Assistant District Attorney: Education Requirements & Qualifications

Discover how to become an assistant district attorney. Learn about job duties, education requirements, salary, and job outlook to determine if a job as an assistant district attorney is a good fit for you. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Assistant district attorneys are lawyers who work in a the district attorneys office and represent the government in criminal cases. They work with district attorneys in order to make decisions regarding what cases should be brought to trial and gathering of information in preparation for trial, and developing the arguments to be presented at trial. Check out the table below for quick info on the requirements and responsibilities of the career.

Degree Required Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Key Skills Communication skills, analytical skills, speaking and writing skills
Licensure State license required
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (for all lawyers)
Median Salary (2017)* $119,250 (for all lawyers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Responsibilities of an Assistant District Attorney?

Assistant district attorneys support district attorneys, or prosecutors, as they prepare to file suit or charge an individual or group that has broken the law. ADAs may try their own cases or assist the district attorney in a larger case. The workload of an assistant district attorney includes tasks such as reviewing evidence, interviewing witnesses, preparing legal documents, and prosecuting accused criminals.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

To be an assistant district attorney, approximately 7 years of study is required. The first four years of study are spent earning a bachelor's degree, which is needed prior to entering law school. Law school accounts for the about 3 years of study and results in a Juris Doctor (J.D.). Applicants are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) prior to entrance into law school as well.

What Are the Licensure Requirements?

Assistant district attorneys, like all lawyers, are required to take and pass the bar exam for the state where they will work. The specific requirements vary based upon the state and jurisdiction. For most states, graduation from an ABA-accredited law school, the passage of the bar exam, and approval of an admittance board are required before one can practice law.

How Much Can I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary of $119,250 for all lawyers as of May 2017. This rate reflects lawyers who worked full time, with many working more than 40 hours per week in order to conduct research and adequately prepare documents or cases. The top industries worked in were federal, state, and local government as well as legal services.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The BLS projects a growth of 8% among all lawyers between 2016-2026. This growth is on par with the average for all occupations. The prospects for lawyers are favorable as trends show there will be a continued need for prosecution of criminal cases. However, competition for a job as an assistant district attorney will likely be high due to an increasingly large number of qualified candidates graduating from law school and seeking employment.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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