Opportunities for Criminal Lawyers in India

Criminal law is branch of law that deals with legal cases related to criminal offences. Some of the areas of criminal law that you could specialize in as a criminal lawyer are Cyber-crime, domestic violence, violence against women, murder, sexual abuse (Rape), criminal trial, and forensic science.

Criminal lawyers are accredited legal professionals who are authorized by law to protect the legal rights of their clients. A career in law as a criminal lawyer requires you to represent your client, usually accused of committing a crime. Criminal lawyers usually prefer to be paid upfront or instantly on the day of their representation. 

Criminal Law Practice

There are two options if you are planning to pursue a career in law with criminal law as the focus area. Criminal lawyers can either be public defenders or work as private criminal defense lawyers. The public defenders are appointed and remunerated by the government to represent those who are accused but cannot afford a lawyer.

Private criminal lawyers can establish a career in law by getting associated with law firms or practice independently. They are known to charge exorbitant fees for representing clients because a charge under criminal law is more threatening and difficult to represent than any other charge. For the same reason, it is a male dominated sphere, requiring male advocates to be familiar with proceedings in police stations and in dealing with crime scenes at any time of the day or night. The relationship between the police and criminal lawyers is a friendly one due to the nature of their work and the regularity of their interactions in cases. In India, the most famous name among criminal defense lawyers is Mr. Ram Jethmalani, who has several high profile defense cases to his credit.

The main tasks of a criminal lawyer are to ascertain the facts, view them with a clear legal perspective and present them in his client’s favor much that it is proved that the offense was not executed by the accused.

The qualities/attributes to become a successful criminal lawyer is, one needs to be dedicated, willing to put in hard work, have lots of stamina and loads of perseverance. These four qualities and integrity are fundamental to a successful career in criminal law. It has been believed by people that criminal law involves limited drafting and that the workload is not heavy. But be it a trial strategy, a bail or a cross-examination, one has to put in long hours of research before work begins in court. Further, according to Clarence Darrow, to be an effective criminal defense counsel, an attorney must be prepared to be demanding, outrageous, irreverent, blasphemous, a rogue, a renegade, and a hated isolated, and lonely person – few love a spokesman for the despised and the damned.

Criminal LAWPicture Courtesy- Google


To become a criminal lawyer in India, a law graduate does not have to specialize in criminal law. After completion of the Bachelor’s degree in law, one can assist a well-known criminal lawyer and learn the tricks of the trade with every case he works on. The other route that can be taken for pursuing a career in law is to enroll for a Master’s degree in criminology. The specific topics covered in Master’s course in criminology are, such as criminal law, specific crimes, codes or criminal procedure, practice and procedure in criminal law and concepts of criminal jurisprudence. Many lawyers also choose to pursue a master in criminal justice or a similar major to refine their legal expertise. There are a number of programs online and offline available to potential lawyers.

A law graduate can also specialize in several disciplines of criminal law, such as:

  • Criminology and Forensic Science.
  • Cyber Crime.
  • Human Rights.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Domestic Violence.
  • Crime against Women.
  • Murder, kidnapping, robbery and theft.
  • Criminal Trial & CriminalAppeal.
  • Anti-Hijacking Matters & Anti-TerroristMatters.
  • Bail (Anticipatory & Regular)and Criminal Revision.

Read Laws Against Sexual Harassment At Workplace

The job of a criminal lawyer mainly revolves around interacting with the clients, collecting actual facts and evidence by interviewing witnesses, along with communicating with the police and researching in detail about the background of the case, and finally appearing before the court to defend your client who is accused of a criminal offense.

Because of the increase in criminal cases and exploitation against several sections of the Indian society, the opportunities in the field of criminal law are immense due to which the demand for talented criminal lawyers has profoundly increased over the recent times in the country.

In order to pursue criminal law, you will have to go in for masters in criminal justice or criminology once you are done with your bachelors in Law.

In the initial stages of your career as a criminal lawyer, you will have to assist a professional criminal lawyer for experience in order to gain an insight on several aspects of criminal law. A criminal lawyer plays the role of an advisor, as well as an advocate for the clients.

The career of criminal lawyer involves undertaking the responsibility of representing and defending your client, who is accused of committing a crime and presenting the facts in the favor of your client in a manner that would prove his innocence.

Though the field of criminal law is mainly a male dominated one, with most male lawyers opting to work as criminal lawyers, the recent times have witnessed an increase in the number of female lawyers in this field. In situations where the accused is unable to appoint a lawyer to defend him in the court, a public defender represents the individual.