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What Does an Assistant Attorney Do?

An assistant attorney is more often known as an assistant attorney general or assistant district attorney. Many work for local, state and federal government offices. This article details the different responsibilities assistant attorneys may hold.

What an Assistant Attorney Does

Assistant attorneys may work in several offices at different levels of government. District attorneys', public defenders' and state attorneys' offices all hire assistant attorneys. Depending on the employer, an assistant attorney may argue cases for the plaintiff or defendant.

Important Facts About Assistant Attorneys

Median Pay (2018) $120,910 per year (for all lawyers)*
Degrees A Juris Doctorate is required
Licensing Assistant attorneys must pass a state bar examination for the state where they intend to practice.
Job Outlook Expected employment growth from 2016 to 2026 for all lawyers is 8%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duties in a District Attorney's Office

Assistant attorneys in a district attorney's office represent their state as trial attorneys in all cases. They also act as the petitioner for children, the mentally ill and juvenile defendants. They may provide training for government agencies.

Duties in a Public Defender's Office

Assistant attorneys can also be found working for the state under the public defender's office. As a public defender, an assistant attorney provides legal representation for defendants without counsel. In this capacity, assistant attorneys use functional knowledge of methods, principles and practices of criminal law to argue criminal cases.

Duties in a State Attorney's Office

An assistant attorney in the state's attorney office helps carry out the policy of the state's attorney. He or she may conduct legal research and represent the state's attorney in routine legal issues. Assistant attorneys in this position must understand civil law, criminal law and rules of procedure. In addition, assistant attorneys in the state's attorney office must be comfortable arguing cases in court and capable of handling unforeseen issues.