I have admired my friend from grammar school for a long time. It's not just because she has always done what she said she set out to do, but also because of her personal integrity. She has just graduated from college and is now sure that she is going to be a lawyer. However, she is uncertain of which type of law to pursue. Everyone she knows has been recommending her to go the criminal defense law route. Since she lives in New York the lure of getting paid big bucks is strong. She has been told that becoming a New York criminal lawyer will bring in a lot of money.
The issue that I have with being a criminal defense lawyer, and why I advised her against it, is because she will pretty much have to store her integrity on a shelf. After all, if she is getting paid by her client, the job is to get them off, no matter what. Whether they are innocent or guilty is irrelevant. Now, this is not a problem for most folks. However, I know that my friend has some deep values that have taken her this far. She is going to have a hard time with this. It will be hard for her to give 100% of herself, if she knows that the person that she is defending is guilty as sin.
Another downside to being a criminal lawyer is that you are dealing with cons that usually do not have a lot of money. You will get the rich client once in a while with a suitcase full of Benjamins, but that will not be the norm. There will be a lot of scratching around to get paid. If they are convicted, the likelihood they can pay is low. A New York criminal lawyer has a very stressful job and it's pretty much a 24 hour job. It will be hard to combine a home life with this type of career. Also, if she becomes a New York criminal lawyer, she better like hanging out in the jails because that is where she is going to be most of the time, interviewing clients. I have added my two cents. Let's see what she decides.