them with advise and recommendations on how to proceed in the case.

Becoming a criminal lawyer involves a similar amount of studies that standard lawyers go through – education starts with a Bachelor’s degree in any course, though with good marks – and continues with a Master’s in law, attained over the course of three years. Usually, most criminal lawyers find employment at a law firm after graduating, ensuring them some form of stable income and workflow for the initial period of their work – afterwards, many branch out into more personalized businesses or working for private organizations.

Even though the median salary for 2009 was $110,000 for criminal lawyers, the job still presents some difficulties in regards to securing a stable income. The most problems seem to stem from the fact that it can be very difficult for a criminal lawyer to establish their business in recent times, and this has lead to a large gap between the low and high ends of their annual salaries – typically, they range between $60,000 and $140,000.