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District Attorney

District Attorney Career Overview

If you're an aspiring lawyer who's comfortable being at the center of attention, district attorney might be the right job for you. Sometimes appointed, but more frequently elected, a district attorney conducts prosecution on behalf of a city or county. Representing the people in a court of law, the district attorney has independent power to conduct prosecutions for public offense, detect crime, and investigate criminal activity. Within those parameters, job responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction. For example, in a large jurisdiction, such as Los Angeles County, the district attorney prosecutes only felony crimes while his staff of 1,056 deputy district attorneys prosecutes misdemeanor crimes. District attorneys typically work closely with city and state law enforcement agencies.

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District Attorney Education

Like other lawyers, district attorneys have a four-year college degree and a law degree. They must also be licensed attorneys in good standing with the state bar. There is no single major that provides the best foundation; lawyers have philosophy degrees, accounting degrees, and criminal justice degrees. Law degrees are offered in a variety of forms; some schools even offer on an online degree in law. Because district attorneys are often at the center of high-profile criminal cases, law enforcement training can be useful.

District Attorney Salary & Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have information specifically pertaining to district attorneys. There were 761,000 lawyers in 2006.

District Attorney Job Description

Given the high-profile nature of the work of the district attorney, competition for jobs can be fierce. The number of jobs also remains relatively constant, as each jurisdiction typically has only one position.

District Attorney Salary Range

*Wages for district attorneys vary greatly depending on years of experience and location. According to PayScale, salaries for district attorneys range from $40,000 to $130,000.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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