The Pros and Cons of an Attorney’s Life

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Let me start off by saying straight off the bat, that being an attorney is not for everyone. Yes it is and can be a highly rewarding profession, with a fair amount of money to be made to boot, but it does have a side that is less glamorous. One that is often not highlighted by the portrayal of this profession across the silver screen. It takes a person with a strong character and the ability to disassociate from your clients, to really be an effective lawyering machine. The following pros and cons lists should give you a better idea of the ups and down of this crazy and wonderful profession.


Aside from the status that comes with carrying the title of being a lawyer, the following list of pros can make being a criminal defense attorney a lifelong journey that certainly is worth the while.

  • Helping people that are in crisis mode is a very rewarding feeling. Reuniting a family or keeping the innocent out of jail is an intrinsic reward that has no comparison.
  • Developing people skills is one of the most important, if not the most important aspect, of practicing criminal defense law. Understanding and having a like for people is a must, and is something that is only going to benefit you for the rest of your life.
  • Communication skills are vital to the success of any criminal defense attorney, as dealing with clients who have mental, emotional, or psychological conditions, and even substance abuse problems can be a challenge. Relaying your client’s case to the court and others is an art form that should be mastered by each and every practicing lawyer.


For all the ups of being an attorney, there must be some downturns unfortunately, as is the case with most things in life. And as I mentioned in the beginning, being an attorney is not for everyone.

  • Finding time for a little introspection can be a challenge, especially when dealing with the character involved in a murder trial. Emotions are at the most raw and volatile, and people can be at their weakest. Catching your breath through all this chaos can be too much for some.
  • As a criminal defense attorney, dealing with dangerous people is part of everyday life, and receiving death threats are not uncommon.
  • Long hours dictate that days in court are often between ten and twelve hours long, leaving little time for much else. Working a 60-hour week is not uncommon.
  • Dealing with other lawyers can be the worst part of the job. Some lawyers feel that their job is not done until everyone around them is miserable.

Lawyering up is not for everyone, and it does take a special kind of someone to do what criminal defense attorneys do. For all their swag and panache, that I believe is rightfully earned, they really do have one of the most stressful and highly demanding professions on the planet today.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post,, and Yahoo Small Business.